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Sunday, August 26, 2012

Wedding Cards

I have finally completed a client's wedding card designs. The cards were printed out, packaged and delivered this afternoon yay! It has taken 3 months and thankfully, they were happy with the second artwork that was presented and since then, it was just a matter of tweaking the details.

This couple were having their nuptials in Koh Samui, lucky kids. I had to include a map, tropical accents while keeping it simple. Here it is.

I created a small logo for them too, very simplistic but they are using it as thank you tags.

The scalloped punches I bought ages ago finally got to be used. I am rather pleased that their names spell out DNA, very romantic don't you think?

The cards were wrapped in a pocketfold envelope and completed with blue and green ribbon and topped with a real starfish bought from Amazon.

Ta da!

Thursday, August 9, 2012

On the B-Day

It was another glorious morning in the Walatta House and both T and I were up at 6 because little Z has been waking early. Luckily the coffee machine has been plugged in and we had bought some fresh Hansa beans day before.

It is Thursday, Aug 2 and Suresh our tuk-tuk driver had picked today for his shop opening ceremony. The date, he said, was auspicious and a Poya day ( full moon ) so friends and family have been invited to witness the grand opening . At 10am sharp, Suresh greeted us at our place and we ( A, T, Z and myself) piled into the tuk-tuk heading for his shop.

S's tiny little shop is nestled into the hill under the shade of a bodhi tree. Relatives had turned up for this humble event and we were not sure what to expect.

We soon realised that we were the special guests and T was asked to officiate the opening!

What a great honor. After the ribbon cutting and well wishes, we took off our shoes and entered as the first customers. I picked up some eggs, spices and water while the proud owners posed for their photo and invited the guests for some simple food.

Such a sweet couple. His mum and grandmother were also there to support the couple. Little Z was being passed around and he was very good even though everyone tried pinching his cheeks.

After the morning festivities, our other friends who have flown in from Singapore and HK were ready for lunch. I suggested Mangrove Gardens, only a 10 min drive away and the restaurant is bang on the beach.

The van dropped us off and we walked across the Rekawa Lagoon with views of the lush mangroves.

This place was built after the 2004 Tsunami, so the coconut palms on the beach are still very young so you duck under the palms as you weave through the paths to get to the beach.

We brought along chilled bottles of Cloudy Bay and ordered some fried rice , grilled fish, devilled chicken and it was all very delicious. I had a poke around in their chalets and simple as they were, were adequate and clean.

So after filling ourselves with seafood and chips, we headed back to take a dip in our pool. A was off to collect the BBQ and spit that he built with the help of a blacksmith and some mechanics in town.

He spent a good 5-6 hours yesterday looking for parts and making things up as he went along. The mission was to build a pit and spit using whatever he could find around Tangalle. The project was staggering since he had trouble communicating with the locals and much was lost in translation. However the villagers tried their best and came up with something that actually worked.

The man on the left with the red teeth is the blacksmith. His workshop was at the back of his house and was no bigger than a closet.

That night, we oohed and aahed at this piece of genius and grilled some steaks and prawns for dinner. We could not find a whole lamb so the rotisserie could not be tested.

I was planning on making centerpieces and setting the table for a special birthday dinner but ditched the idea last minute as we were knee deep with work around the house. So with the bbq heating up, we drank ourselves silly and wore some crazy wigs. T read the card that we made for him and reminisced about his childhood as we read out his old report cards. It was a really good night.

Epic Holiday

On July 26th evening, we took the Srilankan flight from Doha to Colombo. The flight merely took 5 hours and we landed at local time 5.40am. The driver Aruna was there to welcome us back and it felt great to be back even though it is our third trip this year alone.

The highway from Colombo to the Galle highway has not been opened but there are promises of its inauguration Feb 2013. For now, it will take 1.5 hours to get to the freeway because of the small roads and bumper to bumper city traffic at most times of the day.

Once we passed the tolls, roads were clear right down to the coastal town of Galle. The car ride lulled us to sleep, as on the plane, we hadn't slept a wink. After an hour or so, the highway ended and we were back on the coastal path. Hungry, we popped into ERA hotel in Thalpe for breakfast. It has a great spot, right on the beach and Z was running giggling on the lawn and getting sprayed on by sprinklers while we tucked into eggs and bacon.


By now, it was 10am and we had another 70km to go before the house. So we piled back into minivan and carried on. Z was wide awake now and pointing out excitedly at cars, tuk tuks and the sea.

Finally, we get on to the land, and I see our gate for the first time. Simply wrought iron bars with concrete beams opened up by smiley Mr Siripela, our gardener.

The house looks different since March as there's more grass and a row of bamboo has  been planted along the perimeter. The guys were putting more grass on the roof as we unloaded from the van.

The sofa and the dining table has been delivered and so were the bed frames but things were lying everywhere. I spent the next few days arranging the bits and pieces in preparation for our guests who were arriving in a few days time. So here are the pics, there is still a lot to be done, like the mirrors in the bathrooms have not been fitted and the TV room needs plastering but we should be back there within the next 6 months so more photos to follow. But for now, here's The Walatta House.

It looks great but we had some water issues because SL is suffering a drought. The water board shut water supply down and we had to buy water from a guy who basically went to a well and pumped it into his bowser.

After tolling for 3 days around the house, we drove up to Colombo for a night, to do some shopping and meet the first guest flying in from Doha.

For a special treat, we checked into Tintagel, a uber chic hotel by Paradise Road.

The rooms are all done in black and brown stripes across the decor and walls. Ceilings are high and floors of hardwood. The beds and couches are oversized and plush. They even have shops where you can buy the decor and I love it all.

Paradise Road. Aptly named.

D, when you come next June, I'll take you shopping there.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Summer break

It may seem like we travel alot but we don't. Just so happens that after a month back from Singapore, we are packing to leave again. This time to Sri lanka, for T's 50th birthday celebrations. We have invited some of his close friends to stay in the house with us and it is all very exciting.

He didn't want to be reminded about getting older but his friends would not let this occasion slip by without a party. So off to the house for the 3rd time this year. It will be furnished this time woohoo!

The dining table, chairs, sofa and lights have been delivered to the house. We will arrive Thursday and start prepping the house before the other guests turn up.

I bought a few bright pillows on Etsy and it will bring some colour to the room, which is now basically a lot of shades of grey.

This one is from Urban Pillow.

And these from Mica Blue.

These pillows are outdoor and indoor pillows which hopefully means colours will stay vibrant for a long time. It took a long time deciding on colour scheme for the house, but now I have settled on turquoises and cyans. Hot pinks will be thrown into the mix once I get my husband to agree. He's not big into colour.

Meanwhile I am busy putting together some party ideas that are quite silly. I haven't bought him anything so decided that creating a memorable birthday party will be the gift itself.

An email was sent to friends and family with a questionnaire.
Questions included " The funniest thing T has done was...., and T drives me crazy when he does.... etc"

I am sure reading these comments aloud, would be quite entertaining. Plus reading them while wearing ridiculous wigs that I bought from Costumecraze would make it ever more funny.

For the dining setting, and I am not sure how I am going to do this yet but, create a centerpiece with branches from the garden.

Something like these? And hang old photos from the branches.

Or have the branch lie flat and stick the photos and tealights amongst the branches.

For the place mats, I found T's old school report cards that had the funniest comments and laminated them in A4 sizes.

Will be back early August and post some photos.

Have a great summer you.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Home Sweet Home

Z and I flew to Singapore for a short holiday, to see friends and family. Dad stayed at home because he could not take the time off and had other trips planned during our time away.

Z is 20 months old, 12.5 kg and a highly energetic boy most times, had to sit on mummy's lap since she was too cheap to buy him a separate ticket. The journey took 7.5 hours too long and we left at 1am which meant no sleep for either of us. The combination of jet engines and red eyes was a deadly mixture that ended in tears. He finally fell asleep after furiously kicking and screaming, but just for 2 miserly hours. My arm fell asleep but I failed to get any.

Anyway, when we landed, all was well. Singapore's green lushness was such a sight for sore eyes and especially coming from 50 degree heat in Doha.

The rest of the holiday was spent outdoors with grandparents. My little niece who is now 2.5 years old joined us and it was a blissful reunion.

Z who will not remember a thing years from now, but he had many many firsts.

1. Going to the Singapore zoo. ( total knock out place, one can rent wagons to drag kids along or go for elephant rides).

2. Water play in public areas, free of charge and outrageously fun for all.

3. Feeding kangkong leaves to goats at Farmart Centre in Lim Chu Kang.

4. Eating durian ( Dad does not appreciate this)

5. Seeing a rooster for the first time- Z flapped his arms.

6. Riding a bus.

7. Meeting his Asian relatives. Mum's sisters came to visit.

8. Sharing moments with his cousin.

It was so fun taking him around and watching his eyes explore the surroundings.

As for me, my trip was extra special, as I surprised one of my best friends on her birthday. I turned up at the Grand Hyatt Straits Kitchen restaurant where Z, L and D were dining and sprung up. All that was missing was M, but she was still in Bali and only arrived end of the week.

We had a blast catching up, it felt like years since we saw each other, but nothing has changed. Just a little older and maybe wiser and the banter took off without missing a beat.

Later that week, we met up with M, at Pasha. A stylish rooftop bar in Aliwal Street. This time with M, who was also in town for another high school reunion. Now the circle is complete. Thank you ladies. I will be back soon or see you in SL next year.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Restaurant with a view

Not with a conventional view. A view of performing artists. A dinner theatre concept I guess but with a new twist. The Circus, in Covent Garden, London. This place has been designed by Tom Dixon, someone I admire. The setting looks very glamorous and intimate. 

What really did it for me, was the menu graphics. It is so good looking. I love the font and art deco feel. Oh yea and the food sounds amazing too.

I bought D, my brother in law, a dining voucher there for his upcoming birthday. Hope they have a great time there. 

Jones in Doha

The Australian delicatessen Jones the Grocer is now in Doha. Super exciting! They opened in a upscale mall called The Gate just last week and it is the hottest place in town. Of course without a liquor license and pork, the menu is limited but still the food is outstanding and priced well enough to bring people in for lunch everyday which for Doha, is very unusual. Eating out gets very expensive.

We spoke with one of the managers who told us that the royals in Abu Dhabi owned the chain and loved it so much, had a Jones installed in his palace. Of course, why not ?

Baby shower for C and N

In 4 weeks or less, our friends C and N will be welcoming twin boys. What a blessing! The baby shower was a few days ago and the host of the baby shower, had a great gift idea. Favorite books from our childhood for the new family's library.

I love the idea but had to get books online because there are no decent bookshops in Doha. I was going to gift "The Giving Tree" but I took too long and by then it was too late to get in from Amazon and I didn't want to give up my only copy. That book isn't from my childhood, it happens to be a treasured find in my old age. However my family doesn't do reading at any time, bedtime or otherwise so finding a childhood favourite book title is not easy for me.

The only books I do recall having were Enid Blyton titles, the Mallory Towers, Famous Fives. I doubt the babies want to hear that in their bedtime routines.

So I had to find something fast! My search was futile and so I decided to make them some snacks. Cute snacks. Well tuna finger sandwiches dressed cute. This was for the shower.

I potato carved a heart. Done that recently? Quite fun actually. Stamped the bread with food colouring and
cut them in squares.

Even taste pretty good with spicy mayo dressing.

But seriously, I did find a book for the Cs. Although the book is not kid friendly, it is however bound to make the parents laugh and hopefully one day, they would read it as a family.

James Finn Gardner  even has a blog. His writing is very funny.

What would you have chosen from your childhood if you were me?

A Day of Mourning

Yesterday a mall in Doha caught fire and there were 19 casualties. 6 girls and 7 boys. 3 boys were triplets just over 2 years of age. Another 3 were siblings. I received many calls from friends, neighbours and emails for abroad asking if we were ok. I never expected them and it  was very heartwarming to know that you had us in your thoughts. Thank you.

I wanted to add this post, to remember them and their families. A year from now I will forget today but I don't want to forget. I am going to take life seriously and love seriously.

May you rest in peace and your family find strength to cope with the loss.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Shopping sites of note

I can't find anything decent in Doha when I shop, and often resort to looking online. My recent purchases on Swimspot were delivered and fitted me perfectly. I am really pleased and relieved since getting sizes right can be tricky.

Some other websites however is purely evil. I can smell plastic burning even before the pages load. 

JossandMain had these gorgeous bags from Halsea.

I adore the last one, the envelope clutch. The sales on JossandMain are usually only for a few days and their blog is full of pretty images.

If you haven't seen Fab, don't say I didn't warn you. The site is very addictive. I find myself going to it fairly often to see their deals. Sometimes they have designer collections at really low prices but the stuff gets snapped up pretty fast.

Cobone is a travel related site that feature deals from the Middle East. It works like Groupon. They are running some really attractive deals for travelling in the ME or from it. The hotel Jumeirah Zabeel is offering a night stay at 50% off their rack rates.

Pretty swanky eh? I am waiting for them to offer something similar in the Sharq Hotel in Doha which boasts the Six Senses Spa. I am keen to do a chilled out weekend away without baby Z.

Which sites do you recommend for some quality retail therapy?

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Cafe with a wow factor

I am sick. Runny nose, itchy throat, overall yuckiness. T is also sick and we are both slouching around like a bunch of sorry asses. It's not nice. So we went out. Unplugged ourselves from the couch where we have been wilting for hours, and went out for some fresh air. Doha, at this time, is lovely. Cool breezes with sunny skies, just like being back home. So we headed to the Murakami exhibition at MIA ( Museum of Islamic Art)

The exhibition was interesting, quite spectacular though not exactly my kind of thing. The artist is um, how should we say it.... on an acid trip when he created these characters? Anyway, still worth it. Added some colour to the desertscape we are surrounded by. 

Afterwards, we tried to take a sneak peek in the Alain Ducasse's new restaurant within the top floor of MIA, but it was not opened yet. 

The walk to the other cafe - The Garden Cafe took us by this playground. Bouncing trapeze for kids how cool!

Here we are approaching the cafe, it is right next to the water and you can see the city skyline beyond.

I always coveted these chairs by Patricia Urquiola when I see them in online mags. To see them up close and sit in them made me very happy. The colours are so cheerful don't you think?

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Chilled out Thurs

I am having a wonderful Thursday. Took my son to his gym play class, made spinach ricotta cannelloni and now am enjoying a cuppa java with T on the couch while Z is taking his nap. It has been one of those days that everything seem perfect and it's just half done! Oh and it rained in Doha. Just a short drizzle but what a blessing!

Came across a couple of images online that made me smile and here you go.

How cute and genius!

This house design by A21 via Archdaily, featured this amazing bathroom with a collage of gorgeous tiles.

The rest of the house photos were amazing too.

On the same note, these concrete tiles by Ivanka is in a different league altogether. I likey.

Hope you guys have a fab day ahead.