Browse Month by January 2011
Uncategorized

A Manolo Blahnik Inspiration

High Street vs. Designer. Which do you tend to go for? Maybe a bit of both?

I am very much a High Street person and completely agree with Gok Wan, who is a British fashion consultant who hosts the TV shows ‘How To Look Good Naked’, ‘Gok’s Fashion Fix’ and now ‘Gok’s Clothes Roadshow’. I love this guy and actually bumped into him once when I was out one night in London! He shows women how to dress well and boosts their confidence and self-esteem. His glam-ed up high street outfits often rival its designer counterpart on his Fashion Fix Runway. So I am very much in the line of thought that if you know what clothes to buy and how to put them together (which I sometimes have problems with), you can look tres chic without burning holes in your pockets.

That said, I would be inclined to part with my hard-earned cash for designer wear IF (and only if) I think there’s something special about it that can’t be replicated on the high street. Sometimes I see a plain cardigan that costs almost £300 when I can find a similar one in Zara and you think “Why spend that money!”. So I don’t look for brand names – I look for the artistry and creativity that defines the designer. It is only for that reason I would admire any one of them.

One designer that I absolutely love for his designs is Manolo Blahnik. Walking into his store is like I died, came back to life, fell head over Heels, died again, and went to Shoe Heaven. His shoes are INCREDIBLE. I came across a couple books of his sketches in a bookstore the other day and I was in awe – the origin of his great shoes!

His sketches and drawings were amazing. Creative, artistic, beautiful – GENIUS!

Manolo Blahnik Sketch

Manolo Blahnik Sketch
Manolo Blahnik Sketches
Manolo Blahnik Sketches

You’ll definitely NEVER find such designs on the high street. What is inspiring is that he used to be a nobody. Until an editor at a fashion magazine noticed his talent and he became a somebody.

What struck me was how he would’ve been looked down upon when he first started out. How difficult it must have been to make his mark designing shoes. But having the support of people around him, he’s now one of the most famous shoe designers in the world. Being Asian, I’m in a culture where most parents exceedingly encourage their children towards scholarly achievements, which is of course important. But sometimes, their inherent gifts and abilities may be overlooked. A kid telling his parents that he wanted to design shoes for a living would be given a smack on their head and told to forget such ridiculous nonsense. So I was, in fact, quite surprised when I learned that Jimmy Choo is Malaysian! If anything would encourage patriotism for my country, THIS WOULD BE IT.

Manolo Blahnik Shoe

My point is, whatever talents you have, whatever skills you’ve learned, no matter how small or seemingly insignificant such as drawing pictures of shoes, keep doing it. Put them together, mix them around, practice all you can and you never know what might happen. You may not get results today, you may not get results tomorrow or even years down the line, but you are building something that will enrich your life in one way or another. Love working with children? Keep working with them! Who knows, you might be the next Super Nanny (you’ve seen her TV show right?)!  At the very least, you know you’ll make a fantastic mom to your own kids. Love encouraging people? You may not get much in return but who knows, you might be a great motivational speaker one day! At the very least, you know you brought some comfort and made a positive difference in someone’s life. Love playing with Lego? An architect in the making!

People may look down on you or on what you do (and there will always be such people) because they don’t SEE the potential. Why should you let that stop you? Even if you’re on the road less taken, walk it anyway if it will get you to where you want to be. Stay focused, hold your head high, keep the chin up, and strut your stuff.

And make sure to wear your “Manolo Blahnik” shoes with pride while you’re at it!





RELATED POSTS YOU MAY ALSO LIKE:

Zara Blue Ruffle Top
Masquerade Mask
Young Love, Old Love

Food

Butterscotch Stained Glass (Candy Filled) Cookies

Jess is hosting an Aspiring Bakers Challenge #3 and you can find more details at the link to the challenge on her website there. ‘Aspiring‘ being the word of emphasis here for me. In short, it is a challenge to bake your favourite Chinese New Year cookies. I was quite excited about this because challenges give me a chance to think of and do something different.

I decided to bake Butterscotch Cookies, which I have made before using my mom’s recipe at www.keeplearningkeepsmiling.com. You might want to check out her original recipe too, as I made some minor changes to it. It tastes REALLY GOOD.

I made a few different shapes of the cookies. I came across Stained Glass Cookies somewhere ages ago and always wanted to try it out. So I did this time, using the Butterscotch Cookie recipe.

Ingredients

250 g butter
1 C sugar
2 tsp vanilla essence
2 tbsp golden syrup
2 C plain flour
1/4 C corn flour
1/4 C rice flour (you can just use 2 and 1/2 cups of plain flour to make things easier)
Assorted colours of hard candy

Method

  1. Beat butter, sugar, vanilla essence, and golden syrup until light and creamy. That’s what golden syrup looks like for those who might not know what it is.

    Beat Until Light And Creamy
  2. Add in flour and mix into dough-like texture.

    Butterscotch Cookie Dough
  3. Cut out cookie shapes of your choice, and another shape from the middle of it to place the candy pieces. Crush the candy pieces and place in the inside shape of the cookie (I’m wording this terribly, so just look at the picture below).

    Cookie Shapes Filled With Crushed Candy
  4. Lay on baking tray lined with grease proof paper. Bake in pre-heated oven of 180°C for about 10 minutes.
  5. Leave to cool completely before removing from tray. And there you have it!
Butterscotch Stained Glass Cookies

Heart shapes because Chinese New Year is a time where families get together and have a great time, more so than Christmas. What didn’t really work was mixing the different candy colours. Because when they melted they just all mixed together and the lighter colours get covered up by the darker ones. So next time I’d probably fill ONE cookie with ONE colour instead of trying to make it look multicoloured.

Because this challenge was Chinese New Year themed, I also made these other cookies with the same dough.

Butterscotch Gong Xi Cookie Shapes

I did not have a cutter for this. I cut out the words completely by hand!! Took me over an hour just writing these two words, “Gong Xi”, so I didn’t write the next two, “Fa Cai”. The full Chinese saying is meant to be Gong Xi Fa Cai. I now know I wrote the second Chinese word slightly wrong, but I’m not Chinese educated and not too great with my writing skills!

Butterscotch Gong Xi Cookies

I was quite surprised it came out as well as it did!

AND because Valentine’s Day is coming up, I made a little lovestruck face.

Lovestruck Butterscotch Cookies

I also love making little buttons with dough. It’s probably my favourite cookie shape. And of course, I can’t help but take a bite before it’s even fully cooled down!

Butterscotch Button Cookies

Delicious!

My dad, who is super-ly Chinese educated, was so proud that I tried to write Chinese by myself and did quite well that he wanted to BUY my cookies.

I charged him £20 a piece. Is that extortionate? *wink*

You May Also Like:

Chewy Chocolate Brownies
Chocolate Fudge Cake
Banana Fritters in Coconut Batter

Food

Falls of Feugh Restaurant & Tearoom

Every once in a while, you stumble into a restaurant that simply deserves to be shouted about. And one of them is the Falls of Feugh Restaurant & Tearoom, a beautiful gem tucked away in the little town of Banchory. It’s located next to the River Dee where you can also see salmon jumping at the right season.

River Dee

It’s great in the summer because we would go for a long walk then head to the restaurant for some lunch. And in the winter, it’s great for taking lots of photos of the snow!

Their menu is fantastic. And what’s special is that they change their menu EVERYDAY. So every single time you head to the restaurant, you’ll have a completely different experience. They have some things that don’t change, like their jacket potatoes and sandwiches. And I always order the same thing (their Cajun Chicken Jacket Potato), so I can’t really write about their other foods. It’s a bad habit – once I find a dish I absolutely love in a restaurant, I hardly (or never) venture out to try anything else.

Cajun Chicken Jacket Potato

It’s a must try. And always add some salt and pepper and LOTS of butter. De. Li. Cious. And I don’t know what they put in their salad dressing but it is oh-so-good.

I tried some of their butternut squash soup once, which was really good too. But because the menu changes daily, I’ve never been able to try it again. I suppose that’s the down side of a changing menu. Service is normally quite good. The interior is very quaint and Britishly decorated, which I like. I always think a restaurant’s decoration should reflect the type of food they serve. They also have tables on a little balcony outside that overlooks the river, which is simply splendid in the summer! That said, summers here are not great so you might still find it too cold to sit outside.

Falls of Feugh Interior

I stole the next photo from their website because I don’t have a photo of the restaurant itself (I hope they don’t mind!).

Falls of Feugh Restaurant & Tearoom

Gorgeous ain’t it?

Ok it looks small from the front, but it extends quite far back. Check out their website for a virtual tour!

Misadventures

So Much For A Lazy Day

I’ve been missing in action from the blogging world for the past few days, but you’ll be glad to hear I haven’t completely fallen off the planet (or maybe not *grin*). It has just been one of those weekends where I wake up at 6:30 a.m., get home at 7:30 p.m., have dinner, shower then straight to bed at 9:00. A whole weekend of training can leave a girl feeling completely zonked out, but I shall save that story for another day.

I’m normally a bounce-out-of-bed, hum-a-good-tune, glad-that-it’s-morning person. But I decided Monday should be reserved entirely for a little R&R, considering I’ve been waking up the past couple of days looking like this.

Continue Reading