Railways, gift giving and a lack of class.

Watches

When I turned 18 my parents gave me a watch. My parents are usually epically good present givers (like seriously good). They have instilled in me this weird desire to give the most amazing presents, which is the bore of my boys life, he is more of the head-out-last-minute-and-but-a-scented-candle type (yes, that’s a legitimate type). But anyway, I had high expectations come that particular birthday. You see, it’s kind of a big deal, turning 18 (at least for British people, in NZ it’s your 21st that everyone goes bat shit for). So when all my excitement boiled down to a thin black strapped watch with a red minute had, that did one job (a job that my phone could do whilst also texting my friends), I was shocked. Shocked and kind of upset, I didn’t understand. Had I been naughty? Was this the birthday equivalent of Christmas coal?

I put on the face you are meant to put on, and said thank you kindly. I listened to the story about how fancy the watch was, how it was a ‘Mondaine’ and based on the Swiss railway clocks (basically it was a very sort after timepeice). And I still didn’t get it.

Six years on from then and I can’t for the life of me remember what I actually wanted for my birthday. No doubt it would have ended up in the bin or broken. But this watch remains (in almost perfect nick). To be honest I haven’t worn it loads (you see now my phone does even more things whilst telling me the time), but it has been coming out to play with my style more and more.

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I wouldn’t say it’s grown on me, I would say that I’ve grown into it. How was a teenager with peroxide blonde hair and a bad love affair with and overzealous side fringe ever going to see the importance (and beauty) of something so timeless (ha)? Now I look at this piece of history with awe. I lovingly waterproof the leather strap and even once got the battery changed (that’s a lot of up keeping for a girl who’s previously mentioned dyed hair quickly turned into an “ombré” ‘do of it’s own accord). What once sat in a box barely looked at, is now a common feature on my wrist, nestled between my stacks of neon beads (hey, I’ve still got a bit of that eighteen-year-old class in me).

I think watches are making a come back. I think the world of fashion is starting to welcome these gorgeously simple and functional pieces back into its life like a long lost lover. It’s the Baby G trend of the 00s, but with less pink plastic and more rustic leather. Ladies, throw away those cellphones (ok, don’t be too dramatic here, maybe just chuck them in your bag) because a sign of the real fashion elite is no longer a stunning pair of Louboutins, but a designer (somewhat oversized) watch.

Or maybe I am just getting old enough to finally appreciate a “classic”. Shit. Pretty sure it’s all down hill from here.

NB A terribly belated thank you to my parents, who seem to have (yet again) aced it on the present giving. Even if it took my class a few years to catch up.

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Heart attacks, cheap eats and all the quails.

Hawker

I usually update you guys on the amazing cuisine in Auckland, but (as you may have picked up) I’m not actually IN Auckland currently. As the boy and I travel, we’ve had a checklist, a kid of culinary ‘to do’. Not masterminded by me (I’m having a hard enough time trying to tick “paleo” off as is), but from the boy. Our adventures have be a sort of foodie tour of South East Asia, with decisions on places to stop being made purely based on where historically makes tasty noms. My personal tour guide is quite partial to hawkers markets, or street vendors (despite every warning against this) and I’ve found it to be one of the best ways to truly chuck yourself in the deep end, (both culturally and digestively) and discover the real essence behind a city. So, for my readers in this area (or my readers heading this way), I give you my two favourite street markets spots (so far).

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Gluttons Bay – Singapore

This hawkers centre is very well documented, but still, it deserves the hype. What serves as the ‘creme de la creme’ of Singaporean street food, bands together to create a buzz of finger lickin’ traditional fare, right on the (rather breathtaking) water front of Singapore.

When we headed here we completely lucked out and happened upon an installation art exhibition (that quite literally lit up the sky) going on along Marina Bay too.

For this, our first Friday traveling, the boy decided we had to have the most decadent looking dish available, chilli crab. This is a Singaporean specialty consisting of an actual whole crab just hanging out in a pile of delicately spicy, full bodied, tomato sauce. It was swimming in so much of the stuff I swear it had died by drowning. Paired with sticky rice and crispy sweet buns for my dinner date (no sexual reference intended), this messy but oh-so-much-fun dish left us wanting more.

Other notable Singaporean dishes worth a try are chicken rice, oyster omelet and carrot cake (which is neither a cake, nor contains carrots – who ever named that was on something whack).

Soak up the sounds of Singapore whilst sipping on a coconut, but be prepared to fight (like really, really hard) for a table.

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Night Markets – Trang

This little spot was almost over looked! We only stopped in Trang for one night (as most do). It’s a sort of transit town for tourists heading to Thai Islands. Lucky for us, our one night also happened to be a Friday, the evening the small patch of town right outside the rundown train station (and, it turns out, our equally run down digs for the night) comes alive with food, fashions, and odd trinkets galore.

Eating here was like dinner and a show all rolled up into one, with small elderly ladies making fresh roti, whole fish slung on coals and squid kebabs going round the barbie. Everywhere you looked there was something amazing to watch and some new oddity to taste. Often food choices were a bit of a lucky dip, not understanding the offerings (just the price – the price always seems to be easy to translate), but none were a disappointment.

I settled on a papaya salad, mixed up in front of my eyes (and allowing my control over spice levels – thank god), fried quail eggs and big chunks of watermelon for dessert. Needless to say, I was one insanely happy camper as this was my first proper healthy style eating since we had set off on our travels. Also, all that probably came to under $2.50 (NZ), leaving plenty of money for other things (these “things” may or may not have been a new handbag*). The boy, who doesn’t give two hoots about healthy, went for spicy squid, quail egg money bags (we are yet to discover where all the quails were hiding) and a sweet roti filled with banana and covered in not only chocolate, but sugar and condensed milk too (aka heart attack on a plate).

I don’t know whether it was because we had absolutely no expectation of this little town, or because the food was spectacular, or because I finally felt nourished in a healthy way, but this was one of my favourite food memories on our adventure.

*Ok, ok, they were definitely a new handbag.

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Mondayitis

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I seemed to have just skipped out on that ancient tale of waiting by the phone for a guy to call. You know, the one that features in romcom classics, made for desperate women around the globe? And, before you judge me, it’s not because boys always called, it’s because by the time puberty hit me (and boys hit my raider) texting was the thing.

For some reason I think text communication (or rejection) is a little easier to handle. You can text other people as a distraction, you can take your mobile with you when you’re out (to eliminate the fear off missing that all important beep), or you can even text the illusive party to relieve some of the tension. (Followed, of course, by huge amounts of self loathing because you ‘broke’ the illusion of playing hard to get).

Well, ladies of the pre-text era. I’m feelin’ ya.

No, the boy hasn’t gone array. He’s still here (not much texting though, more grunting). I’m talking about potential employers. Sending my blood sweat and tears (aka work-to-date for the less dramatic of my readers) into an automated email black hole is starting to get a little heart breaking.

I’m constantly checking my gmail, my phone and my LinkedIn for news from London shores. Hell, I’ve even started to over analyse my blog readership stats to see if I can somehow spy my future boss’s googling me.

They haven’t.

Questions fill me up, like “am I not good enough for you?” or “maybe I should just ring them?” and the age old “what if they lost my number?”. I am turning into every female character in He’s Just Not That Into You, except my hair isn’t as shiny.

So, this Monday I would freaking love my inbox to be full of responses to my beacons of hope sent in the direction of the UK. Or at least just ONE email that isn’t spam.

NB If you are in fact a potential employer reading this, I’m totally cool and laid back I swear. This post is just a total joke. If you email me, and I respond within 30 seconds it’s totally just because I was already online. I swear.

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The month that was.

March

March has zipped by and I’m still not quite sure how I fitted everything in. Six different cities, eight modes of transport, one family reunion and (as always) way too much food. Follow me on Instagram here for what will continue to be a sneak peak of my adventures around Asia and India. With lots of food. Like lots.

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