Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Christmas in the 'Jing!

It's Christmas time here in Beijing, Northern Hemisphere style, complete with a smattering of fresh snow, sparkly Christmas tree goodness in every colour and fancy twinkly light imaginable and some very dapper looking Santas popping up in malls and shop windows.

My kids are beyond excited, making Santa "wish-lists" and learning about giving at this special time of the year.  I asked my four year old, Maggie, last night what she wanted for Christmas and she replied, "Just a fairy Mum who grants wishes all the time!" Mmmmm, could be a tricky one, but I'll work on it!

My tai-tai, ex-pat friends are busily arranging their apartments to look as festive and special as possible for their children, to bring the magic of their traditions into their Beijing homes....whether they are from Australia, America, Europe or farther afield. Their trees are stunning and I even spotted a teddy bear dressed tree at my local shopping mall that made the kids squeal with glee! Random but fun!

Here are some of my favourite photos lately of Christmas time fever in Beijing and some funky, eye-catching Christmas trees. I wish everyone a happy and safe Christmas wherever you are in the world.

Mummy and Charlie at the girls' school

Getting in the Christmas spirit

International school Christmas Concert - my daughter Lily singing up a storm - snowflakes and sunglasses
 representing the best of both hemispheres!

Santa on the drums

Rock on Santa!

Charlie all bundled up.."what's this snow stuff Mom?"

-8 degrees C today and dropping!

My 2 yr old son Charlie's interpretation of Santa

Love this!

Teddy Bear tree!

Monday, December 5, 2011

iPhone cases are now on my radar...

Just got the new iPhone 4S. The camera on it's way better and there is a lady who reminds you of all the things that are happening in your day. Go Siri...   (For me she is my saviour, organisation is not my strong point!)

Getting a case was priority number one due to two small terrors who insist on playing Dora the Explorer on my phone A LOT! Have never really paid too much attention to iPhone cases, they are just one of those things I know I need. Yesterday I walked into a shop and came out with this one, it made me giggle. BTW, it can be purchased at

Then last night I started looking at a few cases online. There are some seriously cool cases around, here are a few that caught my eye.

Society6 have the most enormous range of cases and so many of them are amazing. I want these three below...

These two animal inspired cases can be purchased online at

The high roller brass $95 it's a little more than the $9.95 I forked out. I realise it's also a whole lot classier though!!

Friday, December 2, 2011

Christmas Spirit

I never really get into the Christmas decorating thing here at home in Melbourne as we're always away over the holidays in New Zealand. This year however, I think I'm going to at least create some kind of vignette for the table. I've been inspired by some of the great DIY Christmas ideas over on Pinterest!) Go check them out, some people come up with the coolest ideas :)  

When we arrive home in NZ one of the first things we do is go out and get a tree. We then throw on the fairy lights, add all the ornaments (some of which are older than me!) then wrap some tinsel around. done.

I love our Christmas decorations and our seriously rustic looking tree but can also really appreciate all the minimalist, modern and unique Christmas decor in other peoples spaces. Here are some of the images I have spied on the web lately. The last picture on it's own I absolutely simple but so great. T

Pictures via Pinterest.  Picture 4:,,,

Picture One:      Other Pictures via Pinterest

Friday, November 25, 2011

And the silly season begins...

This time of year is always insane. I shouldn't really blame it on my lack of blog posts but I'm gonna!

My weekend started with a sleepover last night with two four year olds and a two year old who wanted a serious piece of the action... 

After a fair bit of bed hopping, I eventually kicked my husband out onto the couch. This made room in my bed for my bubba who at 10pm was keeping the knackered girls from getting to sleep! Unfortunately for me, being kicked in the ribs, head, and basically everywhere else on my body makes for a bit of a grumpy mama. Bring on the barrocca and the coffee...

I'm now at the pancake making stage of proceedings, then ballet then I have to get ready for a function this evening. Here are some pics of what I would like/wish I could wear. enjoy x
An Olsen in orange 
A gorgeous orange lip

Gold maxi....amazing

Acne dress

Antik batik necklace


May be a little obsessed with this colour currently
the pants are pretty spesh

Willow dress. I REALLY want this one!

Sienna Miller's it

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Championing Chinese furniture

G'day all,

I'm a massive fan of replica Chinese furniture when placed deftly around the home. 

Let's face it, genuine antique Chinese furniture is now both hard to find and extremely expensive, so when we covet a beautiful armoire, dresser or medicine cabinet in our favorite color and design, we are definitely thinking 'replica' all the way baby... 

a beautiful blend of aged recycled wood - love it!!
the array of slats in different hues - ahhh.
The beauty is in the corners, in the color,  in the finish,  in the care, and it's in the workmanship.....

as long as you love it, you want it, you get pleasure from using it, looking at it and showing it off in your home, it doesn't matter. 

We love to have things in our home to display our precious things on, or put things in for functionality and aesthetics.....

the perfect storage cabinet for anything you want to display
Have fun looking at these cute ideas....and shop at 'In My Cabinet' next year for that special piece of Chinese furniture you just have to have - made with love and care by Chinese artisans, just for you.
rich in texture and color

Here's my new picture stand and dresser .....I keep looking at the cute feet, the perfectly vintage peeling paint that sooo tickles my fancy, the beautiful leaf shape of the drawer knobs, the centered Middle Kingdom circle motif...and I smile.
middle kingdom circle motif - simplicity and beauty

leaf design drawer knobs swinging happily

I love the little claw feet and clean lines - such a handy size too!

I was drawn by the richness of the green and Chinese shapes in this stand. 

Would be a cute addition in any room of your house.

traditional red - the prefect hallway dresser or vanity for your bedroom

I want this in my kitchen!!
a pop of color in any bedroom

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Work that wok!

Last Friday, a great group of friends and I went to a Chinese cooking class (to celebrate the farewell of our wonderful friend Nyree), nestled down a typical alleyway in Beijing.

A courtyard property oozing of old China, purpose built for the likes of us, i.e, excitable foreigners keen on learning the charms and bygone-tested recipes of the Middle Kingdom. 

check out that cleaver - serious stuff!
Armed with cleavers and all manner of funky looking condiments - white wine vinegar, dark soy, slightly less dark soy, lighter than light soy, we set to work making Beijing Style Braised Beef with Soy sauce and Spices (so scrummy!!), Sweet and Sour Pork/Fish (loads of flavour, go easy on the oil and vinegar and add pineapple), Spicy and Sour Green Bean Salad, (my new favourite way to eat green beans) and lastly, not for the faint-of-heart Water Chestnut Cake (gelatinous and unappealing to say the least, but hats off to those who gave it a crack!)

This culinary adventure was made all the sweeter by great friends, lots of laughs, perfectly in-tact fingers (despite many close calls !!)... and all washed down with Beijing's finest green tea, beer and's to you Nyree. I'm going to miss you girlfriend! "Go West!"

The beef and spices before being braised - so delicious

Love these ridiculously long beans

Trying not to burn my chillies - did not succeed!

Spicy and Sour Green Bean Salad
Margie focussing on her sauce
Chopsticks at the ready - used both as a stirring tool and to eat with
Sweet and Sour Pork served up by our wonderful teacher
work that wok!
Our beloved Nyree - farewell!
I'm going to share one of the recipes - it was so good!

Sweet and Sour Green Bean Salad


  • green bean 250g
  • dry chili few pieces
  • Salt  3/4 tsp.
  • Light soy sauce, 2 tsp.
  • Sugar 1/2 tsp
  • white vinegar 2tsp
  • dark aged vinegar 2tsp
  • sesame oil 1/2 tsp

1. Chop green bean into 6cm long sections. Put into boiling water, when water boils, cook for 1 minute. Take out, rinse with cold water, put in a bowl.
2. Put all seasoning onto the green beans.
3. Cut chili into sections, cook 2Tbsp oil in wok, when oil begins to smoke, turn off flame, put chili inside. Deep fry chili until turns to a light brown colour (this only took 10 sections or less for me - very quick!). Pour oil with chili onto green bean. 
4. Mix well and voila!