Kissmas wishes from me to you

By panda_eyed
I'm off to Hong Kong tomorrow, and before I go, I want to wish you all a very happy christmas and best wishes for 2007!

I have only been blogging since mid-May this year, and already I've made lots of wonderful new friends. Thanks to all of you who come by every so often and especially to those who leave me nice comments! I'm so sorry that I haven't had time to visit all your blogs recently, I miss them terribly, but one of my new years resolutions will be to visit regularly, and to blog more regularly than I have done recently (it's been so hectic!)

I don't know if I will be able to blog from HK, but I might be able to check my mail occasionally. You can email me at Be nice!

That's it I guess. I do have much to tell you all about, but no time in which to do it! Have yourselves a very merry Christmas and a fab New Year, and I shall 'see' you all in 2007!

Lots of love,
Panda xxxxxxxxx

Pictures from last week

By panda_eyed
Apologies for the lateness of the pics, I meant to add them on Monday night :s They're not all here either, because blogger decided to suddenly stop loading - maybe I have reached my limit? I've added the rest to my flickr and included the links below, if anyone is interested! There's also a couple of YouTube vids at the end.

Various birdies in the river at Windsor

A family of ducks.

Mandarin ducks!

Only in Windsor will you see a swan waiting in an icecream queue :)

Windsor open air ice rink

The ceiling in the foyer of the British Museum.
And again.

An entire tomb brought back from Greece (athens?) by the British. Isn't it about time they gave it back..?!

The tree of life - made from dismantled gun parts taken from child soldiers in Mozambique.
And a gun birdie.

The pretty jewellery I got from Spitalfields Market :)

Joe on Sunday night, at the Brixton Academy!

I think he had an itch :)


I don't know why some of these pics appear sideways, but can't fix them! You'll just have to tilt your heads :)

I also took shot a couple of videos at the concert with my new phone, if you're interested. This wass Joe singing his most recent release 'Where you at', and this slightly dodgy one is 'What if a woman'. But click here for the real 'Where you at' video (he sings about regretting the break up with his lady just before finding out he out has 4 weeks to live, aww).

Not much to report on this week.. Um... my free sample of jellybeans arrived (they give away 100 at different times each day, try it!) and I had lots of fun trying to match the dozens of flavours to the pictures (highlight of the week :). Hope you all have a fab weekend though, and I promise to blog properly before I leave for Hong Kong on Tuesday! Mwah to you all xx

Panda in the city

Category: By panda_eyed
Happy monday bloggers, I hope you all had a lovely weekend :) I'm back in work after a whole two weeks of being away (sickness, and then holiday), and it feels a bit strange. I seem to have forgotten where everything is, and I just can't get back into the swing of things.

I had some holiday to use up before the end of the year, so I took three days off this week, as did my best friend, and we thought we'd do lots of things around London. It's funny, I've lived in greater London all my life, but it wasn't really until I went to uni 5/6 years ago that I really started exploring the city.

On Wednesday, we went to Windsor. There were a surprising number of ducks, geese and swans in the river - I don't know why, but I thought there'd be much fewer - don't geese and swans migrate? We took a stroll down the river and did some shopping. Windsor has an open air ice rink, and feeling adventurous, we took a skate. Froze our bums off, but it was fun :)

We thought we'd take in some history on Thursday, and visited the British museum. We spent a good four hours wondering about in there, barely even covering half of it. I was especially intrigued by the artifacts from Asia. Last time I was there, I was a bit too young to appreciate them. I was surprised to see that religious symbols/idols from India, China, Thailand, Indonesia and other south east asian countries are so similar, despite being from different religions.

When our feet started to ache, we went for a 3-course dinner at Auberge. I had calamars - squid in tomato, garlic and black olive sauce for starter, then moules Thailandaise (mussels in coconut, lemon grass and thai curry spices) for a main. Should have known better than to order a Thai-style dish in a French restaurant, really - it was too heavily spiced with lemongrass, and hence, a bit bitter. Dessert though - Mmm.. We ordered profiteroles in a dark chocolate sauce and creme brulee with amaretto to share between us, and though I was so full I almost couldn't manage it, it was fabulous!

We got up early on Friday morning to go to the Petticoat Lane markets. I guess the market stall holders wanted a lie in, because at 12 in the afternoon, they still hadn't all set up! Still, we got some pretty pashminas from there. Then we trundled down the road to the new and old Spitalfields markets, which was heaving with delightful little stalls full of quaint and quirky things. I bought lots of pretty earrings, and even some christmas presents. They have some fantastic food stalls there (a bit like the famous Borough Market, although not as busy) and we had a lovely inexpensive Thai lunch (yes, Thai again :p), and found a stall that does the BEST chocolate brownies in London - yum!

As the day was still relatively young, we hopped on the tube to Camden Town, and more markets. I wanted to buy a hat, and tried on several, but they all made my little head look huge (why is that?). I got some more christmas pressies here, but can't say what they are yet :P.

I was so exhausted after those three days that I slept 12 hours on Friday night, and spent all of Saturday vegging and recuperating. A girl needs her rest, y'know. A good thing I did, because last night, we went to see Joe in the Brixton Academy, standing for a good 5 or 6 hours. It was worth it though, he was amazing, even though he only played for less than an hour. The girls were going c-ra-zy! I got home rather late last night, and so a bit tired today.

All in all, it's been a fantastic few days, and I have enjoyed it. I love that you're never short of things to do in London. So that was my weekend. How was yours?

*BTW, I have pics, but I shall add them to this post later this evening!*

Hong Kong: Childhood memories

Category: By panda_eyed
When I was little, I was utterly fascinated by my grandparents' way of life, and how different it was to life back home. The house is a three-storey building in the village, with seven bedrooms, and a roof terrace (they had 7 children), and I loved it. To me, it was like a castle, and I could spend hours exploring it.

My grandad would wake at 6am and go straight to the roof to practice his tai chi and kung fu. He was a master of both, and I would watch and copy his movements. I was small and clumsy, and he would laugh affectionately at my weakly controlled attempts at this fine art. He taught me my first kung fu moves up there, whilst the sun appeared on the horizon.

After this, grandad would go through his morning routine of washing and shaving, sweeping the floor, watering the plants, cleaning the house. Then he and my grandma would then get the bus to the morning markets. They would always bring me back something delicious for breakfast.

During the day, grandad would work the small plot of land they used to grow all sorts of vegetables on, selecting only the best ones for dinner. My grandma would wash the clothes by hand, in huge buckets. Even though they had a washing machine, she was terribly old-fashioned, bless her. Then, when the washing was done, she would hang it. This involved stringing the clothes onto huge poles of strong bamboo, which were then propped up by a rack. I would watch, loving the quaintness of this.

Then, grandma would tend to the chickens she kept, making up their feed, sweeping out the run. I would follow her in, in wellington boots several sizes too big, trying and failing to avoid the chicken poo, as children do, and help her feed the chickens.

I remember one time when she decided to kill a chicken for a (buddhist) prayer, and eat for dinner afterwards. I couldn't have been more than eight or nine years old at the time. I was horrified that one of these lively pretty chickens would end up on my plate, but at the same time, I had a morbid curiosity about seeing how this would happen. Grandma passed the live chicken to me while she went to get a knife, instructing me to hold it tightly by the wings so that it wouldn't escape. I did this, looking at the chicken, the chicken looking back, eyes darting everywhere nervously. Then my gran came back, knife in hand, and attempted to slit the chicken's throat whilst I was still holding it. I wasn't expecting this, didn't expect to be taking part in the murder of this animal, and dropped the chicken faster than it could squawk. It ran off, as chickens do, and me and my grandma spent the best part of 20 minutes chasing it around the yard before she caught it again. I found it hilarious and couldn't stop giggling. It makes me smile to think of it now. I don't think I ate the chicken that night... I couldn't stop thinking of it's little eyes looking at me...

It's not quite the same now, when I go back. While I still have fond memories, my grandad has since passed away and my grandma has grown old and frail and has lost her sight. She'll be moving out of her home soon, and no one will be more sad than she. I'd kind of hoped that she and my grandad would grow old together, spending their days in the way I remember so well; tending the gardens, the chickens, the house; spending the afternoons strolling to the communal village area where there would be other people of a similar age chatting and playing cards. Life isn't always so rosy, but I'm glad I was able to witness the idyll of them at their happiest. A simple life with a loving partner - that's how I'd like to live out my last years.