A few minutes before the clock struck 12 announcing the arrival of Christmas, the hubby started behaving strangely and asked me really weird questions. For the benefit of those who hadn't read the story on Instagram, I would recount and expand the story here:-
Kh: Deardear, you know what's Pandora or not?
Jo: Of course la. That overhype charm bracelet that so many girls like but I don't... Once you get one, you're opening a Pandora's box of the evils of spending money on charms for every occasion... A simple one can easily cost $400... How can you not know what's Pandora? You're so lucky I'm not into it...
I continued yakking away about how I'm not into the stupid Pandora craze and how I don't find their bracelets and charms to my liking at all.
Kh's expression changed from
as he heard me yak on.
Kh: But if somebody gives you a Pandora, you will still wear it, right?
Before I could answer, he took out a Pandora paper bag and wished me Merry Christmas.
My expression was
We seldom surprise each other because our surprises for each other would always fail. One of our habits for special occasions would be to dine at the restaurants which we want to check out and no surprise gift. Once in a blue or purple moon, we would yearn for something material and we would pay for each other's material wants as a gift. There was once when I bought the hubz a Ferragamo wallet for his birthday and he bought me a Ferragamo bag in return. He declared upfront, "That's your birthday gift, V-day gift, anniversary gift, Christmas gift and any other gift all combined for the year."
Hence, when I saw the Pandora paper bag, I was shell-shocked and kept repeating like a record that you wanna bash or that you have already bashed, "I thought we said no surprises?" He replied, "Yeah, and you just gave me a puny little stupid cat magnet which isn't even the picture I chose. What a surprise." (More on the magnet in another post)
When I posted the picture of my Pandora bracelet on Instagram and Facebook, Pandora fan girls were commenting on how beautiful it was and that the whole bracelet cost a bomb. Wooh, I'm impressed by these expert friends to be able estimate the price just from the photo. Even non-Pandora fan girls were also marvelling at how beautiful it was and that Kh had good taste. Some gals were impressed by Kh's surprise gift and advised me to be appreciative while some guys were sniggering at how Kh had succumbed to buying PANDORA-- an absolute curse which transforms their usually sane partners into patients of an asylum gone amok.
My opinion on the bracelet:
1. I honestly didn't quite like my initials on the bracelet in this manner.
2. I did not fancy the overly light-coloured pink glass beads which looked so uneven in size.
3. I thought the hearts charm (on the left of the left glass bead) looked like a Christmas bauble.
4. The "disco ball" could possibly look better in another colour.
5. I did not understand what that plethora of gingerbreadman-looking charm (on the right of the right glass bead) meant.
6. The only thing that I had no comments about was the box which could open and close. Ever since I was little, I've always loved ornaments and accessories that could open and close!
This WAS how my bracelet look like.
Not wanting to hurt kh's feelings, I asked him if he had chosen the charms to represent anything. I guessed the meaning of each charm together with him as he explained to me that he had spent a long time choosing the charms with a male sales assistant who gave him lots of guidance and advice.
2. He knew I like pink and also felt that this shade of pink was pleasing to his eyes.
3. The hearts obviously represents love.
4. The disco ball was recommended by the SA and he felt that transparent white complements the pink as all the "disco balls" in other colours (yellow, black) did not match at all.
5. "Then how about this family of gingerbreadman?" I quipped. "That is a human family! Not a gingerbreadman..." Kh replied rolling his eyes while scoffing.
6. "The box is the "cheapest" item of all since it is free. It is the Pandora Club charm and I have 2 of it." Kh proudly proclaimed. "Why do you have 2 free Pandora Club charms?" I queried. "Erm... because I spent certain amount and became a member instantly..." he replied haltingly. "WHAT?!" was my only exclamation.
Anyway, the gingerbread man also reminded me of the little paper villain 打小人.
The bracelet was too loose for me. Since it was heavy, I did not want it to slip too low down my hand. It felt a lot more comfortable sitting on my wrist. Hence before our Christmas dinner, we made a trip down to the nearest Pandora outlet to change it to the smallest size which affected how the charms looked. They were not symmetrical any more and that could not pass my mark. There are simply some things in life that need to be in symmetry.
It was a good chance to change some of the charms to fit everything symmetrically. Kh was fine with me changing the charms and he said that what is most important is that I had to wear something that I really liked. I changed the pink glass beads to purple and chose the most even-looking pair. (The SA explained that since these beads are hand-crafted, no two beads are similar and hence the discrepancy in size). Since the family charm reminded me so much of gingerbreadman or 打小人, I really could not live with it. I changed that and the hearts charm to a pair of purplish charms which complement the purple glass beads. Everything could fit into the space and looked symmetrical to my utter delight.
This bracelet is more like my style now and it is something I would wear and feel that it represents me. My hubz has made me an unwilling Pandora girl but the pretty charms would slowly grow on me and I couldn't be any more appreciative of my hubz' effort. I also almost choked when I found out how expensive the whole bracelet cost!
Guess how the silly hubby learnt about Pandora? He actually googled "Christmas present for wife" and Google auto completed it for him with 2014 and 2013. He stumbled upon sites that listed 7 out of 10 items from Pandora and another with 8 out of 15 items from Pandora. He wondered what the blue turtle Pandora was all about, did some googling and sank into the slippery abyss of Pandora that very day.
And that concludes the story of The Silly Hubby And The Unwilling Pandora Girl. On to dinner...
We had brunch with kh's family at Alkaff Mansion Ristorante before and had always wanted to try their dinner. Since kh is crazy over Italian cuisine (and almost all other cuisines coz he's really a pig), we made a reservation there for Christmas dinner.
I love the central glass feature that's reminiscent of a jewel-cube enclosure.
Our table setting looked plain. I very much love those alternating tables with Christmas flowers and decorations.
So really, this photo is to secretly snap the couple behind coz the lady was speaking in a really heavy and somewhat unnatural accent that we couldn't help wondering why we kept hearing her voice without being able to catch any whiff of the man's voice. Must be the tone.
We opted for the Christmas set instead of the buffet, the latter having a lot more variety of food.
My favourite kind of bread is those served warm and with olive oil and vinegar. Yummy!
Fresh oysters! Slurp!
~Scallop Carpaccio with Cognac Pineapple, Fresh Figs and Black Sesame Caviar with Black Truffle~
I love anything Carpaccio with tangy sauce or fruits and this is my favourite dish of the evening.
~Classic Italian Tortellini with Red Radish and Fresh Prawns, served in Pumpkin Cream with Stracchino Cheese and Toasted Hazelnuts~
I personally didn't like this. The tortellini reminded me of Chinese wanton but with very thick skin. I also did not quite fancy a sweet pumpkin cream to pair with the blend tortellini.
~Beef Tenderloin with Grilled Polenta, Porcini Mushrooms, Crispy Foie Gras and Asparagus Souffle served with Shaved Truffle~
Kh loved this dish but for me, there were too many types of textures and flavours going on in this dish. Yup, I know I dislike eating anything with too much of the same mushy texture but this was simply an amalgamation of textures and flavours that teased my palates a step too far.
The beef was a delight on the first few bites and then I couldn't stand how tender it was. I always love my steak to be a little bit more chewy.
The Foie Gras was done the way I liked-- springy on the surface, creamy velvety smooth on the inside.
The Polenta was creamy and not outstanding. Prior to googling, I didn't know what it was.
The mushrooms on top of the Polenta were much too tasty. The saltiness veiled an underlying bitterness of the mushroom. I did not know if I should gripe about it being too salty or that it failed to mask the bitterness despite being, well, too salty. It had a slight rubbery feel against my teeth too.
The asparagus soufflé was interesting. It tasted good but I soon got tired of the airy and light texture.
~Saffron Snow Mousse -- White Chocolate Fudge with Saffron Filling served with Butterscotch Sauce~
Presentation of this dessert is adorable. A mini white Christmas tree! I love chocolate but I do not exactly like white chocolate. So it isn't really the fault of this dish but just my personal preference. White chocolate to me is synonymous to "overly sweet", "too milky" and "not real chocolate". We managed to finish everything but the last disc which was stuck to the plate. After that, I craved for more savoury food but that was the last dish of the Christmas set.
Alkaff Mansion did not wow me on my first visit but I would love to give their normal dinner menu a try as I've read so many wonderful reviews about this place.
We would be back again at Alkaff to check out the normal dinner menu.
There was a Christmas lucky draw whereby one lucky winner could walk away with a Bottega Veneta bag. When somebody announced over the sound system that the draw would be commencing soon, classy diners all morphed into rowdy mob as half of the patrons had no clue of the lucky draw and hadn't filled up any slip. I was exaggerating when I described ourselves as rowdy mob; I actually loved the unanimous protests from the floor and the camaraderie that we shared. Very soon, everyone was raising their hands for the waiters to deliver them the lucky draw slips.
A shot with the Christmas tree... just to show that it was a Christmas dinner. =/
Outfit of the day:
♥ No label Monochrome 2-piece dress (belt provided)
♥ Imported booties from Japan
♥ Louis Vuitton Totally MM
♥ Accessories: Ling Jewellery necklace, Solvil et Titus watch, Pandora bracelet, Ling Jewellery wedding band, Tiffany 1837™ ring
Since I opened this post with a bimbo topic on Pandora, let me close this post with a bimbo topic on my new shoes. Ok, bimbo topic... fashion topic... they are the same to me. :D I was searching for a pair of black boots for my Hanoi Trip warm enough for the light winter there, yet fashionable enough to match all my outfits and strut around the streets in them. I was delighted when I stumbled upon this pair of shoes at a nondescript shop. The outside screams chic and stylish while the insides are slightly heeled with a soft buttery feel. They were really comfortable! $178 is certainly a reasonable price to part with for a pair of Japan-imported leather booties and with only a limited number made. This was the only pair in my size.
I hadn't noticed till my sis pointed out that the soles are interesting. It had the imprint of a keyboard! How cool is that? I can't wait to make wet prints with these shoes!
The sales assistant told me that ex-SBC actress Chen Xiuhuan also bought a pair for herself and her daughter. Upon wearing them to Korea, the shoes caught her friend's eye who also patronized the shop thereafter and bought a pair. I used to love Chen Xiuhuan when I was in primary school and it was such cheap thrill to know that I own the same pair of shoes as her! Hahaha... And wow, when I googled, I realised that she would be 50 years old this year! Back to the main topic of shoes, do you like my shoes? I love them so!
I'm left with just one more post to end the whole Christmas 2014 series and that's the gathering which I was looking forward to during the whole Christmas season coz we never had a full attendance of 4 for a looooooong time.
Just a side note too, I've some inspiration for a new post that isn't quite like my photo-story style of diary entries. Well, it has gotta do with achieving longer slimmer legs the fake way coz as you know, my slim legs have started becoming stumpier and stumpier over the years. Besides getting a really good angle that creates the illusion of longer slimmer legs, I recently learnt a cheater-bug method which I've applied on this post. Stay tuned for it!
[All photos in this post were taken using iPhone 6]