Monday, 29 December 2008

Spotted #1


Can I on behalf of the lemms exclaim our undying love for dim sum? Is it even possible to describe the extent of our love for em' small wraps? I dunno but the love is there. My boyf can attest to all the eating we do at dim sum places.

But this.

This is pure genius.

Spotted here.

- Sue

Saturday, 27 December 2008

Capitalist excesses, part II

As I remarked pensively to my best friend Max today, if the economy has yet to revive, it is not for lack of effort on my part.

The rest of my shopping has finished being laundered, so: pictures! Items new except where described as remixed. (As far as I can tell, "remixed" is just a fancy way of saying "I have worn this before and am now wearing it again", in the same way that "vintage" means "basically, old; usually, smelly".)

Grey polka-dot cardigan - Marks & Spencer; necklace - Vincci Accessories; top - Seed (remixed); skirt - Colours (remixed)

This outfit makes me feel like a primary school teacher. ^_^ I shall wear it to go watch a film tomorrow.

Dress - Ember; shoes - Vincci Accessories

The shoes are the angelic white ballet flats mentioned at the end of the previous post. I know I said I was sick of shopping, but firstly, I was probably lying; secondly, they have more or less stopped playing Christmas music, and have started playing Chinese New Year music instead! I have a far higher tolerance for Chinese New Year music than for Christmas carols, due to prolonged exposure in my youth.

Thirdly, look at them! They are so cute! And they were RM30, which is not excessive for shoes. I shall remove the straps and wear them everywhere, but always bring a rag and some soap with me in readiness for untoward events. In three months they shall be grey, alas.

Deceptive knit top - Cortefiel; jeans - Dorothy Perkins (remixed many a time); white ballet flats - Vincci Accessories

The top is deceptive because it is not really a shirt under a sweater; it is just a sweater with pretend shirt-bits attached. I love the dramatic white sleeves. They make me feel like a Shakespearean actor.

Top - FOS; necklace - Axxezz

Axxezz is shockingly expensive, but this choker-necklace creature was RM12, probably because it is basically made out of coconut.

It is AMAZING. This top is not right. None of the three tops I tried on with it were right. I have not figured out how to wear it yet, but there must be a way. I adore statement necklaces, and this one says, "Hello! I am awesome!"

Dress - Nichii Fashion City; stockings - Daiso

And my last, shameful extravagance. I have no particular need for this, especially as it is entirely the wrong colours to wear to my brother's wedding, but I tried it on for fun when Max and I wandered into Nichii Fashion City looking for evening dresses, and then spent five minutes gazing at myself in the mirror, transfixed.

I can just about sit down in it. If I put on so much as a smidgen of weight from my joyous feastin's this holiday --

Delicious delicious pho

-- I will no longer be able to wear my beautiful dress which makes me feel as glamorous as a million Audrey Hepburns smoking those cute old long cigarettes and wearing strings of pearls, and Sue will have to inherit it, whether she will or no. May that day be long in coming!

- Zen

Friday, 26 December 2008

Fruits of labour

I've been home a week and already I'm thoroughly sick of shopping -- not out of any innate thriftiness that causes me to draw back in horror from my recent extravagances, but basically, because every shopping centre in the PJ/Klang area will insist on playing Wonderful Christmastime six hundred million times.

I'm as fond of Sir Paul McCartney as the next man, but come on!

The main aim or purpose of the week-long shopping spree was to acquire a dress for my brother's wedding next week, but of course I picked up other things on the way -- if only because you're not allowed to wear black or white at a Chinese wedding, and I have an unfortunate passion for black and white. Especially together!

Dress - Cicada; over-the-knee stockings - Daiso

Which passion I combine with a passion for colourful hosiery. A new-to-me RM5 shop, modelled on the Japanese 100 yen shop, has opened at a shopping centre near me, and I took the opportunity to buy SOCKS. Oh how I love socks.

Green sweater dress - P & Co; grey argyle socks - Daiso; cowl - crocheted by myself

Another thing I cherish an abiding passion for: sweater dresses. Sweater dresses are a tricky one -- they can be difficult to maintain, and they cling in an occasionally awkward manner -- but they are just so cosy and casual I cannot resist.

I crocheted the cowl according to this pattern, only modifying it to make it bigger. The general feeling among my friends and family appears to be that cowls are scarves cut off in their prime -- "aren't they just a monstrous cross between a neck brace and a truncated scarf?" -- but I love it, so there. I think it looks great, and it will be super nice and toasty when I am back in England.

Grey argyle knee socks! Grey argyle knee socks for RM5! :D

My final and most acute love:

Dress - Suzuya; stockings - Daiso

SHIFT DRESSES. I would wear this with tights, a cardigan, a scarf and pure undiluted happiness.

It is ridiculous how beautiful shift dresses are. I took about six pictures of myself in it and I look amazing in every single one of them. This did not happen with the sweater dress, I can tell you that!

The final pictures are not of new purchases, but I started rummaging around in my wardrobe and found a couple of pieces I am totally bringing back to London. I bought them a while ago in Hong Kong and Japan and ended up hardly ever wearing them because they are a bit, um, unhinged --

Panda T-shirt - shop in Harajuku; tutu - shop in Mongkok; stockings - your friendly neighbourhood Daiso

But unhinged in such a fun way!

I must toughen my hide and wear this out in public some weekend in London. Perhaps I shall buy those angelic white ballet flats I saw in Vincci Accessories to go with them ....

These aren't all the purchases I've made since getting home (embarrassing admission), but the others are in the wash, so I'll make another post with pictures when they have come out again!

Happy holidays, and have a fabulous new year!

- Zen

Wednesday, 24 December 2008

Where the Treetops Glisten and Children Sing

It's Christmas morning guys! Sadly, Sam and I are not celebrating Christmas at home so we are celebrating it together. Steamboat, chiffon cream cake, christmas pudding, and playing Wii equals christmas for the lemms minus one. Zen, in the mean time is home with home cooked food and family.

Since my fingers hurt from playing too much Smash Brothers, I shall sit here and look for nice christmassy things. And I found things, well not things exactly, but Christmas images that we would love.

Sam was the easiest, I saw this and knew that she wold immediately love this and would die to have them all. Introducing Christmas with Sam's loved ones.

They are fluffy and lovable, like Sam. The duck with the reindeer hat is the cutest of the lot. And I would like one of Mario's mushroom too.

For Zen, it was tough. I didn't want to find anything clothes related because clothes adorned with a christmassy theme can be a bit lame and unoriginal. But lookie here,


The image comes from a 60s arts and craft magazine, thus explaining the bauble in her hand. because they were teaching the reader how to make a chirstmas baubles as well I believe. At first look it's a lovely christmassy skirt but no, look closer at the words, it's a holiday apron! I didn't know aprons were made like that but it does look really stylish. A great idea really if you want to spiff up a plain shift dress like the one the model is wearing. The hair is awesome too.

Another one which I thought funny was this.

Look ma, not only am I making our Christmas tree look like it was snowed in from non existent snow but it is now NOT a fire hazard. No need to worry when a candle falls.

As for myself, I went straight-a-hunting for Christmas food and found this.

Hummingbird Bakery is the world's best place if you feel generous enough for a trip to sugar land and back. Its cupcakes are moist enough to go with the icing and the icing is the best I've eaten so far. I believe they are relatively cheaper (by 50p maybe) compared to other cupcake places around London. I have not tried Magnolia Bakery but do let me know what you think if you've tried both.

A little bird told me that another great cupcake place is Lola's at Selfridges. Their christmas themed cupcakes are pretty clever, aptly names The Twelve Days of Christmas. I will try one day.


I can't imagine how this post has actually turned into a food post. Sorry guys, but now you know which places to eat when in London. (:

So yes, now I bid you farewell and good night. Eat well, sleep well and don't remember not to faint when you get a christmas present not worthy of an owner like you.

On behalf of the lemms, I wish you all a Merry Christmas from London!

p.s. Don't forget Boxing Day sales. We just can't wait!

75% off, here we come!


Monday, 22 December 2008

Unconventional Finds

Finally, a break from studies and back to lazy mornings sipping English tea and munching on freshly baked bread spread with Lurpak butter while going through e-mails and blogs. No, the fresh part was faux because firstly I don't mix and knead dough everyday and secondly, there's this small miracle in life where you can get part baked pain, pop them into the oven for ten minutes and voila! The illusion of freshly baked bread.

Anyway, enough about my morning rituals. Let's talk about something more exciting. Stuff you've never thought you did like before. You know, things like mince pies, liquorice, marzipan or brussel sprouts. I am sorry, everything here seems to revolve around food, but you get what I mean.

Today, I bought something I would never have worn. Prints. More specifically a watergarden open back print dress. A more visual object, this.

Well, to be fair, the picture does not do any justice to the colours at all. It looks like a Renoir painting. But again, what was I thinking? Let me explain.

My aunt was in a shopping spree mood, what with all the great reductions welcoming the 'next great depression the world will ever witness'. We were also in an area where high street stores were absolutely obsolete aka Sloane Square. I mean, I love the area and its stores but it's just that I never felt it was right to splurge daddy's money on decadent things. My own? That's another story which I can only tell if this recession gives me a job.

So, I was there being her carrier for all bags paper and big when she went into Whistles which was having this massive 50% off sale. 50%! I must admit, I am a quantitative person but when it comes to percentage, as long as the numbers are BIG, even if the the net price nis high, it will always increase my endrophins and adrenaline. (Man, I should just have 50% off signs posted all over my bedroom to make me happier.) High levels of endrophin and adrenaline are really such a dangerous combination. I just started grabbing dresses that apperead nice without a second thought and immediately rushed into the changing rooms to try them on.

I don't suppose I was going to actually buy any of them but I just wanted to try them on 'to see'. And when that dress clothed me, I was amazed at how flattering the prints made me look. It's ruched at the waist so the top hangs loosely but in a nice way because it's silk. Then the bottom skirt bit had a slight volumious flow to it. I was actually reminded of Bree van de Kamp (Marcia Cross) of Desperate Housewives.
In a good, low key, sophisticated way of course.

Did I mention that underneath the dress was a lace skirt as well? It was lovely! To be honest, I hated those things when I was 5, they itched like hell and gave me the heeby jeebies when my mum dressed me up. I even had matching laced socks for effect which amplified my itchiness and grouchiness. But those things do make a huge difference to how the dress hangs on you. In fact, if put under the right material, it makes the whole dress looks so much better.

So yes, in my defense, I thought I looked great in it. Plus, it was something different. Not a staple in the wardrobe but one striking outfit. It's rare to find dresses that looks great on you and doesn't look black. And of course, I could have waited for boxing day sales but I didn't want to take the risk of not being able to find it in my dress size and then I would regret and be sad and paste 50% off signs in my room to alleviate my sadness, which would make me an even sad-er person. Another plus point, I have a return option too.

I actually plan to wear this for the Chem Eng annual dinner going to be held at The Roof Gardens. It's pretty apt, don't you think so? The dress is also a great summer dress and perfect for any classic English country wedding, if I am going to one that is. So what are the thoughts? Have I absolutely lost it or was it a moment of genius?

Tuesday, 16 December 2008

Meds & Hems...

My interests in fashion are few...true, to a certain extent, mainly because I can’t be asked to wake up the extra half an hour, or however long it takes, to look pretty in a dress and tights (knowing how I’m such an un-morning person...half an hour extra is actually being really optimistic!). So you can imagine me at the end of my pre-clinical days (all that was required back then was to roll out of bed, be hygienic and crawl to lectures in pyjamas-level presentable) looking excitedly at clinical school life, where I finally run around in the hospital with my stethoscope, thinking “crap I need to buy a whole new wardrobe..." >__<

I have whined and digressed way too much! The point of all this is...want to see what I have in my “clinical school-wardrobe” now? It’s not really that special, but for me it’s a super step up! I will obviously tweak the looks depending on what the NHS trust dress code is at the time, but in general: nothing below the elbows (so no watches around the wrist), no jeans, and clothes with offensive slogans^_^! It’s probably a good thing that we are required to dress smartly and look somewhat professional (whether or not we have truly learnt the communication skills for it yet!

Here comes the skirt and tights! ...and I had to throw on a vest because I love vests (and am now banned from buying anymore...) also because I think it makes it look like I put in slightly more effort...even if I do look more like a waitress!

White shirt - Fox. Skirt - Interplanet. Black tights - Japan. Vest - random stall during the Thames Festival.

I love vests! You’ve probably noticed that I’m trying to sneak black jeans into the hospital...well sometimes you can get away with it. I still prefer them to slacks...old habits die hard.

Shirt - Comme Ça Ism. Vest - somewhere in Harajuku. Jeans - Bik Bok.

This is more casual, and works when all I have to do is attend seminars and teaching sessions etc. Could work in the ward with the slightly-less nitpicky nurses and doctors.

Sleeveless top - somewhere in Japan. Vest - Comme Ça Ism. Jeans - Bik Bok. Jacket - Mango.

I should also probably also blog about the shoes I have hunted down for clinical school...but that will be another post, for another month! (I really should get off my lazy bum and blog more too!)
Hopefully the next hospital I am at has the white tunic rule for medical students. I could get away with so much more when you throw a white tunic over everything. Maybe I should keep an eye out for how well people can work it and blog about that! I have spent too much money on clinic-clothes this year, I think I shall join Zen in her shopping ban...


Monday, 15 December 2008

Zen's picks from Oxfam online - #1

Vintage 50s dinner coat and dress set, £145

I have a new means of procrastination: the Oxfam online secondhand store.

It's a sad truth that it's difficult to find affordable vintage in the UK -- of course all depends on your definition of "affordable", but what with shipping costs those beautiful Etsy shops selling gorgeous vintage dresses at $20 a pop are rarely an option, and even on eBay the real beauts soar beyond £20 pretty darn quickly. Sue and I hardly ever win eBay auctions because we are so cheap.

The nice things about charity shops is that they are affordable. The less nice thing is that often they are an exercise in wading through a sea of Marks & Spencer jumpers. The Oxfam online shop is not dissimilar to its real-life counterparts in that respect, but it has some really gorgeous pieces if you dig a bit, like this vintage lace dress:

Garmel of London dress with lace overlay, £35

And this highly bargainous Prada jacket:

Prada pinstripe wool jacket, £34.99

(It did occur to me to wonder how one would know it was Prada -- but hey, if one is going to trust N. E. Ebayer when she swears her item has only been worn twice and retailed at a million, one might as well extend that trust to Oxfam.)

And even Marks & Spencer has it in them to come up with something pretty neat once in a while.

Marks & Spencer cotton/polyester jacket with damask pattern, £9.99

I love the glossy brocade effect on this jacket, and ever since I saw it I've been wondering what one would wear it with. I don't know! I don't think it is that wearable and I am a bit dubious about the fit and yet I am strangely infatuated with the jacket all the same. (A chunky scarf? A little dress? Jeans and unexpected shoes?) I would so buy it and find out what it'd look good with if I were not on a shopping ban right now.

So, um, after about a coupla hours surfing the website I decided I had best put my wasted time to some kinda use and do a Lemms post about it. Here's a handful of Zen's Picks -- nothing over £20 unless it was awesome enough to merit inclusion. Click on the pictures to go to the Oxfam website!


1970s dress with matching belt, £11.99

1970s shift dress, £13.99

The description on the website claims that this is handmade. This isn't a great picture, but from the close-up of the fabric it looks like it would be super cute on, and I love the angled pockets.

Jacques Vert sheath dress, £16.99

I can't decide if one would look like someone's great-aunt or totally awesome in this -- I suppose it would all hang on the fit.

1980s jersey crossover dress, £17.99

1970s handmade dress, £25.00

I didn't like this one at first, but the more I gazed at it the more charming it became. I like the grid pattern, the glossy material and the gorgeous deep colours.

Kaliko loose roll neck dress, £19.99

High street secondhand rather than vintage, but if the colour is anything as rich in life as it is in the picture, I think it'd be gorgeous.

And I was going to go on to coats (-- then waistcoats -- then tops -- then skirts), but I looked at the list of links I'd collected and, well, it is bedtime. I'll save it for another post. You should tell me if you buy any of the dresses linked here so I can hate you secretly in my heart!

Thursday, 11 December 2008

Chronicles of the easily inspired

Now isn't that pretty? I saw it in a shop window on Lower Marsh (my favourite road in the world -- it has two vintage shops, three bookshops, a knitting shop and cafes galore! You must understand: in my head Heaven's high street is like this). The shop sells various vintagey/kitschy/girly gift things, and lots of Noa Noa clothes and accessories.

I loved the delicacy and whimsical details of this outfit in the window display, so I thought I'd try to recreate it. Noa Noa is of course far beyond my budget, but you know what is within my budget?


Dress - H&M; cardigan - H&M, rosette made by me; necklace - weekend market at the Curve; scarf - random London shop; tights - Uniqlo

You will note that really the only thing this has in common with the window display is the vaguely flower-shaped brooch. But I'm especially proud of that brooch because I made it myself! It is the first crochet flower I have ever made. And I think it looks pretty neato!

Since I didn't have any appropriate white yarns to use, I deliberately flipped the colours of the scarf and flower. I don't have any thin white necklaces -- I like my necklaces chunky or quirky, but rarely so delicate -- so I went for my phoenix necklace, 'cos I hardly ever wear it.

I added the cuff also 'cos I never wear it, and because the colours sort of match:

Overall I'm not that pleased with the look I came up with as an imitation, though I am happy with it as an outfit -- it's casual and cosy and warm! I love casual and cosy and warm. And it means the rosette is perpetually in the corner of my eye, reminding me to bask in the lovely warm glow of having made something myself.

I would like to get up an outfit a bit more similar to the window display, though. For that I'd need
- a more interestingly knit long cardigan
- a more interesting scarf
- a floatier dress -- you can't really see it in the picture I took, but the dress is sort of layered and gauzy. I do have a similar black dress I tried on this morning, but since my cardigan is black as well, it ended up looking a bit too eveningwear.

We shall see. I am technically still under a shopping ban ... though I breached it briefly yesterday. But that is a story for another post!