Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Breakfast in Florence with ''A Room with a View''

Would you like to join me for breakfast (with tea of course) in Florence with a room with a view over looking the Arno?

Come and sit down, let's have tea!

Florence, the birth place of Renaissance, has been a dream city for many people. Walking on the stone paved pavement and looking at the architecture, you will find yourself back to the Renaissance period. Is that a deja vu? Maybe. Or.. Had you really lived there once before? Maybe.

Florence, with its magic and mystery, has inspired many writers. No doubt British writer, E. M. Forster, found inspiration and made Florence as the backdrop for his book ''A Room with a View''.

photograph courtesy of the film 'A room with a view''

''A Room with a View'' starts with Lucy's adventure in Florence with her chaperon Charlotte, there they meet the unconventional Emersons--a father and a son who always mean to be kind but because of the lack of tact, are often considered ill-bred by their own countrymen. Something happens between Lucy and George Emerson after George rescues Lucy during a scene of a fight between two Italian men. However things are stopped with the interference of Charlotte and the return to England of Lucy and Charlotte.

Back home, Lucy accepts the proposal of the socially suitable gentleman Cecil. Will Lucy really get married to Cecil or is she going to break free and chooses George at the end?

In the movie, we can find two afternoon tea scenes.

tea in countryside (phtograph courtesy of the film)

''Tea at a Renaissance villa? Nothing had been said about it yet. But if it did come to that---how Lucy would enjoy it!''--- A Room with a View

tea in the garden (photograph courtesy of the film)

The tea set trio I present here today is by Royal Doulton. The simplicity of the set reminds me of the innocence of Lucy in ''A Room with a View''.

I love the hand-applied turquoise beads and hand-coloured rose buds on the cup. They are like the decorations you can find in Edwardian gowns.

According to the seller, Royal Doulton started using this pattern from 1902. I guess the set dates from 1902--1920.

The laurel wreath around the cup shouts victory. Will George Emerson gain victory over Cecil in ''A Room with a View''? Does love triumph all? Why dont you find out yourself?

''A true Florentine smell!''--Miss Lavish in A room with a view. Nice to smell Florence in sleep.

In the meanwhile, I am going to hug my pillow covered by the hand emboidered linen pillowcase bought from Florence during my first visit and dream a Florence dream.

And hopefully I wake up with breakfast and tea in front of me!

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Roses wear make up too

Do you wear make up? Sometimes I do.

blue leaves look so artificial, luckily the plain pink saucer balance it out.

Whenever I wear make up(just foundation and blush and darken my eye brows, no eyeshadows), some people have a bit of reactions. Some tell me that make up is bad for the skin because they are made from chemical materials. Some hint to me that the days they dont wear make up, people think they are sick so they give up wearing make up. Others--my best friends just have some uneasy look at the first sight of meeting me.

(photography courtesy of Makeup artist). Well, this style is too exaggerating for me. Nude make- up make up is for me.

I used to be like that too so I understand them. I used to think that wearing make up is a superficial act and people who wear make up lack confidence or are fake. I had a very negative view point towards those who wear make up. I changed my opinions when I was in university because sometimes I had functions to attend and sometimes I was invited to a wedding. I thought that wearing a cocktail dress without a proper hairdo and make up looks a bit strange so I slowly learned how to do my own make up so that i didn't need a professional to do it for me. I learnt that wearing make up can be an act of showing respect to the occasion.

Nowadays when I feel like it I wear make up because to me every day can be a special occasion to celebrate. If I am meeting friends I have not met for a while, I try to make an effort to look good for them. This is the way I show I care. Sometimes putting on make up can brighten up my days. Putting on make up is a kind of meditation for me. I know my weaknesses and I do not try to cover them all up. Instead I just try to bring out my strength/nice features. I like nude make up so even though I am wearing make up, my little freckles still come through and I like every bit of it because they look so natural. I learn to appreciate what I have and accept my imperfections.

But if people must wear make up in order to go out/do grocery shopping, then they need to be careful because it can indicate some mental blocks.

I think as long as I wear my make up in moderation. That's fine. But i dont understand since when it's ok to not look your best and dressing your best/wear make up is objected.

Now back to the tea cup. It's a lovely set with roses with blue leaves all around. Its maker is Aynsley. I find the number 28 as part of backstamp. I read it somewhere long ago that starting from 1924, Aynsley started to use number to indicate the year the set was made. So you add the year number--24 + (number at the back; in this case 28 = 52 (so this set was made in 1952). Please experts here correct me as I am not sure if it's the way to find out the manufacture year.

The other side also has a rose so if you are left-handed, you can still enjoy your tea while admiring your cup.

The roses with blue leaves look a bit artificial, it reminds me not to overdo it when it comes to putting on make up for myself.

I hope all of you have a nice week and that sometimes beautifying yourself does not hurt and it's one of the ways to love yourself and care enough to look best for others too.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Roses for ladies from Royal Albert

It's love at first sight.

Unwrapping and seeing this beauty, my heart jumped.

It has the quality of a lover.

It inspires me when the fountain of inspiration is dry;
It brightens up my day;
It gives me strength when my days are gloomy;
It brings a smile on my face whenever I see it;

And of course, I am never tired of it.

It is the cup from Royal Albert in my favourite colour--hot pink/barbie pink.

The well of the cup is decorated with roses with petals in different shades which make the roses more lively.

The roses in the cup can compete with the real roses.

Speaking of roses, I always prefer pink roses to deep red roses. They are lighter. Red roses for me are too solid.

Anyway, whichever the color of the roses, they are the flowers of love, they are the best messengers of love and they are the best agents to bring you love.

With this post, I wish everyone a happy Valentine's Day. The day to celebrate and spread love to your other half, families and friends.
May cupids look after those who are single as well and make each one of them a perfect match!

Fairy wishes! Cheers!

Monday, February 4, 2013

White and blue china from grandma

This coming Sunday marks the beginning of Chinese New Year. Every year, my families and I would go back to mainland China from Hong Kong to celebrate this important festival with my grandma. This is the first year that we are here for the new year without her. Last year in October she suddenly felt ill and lost her appetite. After staying in hospital for some time and without getting better, my relatives and my mother decided to send her back to her old home in a village(because the villagers believe that if one's time on earth is up, one has to remain in one's own house rather than making a death bed in a hospital or elsewhere.) Doctors came to check on her from time to time.

My aunts and uncle took turn to take care of her and my mother sometimes went back to China to see her. After a month we lost her. We had a hard time believing that she could leave so quick. But I guess at the age of 91, even the lightest illness can be too much a burden for her.

I took out the china that are passed down to me and had a good look at them as a gesture to celebrate this festival with her spiritually. There is nothing fancy here. They are just china used by villagers in their everyday life.

The first one I am going to share is this plate the size of a biscuit plate. In the middle there is a hand-painted carp. Carps are considered the creatures that can bring good luck. And because the word 'fish' has the similar pronunciation of the word 'remainder'/'left-over', it's often the subject painted in oriental china. In the old days, people were concerned about food supply so they often worried about their next meals, so having something left for the next meal is very important and so this carp signifies 'remain something for next meal/there is always food for next meal."

You can see that there are scratches in the middle. My mother told me that they used to eat off from this plate very often.

The next I am going to share is this rice bowl with four cranes painted around. Cranes signifies living a long life. Yes, every subject found in oriental china carries meaning. It is said that blue and white and cranes bring a sense of harmony.

This crane pattern was used during the 40's/50's up to the 80's for in the 80's I still saw this crane pattern. It's marked with what looks like an 'S'.

Next is this bigger bowl usually for containing meat or dishes with sauces. When my mother got married and held banquet in the village, she used all the bowls to contain food. This adds more meaning to this type of bowl.

Funny pattern is painted around but I could not make out what it is. I guess this one was made from the early 30's.

It has one of the Chinese characters from my grandfather's name engraved at the well of the bowl. This means hopefully he was blessed with enough food througout his whole life.

I guess this piece is the earliest example of all three pieces. The well is a bit rough.

I used the carp plate to contain sesame crunch/also called smiley crunch because it's like a blooming flower when cooked. It's one of the typical snacks for Chinese New Year.

These are the three pieces I choose to present here today. Looking at all three pieces and using them, they bring me back to the time of simplicity,  it connects me to the past when many people were struggling with food/life, the past of people who lived during the civil war/WWII and felt lucky to be alive.

         In memories of my grandma, Mrs. Wong Ma Tai Hou.