Monday, 23 January 2012

Enter The Dragon - Happy Chinese New Year!

Chinese new year starts today!  Hooray!  Dumplings, moon cakes, red envelopes and wine galore.  Oh wait... I forgot 'detoxers' about.  Well, if you've been clever enough not to start a detox yet, you may indulge.  Everyone else - keep going, you're doing great. Really.  Ahem. 

Enter The Dragon.  Indeed, its the year of the mighty Dragon, a magnificent creature that symbolises wisdom, prosperity and power.  According to traditional chinese beliefs, our beautiful fiery-earthy-but-this-year-mostly-watery Dragon - brings us much fortune, power, success, good health and happiness...and power, did I mention power?  Be BOLD not humble, is the plan, apparently.  Go the Dragons!

Traditionally, families and friends celebrate together, everyone is excited about the start of the year.  Fresh plans, spanking new ambition.  Of course, there is the ancient art of feasting until the mounds of fish eyes and chicken feet converge on your plate and start to resemble a Damien Hirst creation.  And celebrating is all about the sharing.  When you sit down and eat with your Chinese friends, remember this rule. Always pass the dumplings and never take the last one without offering to others first. *whispers*  Its okay, they'll always say 'no thanks'.  

Another ancient ritual is the giving of Red Envelopes filled with money.  You hear a lot of theories about how this started, including the one about a young man who had the good fortune of slaying of a very bad beast and saving a town.  The elders of the town were so grateful, they bestowed envelopes of gold coins upon the said dragon slayer.  Today, married adults give young children and unmarried adults, envelopes filled with money.  Red and gold are the most favoured colours for the envelopes as they symbolise wealth, happiness and success.  So don't be surprised if you receive a gold envelope.  This is a good, good thing.  And the amount of the money in the envelope is said to represent the closeness of the relationship between the giver and the recipient.   Yes, Aunty M plays favourites too, I hear you weeping.  Many of my unmarried Chinese female friends and I often laugh about this... don't make me explain that either.  Red envelopes and sympathy looks... pass the dumplings please. 

I wish you all Kung Hei Fat Choi! 
Happy Year of the Dragon
And remember
Be Bold not Humble

Photocredits via weheartit

Friday, 20 January 2012

Parallel Universes: Journey into Wonderland

"This is your last chance.  After this, there is no turning back.  You take the blue pill - the story ends, you wake up in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe.  You take the red pill - you stay in Wonderland and I show you how deep the rabbit-hole goes."  - Morpheus from The Matrix

Which one did you take today?
That's what I thought...

Imagination is a beautiful thing, it allows you to roam wild and free, exploring places and indeed people... you've never seen.  The reality of wandering between universes - theres our bold blue one, where clocks ticks, schedules are set and you plod along to the distinct beat of a metronome.  And then we have our scarlet red universe where time falls away, the landscape is dotted with rabbit-holes and everything is just a teeny bit shinier, if not blurry around the edges. If you're writing, you know what I'm talking about.  Of course, its your choice where you spend your time.  Well, kinda-sorta. Some days, I like to levitate above my sofa  in a state of nothingness.  Perfectly.  Zen.  A tall bamboo pole tattooed with Japanese calligraphy. Arabic maybe.  Anything is possible in the red universe.  Make sense?  Good.  Now, go away and find your own rabbit-hole... and I mean that sincerely darlings.

Photocredit via weheartit

A/N:  Things to do this weekend?  Eat, drink and make merry! Write an NYT Bestseller, bake chocolate muffins, you know.... all that good stuff.  Now that its your time.  Be all that you can be.  I'm going to keep saying that this year until its etched on the bones beneath your skin.  Spooky, I know.  Whats on your diary?  -Talei xox

Ps:  And no, no I'm quite sane. It's just Friday! 

Monday, 16 January 2012

Winter Popsicles

Snowboarders 'paradice'
Ah, short wintry days - what's not to like?  It's 1 degree celsius outside, there's frost on the ground, roof, car, hound... in fact its everywhere and yet that great glittering orb of sunshine still sparkles down on us.  If I rotate my desk 90 degrees across the room every hour or so.  Hibernation is the name of the game, I am pretending to be a very old lady - worn cashmere cardigan, tartan blanket draped over shoulders and yes, head-of-hoofed-beasts-slippers on my feet.  Not that many old dears wear novelty slippers but heigh-ho.  Also, I am enjoying a raspberry popsicle.  Yes, yes I am.  Thats me, sticking two fingers up at Mother Nature for being so cold.  Wait, can I say that? Hush, you!

This weekend, despite the icicles on the end of my nose, I ponied up to the London Ice Sculpting Festival in East London.  The glass towers of Canary Wharf, our own mini Manhattan, provided a spectacular backdrop for the competition. Under the watchful eye of officials, rugged-beanie-wearing-demi-god-sculptor-with- chainsaws 'chiselled' away at the giant slabs of ice whilst a plethora of SLR enthusiasts shot indiscriminately from all angles.  At times, ice flew furiously as the sculptors carved and the crowds stood entranced.  It was a scene from a horror movie sans opera music and with beautiful results.  I don't know who won in the end because it was freezing and I sought refuge in the nearest well-heated bookstore - but I did vote for Team France, whose talented chap bore an uncanny resemblance to one of the mafia dudes from Goodfellas.  Yes, he did.  Here's a few snaps from the day, please enjoy!

Favourite image of the day
You lookin' at me? 

Judges, hard at work... 
Just hanging
Photo courtesy: via yours truly, please do not copy without written consent.

A/N: Hello friends, I hope everyone has been productive on the writing front and enjoying the new year thus far.  It's already half-way through January!  I've continued edits on my main manuscript and started to outline another story.  I know, I know.  Glutton for punishment?  Start as you mean to go on though, right? Happy Writing this week!   Talei x