I love Aussie Bill!!!

My Dad aka Aussie Bill is amazing! With no stomach at all due to stomach cancer several years ago, Dad still adores food; eating it and cooking it and it is because of him that I inherited my love of food and adoration of the finer things in life. Dad lives in China and the minute he gets off the plane from Hong Kong, he heads straight for the nearest shop that sells pies as meat pies are one of his weaknesses. Food is always on Dad’s mind. Whether it is first thing in the morning or a midnight snack, I know he is always thinking about what to eat next! For much of his life Dad was in the catering business refining his culinary skills and defining the art of being a Chinese chef. For much of my childhood I used to think Dad was a magician as he could whip up meals in seconds.

In Sydney for Christmas, Dad loves eating homemade Christmas cake and custard. He loves his ham, nibbles on cheese, gorges on succulent turkey and has lashings of gravy.

And tonight the magician and his magic returned. Despite the piles of leftovers in the fridge from yesterday’s festive feast, he always knows what the family favorites are and what makes my sisters and I smile. Chinese food, the real stuff. The home cooked food that you can’t order in a restaurant yet takes minutes to make. I’ve seen him do this magic show plenty of times and tonight’s show did not disappoint. There was fresh ingredient fanfare. There was the cloak and dagger surprises and of course there was the staple rabbit out of the hat moment when dinner was ready in a flash leaving us all oohing and ahhing in amazement. Tonight Dad weaved his magic with prawns, pork mince, egg, barbecue pork, shallots, bean sprouts, snapper, sweet corn and chicken soup and duck. I left the table tonight thankful I was wearing elastic around the waist and even in more adoration of the magic of my Dad.

I love the real thing

And no, this is not about coca-cola which is a like but not a love.

Yesterday’s post threw me into a thought frenzy as I received some comments from friends asking if me if you can buy Christian Louboutin shoes online. The answer is yes, you can but the cautiousness in me always asks “Are they the real thing”?

Not long ago, I was in Hong Kong and was wandering through the must-go-everytime-I-visit Harbour City (Kowloon side for 700+ shops to tickle your tastebuds and tempt your mastercard with). Harbour City is one of those shopping malls that you just don’t get in Oz, no offence Mr Westfield but it is an endless maze of super-brand stores; big and small ones, unique HK cult-brands, Joyce (the iconic HK department store), quirky Chinese bakeries, gold-gilded restaurants serving endless banquets and salivating Shanghainese dumpling joints and bottom line is, it just doesn’t compare to or come close to BJ, the Chase, Chadstone or Indro.

While wandering aimlessly through the mall, arms already laden with goods (of course), I suddenly came face to face with the superstore Manolo Blahnik. I didn’t even have to walk into the store to spot the shoes I wanted yesterday. As I walked in and went straight for the blue shoes with little square jeweled piece made famous in the SATC movie because Big proposed to Carrie with one (yes, you know the ones I am talking about), I had to refrain myself from doing a little “oh my god” dance, I was that excited. Again, it just wasn’t meant to be as they didn’t end up having my size but I left the store thinking to myself “I must hunt those shoes down!”

At home in front of my laptop, I googled blue manolo blahnik and up came an array of results. I clicked through to an ebay link and saved that search. I looked at Neiman Marcus and net-a-porter.com and even had a girlfriend say she would have a look for me as she was off to the U.S. in a couple of months and could bring them back. I seriously contemplated the ebay link and found that they were not only in electric blue but also in black and hot pink. The ebay buy it now options were averaging around the $270 mark and it was at that moment that I stopped my hunter mindset and week-long obsession since I had landed from Honkers to realise that these shoes on ebay were not the real thing but had to be fake. I had seen the price tag of the shoes in the Manolo Blahnik store and had silently gasped at the $890 price (actually I almost had a coronary from the HK dollar price which was something like HKD$5,340 before realising I needed to convert to Aussie dollar first) so these $270 ones must not be the real thing. And so my hunt halted.

I have plenty of girlfriends who love the real thing and only buy the real thing. On the other hand I also have plenty of girlfriends who have bags and sunnies that look like the real thing, feel like the real thing but they then tell me over lunch how much of a bargain it was and they have more of where that came from! Girlfriends from both camps are very stylish people nonetheless and the thing that’s hard is that sometimes it is so difficult to the naked eye to really tell a fake from the real thing without opening the zipper and peering inside. I myself have a mantra that if I can’t afford the real thing, I don’t buy it. That’s not to say that I have never bought a fake but after buying a tan Mulberry satchel from a pokey little store in Phuket only to have the handles fall off two months later, it’s just something that I choose not to do anymore.

So yes, you can buy Christian Louboutin shoes online. But I would trust Nieman Marcus before I would trust a site like this but that’s just me.

Buying a fake is an accepted social practice but then it also can be a bit of a taboo and the reality is that not everyone can afford the real thing but that’s what makes them so special and described as jewels.

I have put a poll up today on my blog in light of this post as I would really like to hear from you on what you feel is important? I look forward to hearing your thoughts…

Christian Louboutin; my bittersweet moment

I love Christian Louboutin.

Now this could be taken as a misconstrued statement of sorts especially as  I will be saying “I do” in 20 days.

Maybe I should re-phrase in saying I love Christian Louboutin shoes and I am not in love with the actual wonder-man from Paris who designs these shoes. I love the detail of his shoes whether it be the fanciful bows or the explosion of feathers or the sexy leopard prints which make me pick one up and drool. I love the line and shape of the heel. And most of all, I love the glimpse of the red sole and how boldly it defines the shoe amongst others and love love love the history behind it as Christian painted the sole with his assistant’s red nail polish just because at that moment, something was missing! And is it just me or when you look at the branding of Louboutin on his website; does the twinkle remind you of Bewitched as  quite literally that is the effect that these shoes have on me!

I went to Paris (another love) last August and dragged my man to 68 Rue du Faubourg Street, Honore 75008 in search of his boutique. When we discovered the store, we or probably I took a deep breath and then walked inside and in that first second I honestly felt like a child in a candy store and I believe this feeling of shoe-awe was shared by my man. This boutique is very boudoir-like with large, plush round ottomans, thick padded carpet, high dramatic ceilings, floor to ceiling mirrors, a central spiral staircase leading up to more shoe heaven and of course walls of the shoes. Christian Louboutin has described his shoes to be “like sculpture, objects, jewels” and it was with this in mind that I picked up each shoe with the utmost tender loving care. After exploring every centimetre of the boutique I finally settled on two pairs that I wanted to try on; an electric blue suede pair of round-toe heels and a pair of black satin peep-toe sling-backs with a demure bow. The reflection of me in the mirror wearing the electric blue pair made my calves curve in the right place and they were the type of shoe that I felt could stop traffic if I walked out onto the highway in them. And unfortunately the black satin bow ones were not to be as I heard the dreading “We do not have them in your size”; however this was not to be the bittersweet moment as that was to take place a couple of weeks later walking around Knightsbridge, London.

For whatever reason in Paris, I did not purchase the electric blue shoes and I felt safe in this choice because I knew that I would have a second chance to find and secure my first pair of Christian Louboutins in London. I sought out the address of 23 Motcomb Street, London SWIX8LB and found it fitted in tremendously well with the day’s plans as it was around the corner from Harrods and was an area I thought I knew well. Motcomb Street turned out to be a very tricky street to find as it did a loop on itself and I think it may have had something to do with the bewitching air that had me walking in circles! However, I glimpsed what I thought was the store up ahead as I could just make out the shape of the heels in the window and as I got closer and closer I started to make out bars across the windows. Not yet close enough, my initial thoughts was that this was a ground-breaking visual merchandising showcase but as I got to two metres away and realised that the boutique was just a little too dark for 1pm and the bars were actually a security measure, it dawned on me that I would not be taking home a pair of Christian Louboutins this trip and that despite finding the address on his website, I had failed to notice the extra detail below of the boutique’s opening times in that it was not open on Sundays. Bittersweet.

The range in Australia is not great and at the very least is quite basic. We have not yet been blessed with one of his boudoir-boutiques so instead of settling for a pair which would find me walking home with the shoes in a black and white houndstooth bag I wait in anticipation for my next adventure to Paris, Hong Kong or Geneva where I can take another deep breath and find the perfect pair.

It was a bittersweet moment on Motcomb Street when it dawned on me that Sunday 13 September was not going to be the day when I bought a pair of Christian Louboutins however I wait patiently in awe and admire from afar the most exquisite jewels that will be mine to own one day.