DIY a Ladder Shoe Shelf

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A shoe shelf where you can display all your beloved shoes. What a dream for shoe-shopaholic! However, the function of a shoe shelf is what most stores and online websites emphasise. It is sad that those beautiful shoes cannot be displayed but be squeezed in separated spaces.

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In order to make my dream come true, I have searched for shoe shelf online for a while. For example,  google photo and Pinterest provide a lot of beautiful photos of shoe shelf. Finally, I found this:

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I love it! It seems easy to make. Just use a wooden ladder as tripod, and put several boards, done. To be sure of the method, I uploaded this photo on Google Photo to find the origin, and found the blog, a pair & a spare. This is the method:

Step 1: Find a wooden ladder

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Step 2: Find several boards

I bought these boards from here. They offer cutting for free.

The size for each board is 33×70、37×95、42×120、46×140、50×165(cm).

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Step 3: Build up and put your beautiful shoes. Done.

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Royal Ascot 2015

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Royal Ascot

Being in London or UK, there are always a lot of events to get involve in. In the earlier this year, my friend recommended me Royal Ascot. ‘My Russian friend asked me to join this event to show those exaggerating clothes and fascinators that she loves but seldom wears’, she said. After this conversation, I have added this website immediately to my bookmark and traced it if tickets are available. So, what is Royal Ascot though?

Based on the introduction of Royal Ascot, it is a most famous and valuable race event. As a race activity, it is about the prize, more than £5.5 million money! There are eighteen groups attended, even  including the Queen’s horse! She has attended every Royal Meeting during her reign and Royal Procession and their attending are always an iconic moment to herald the start of every raceday.

On the other hand, socialising and ‘runway’ are another icon in these five days. Although the dress code is differ from different ticket prices, anticipants enjoy dress up and attract audiences’ attention. There are three types of tickets: Silver Ring, Grandstand Admission, Royal Enclosure. Each price is different from days. Normally Silver Ring is between £27-35, Grandstand Admission is between £67-78. Since Royal Enclosure is limited to members of Ascot, I do not know the price for it. Dress code is different, too. Similarly, the dress code for Silver Ring is general, but no sports shirt. For Grandstand, ladies should wear a hat, headpiece, or fascinator; a dress in manner (which means no strapless or sheer strap), or a trouser with full length and with a top that adheres to the guidelines above. Gentlemen are require to wear a suit with a shirt and tie. As for Royal Enclosure, it is too complicated and detailed to notify. (check here) Each year, the meeting is broadcast on news and social media around the world.

2015 Royal Ascot Fashion

(Some of photos from Ascot Racecourse )

1. Attention-attracted

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2. Attention-attracted (in a good way)

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IOE Environment Navigation

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My First Impression of IOE

28 Sep 2014, the date I arrived at Heathrow airport, Russell Square station, and IOE, Institute of Education UCL. I remember I dragged my two luggages passing by this concrete building and did not feel this is the institute for education. Well, I thought it would be more traditional and classical, the building with ages, just like National Taiwan Normal University (NTNU), my university in Taiwan. They are all famous for education, but their environment are different. I am going to present their difference in the following.

Unlike schools in the US or Taiwan, universities or institutions of higher education in London are well known for less campus but several buildings of schools. IOE has a big building with front and back door, both of them has the name on it but with small door. The building is modern with industrialised design, constructed in concrete and glass. For me, being a graduate student particularly, it is satisfied to study in this environment. Since studying and doing research are the main purpose, campus is not that important. However, as a university with several active communities or extracurricular activities, having campus, or at least an outdoor plaza is important. IOE has indoor venues, as for the outdoor, I guess the plaza in front of the backdoor is big enough. In terms of NTNU, the campus begins from an arched door with the name of school. It is similar to most of universities in Taiwan, trying to create a magnificent and academic atmosphere. This style of front door is the same as UCL, both with guardhouse and driveway gate.  IMG_1346_Fotor_Collage

DSC03301_Fotor_CollageOnce you walk in IOE, the most frustrating design is levels. The ‘ground floor’ for most of buildings in the UK is the ‘fourth’ floor at IOE. It is struggling especially being a freshman here. I remember the location for orientation is on the ‘ground floor’, but actually, I went down three floors to the place. Except for that, the direction, leisure area, even portrays on walls are modernised. NTNU, on the other hand, is traditional. Trees may rooted outside of IOE, but with campus, they are along alley in school. Buildings in the university are combining the old Japanese and Chinese style. Strolling along the surroundings, you can feel the historical and traditional atmosphere of academy, but the freshness and silvery laughter of students.

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Comparing to other work environment, educational academy provides the simple and academic atmosphere that I have experienced so far. When I looked through these photos, I can remember the old and present days that I have been a student. Being a student is a special period of time in lifetime, no matter it is worth recall or not. For me, there are always memorable of every stages in schools. I guess that is the reason that I am satisfied being a secondary school teacher for working in this environment.

So…what is Taiwanese food?

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As a Taiwanese, local Taiwanese food is the most unforgettable cultural identity of most Taiwanese people. When I show my eager of Taiwanese food, I am asked frequently by friends in London, what is Taiwanese food? Is there different from Chinese food? Well, basically, being one of Chinese-speaking countries, Taiwanese food is included in Chinese food. However, it could be local and cultural characteristics which differ from other Chinese-speaking area. Today, I am going to introduce the most representative Taiwanese food, and restaurants where you can try these cuisines in London.

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1. Taiwanese Beef Noodle in Soup

Compared to stewed beef noodle in soup, Taiwanese style is cooked in red braised beef with spicy. Normally, it includes both meat and tendon just like it shows above. But for some reasons of food taboos, such as people who from traditional agricultural family or prepare for examination, restaurants also offer beef soup noodle which only includes noodle in broth but no beef.

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2.Xiaolongbao

Xianlongbao is a type of steamed bun which is identified with thin skin covering soup and pork with minced crab meat and roe. The most famous xianlongbao restaurant in Taiwan is Din Tai Fung, which is well known for the 18 folds wrapping. There are several branches in USA, Australia, and other Asian countries. Unfortunately, it has not expanded to Europe. Hopefully it will soon open its branch in London.

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3.Minced Pork Rice

Minced pork rice is a common cuisine in most of local restaurants. With the sauce, even basic rice can be delicious. Like most of Italians claimed their mother has the best recipe making pizza, most of Taiwanese family has their secret recipe of cooking the sauce with minced pork. Basically, the ingredients are minced pork mixed fat and lean meat, sliced red onion and garlic, crystal sugar, rice wine and soy sauce.

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4.Gua Bao

Gua Bao, or steamed sandwich, is a traditional street food in Taiwan. It made of pork belly with pickled mustard, cilantro, and ground peanuts in steamed bread. The most recent Gua Bao bar is located in SOHO called Bao London. The information is:

Bao London

Open Time: Mon-Sat 12-3pm, 5:30-10pm

Address: 53 Lexington Street Soho, W1F 9AS

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5.Taiwan Fried Chicken

Taiwan fried chicken is commonly seen in night markets and street snacks. It made of bite-sized pieces of chicken, coated and fried with flour and seasoning mixture. Mostly, the vendors who sell Taiwan fried chicken offer other choices, such as mushroom, cauliflower, sliced sweet potato, and turnip cake. The vendor looks like this:

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How to order at Taiwan fried chicken vendors? Firstly, take a small blanket to store your choices from ingredients they offer. Once you finish, pass the blanket to the servant and pay for it. They will fry what you picked and add basil in the pan to increase the flavour. In the end, they will ask if you would like spicy, such as paper or paprika, and load them up in food paper bag. All you need is use the attached bamboo sticks to enjoy this wonderful taste.

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6. Peal Milk Tea

Peal milk tea, or bubble tea, is the world famous Taiwanese drink. There are several bubble tea shops around Soho and China town. Even though Chatime has the most branches in UK, the most traditional taste of peal milk tea is from Sharetea based on my own experience. Here is the information:

Sharetea

Open Time: Mon-Sat 12-11pm, Sun 12-10pm

Address: 65 Shaftesbury Avenue, London, W1D 6LD

old-tree-daiwan-beeThe traditional Taiwanese restaurant in London – Old Tree

Old Tree, as the well-known Taiwanese restaurant, offers most of cuisines that I have mentioned above. If you would like to taste what Taiwanese food is, try these most famous and popular from the list.

Old Tree

Open Time: Mon-Sat 9:30am-10:30pm, Sun 9:30am-10pm

Address:

  • Piccadilly  26 Rupert Street, London, W1D 6DH
  • Sloane Square  Unit A2 Moore House, Grosvenor Waterside, Gatliff Road, London, SW1W 8QN
  • Golders Green  105 Golders Green Road, London, NW11 8HR

Dans Le Noir London

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The night gave me black eyes, but I use them to look for light.   (Gu Cheng)

If you have watched About Time, you will think of this incredible and hardly imagined place when Tim and Mary first met – Dans Le Noir – a restaurant where you can experience having dinner in completely dark.

Since it seems all customers have to share table there, Tim and Mary sat beside and meet each other for the first time. They introduced themselves, including their name, job, appearance, and their accompanies. They all happened in a completely dark scene, with only their whispers in noisy voice and softly melody. What a hardly imagined scene. Finally, I got a chance there yesterday.

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We made the reservation at 8:45 pm. The sky was not dark at all. When we arrived at the restaurant, the street in front of it is quite different from the one in the film. Once we stepped in Dans Le Noir, the hall is similar to the regular restaurant, with bar and few tables for customers drinking or resting. However, there is a row of lockers on the left side of the hall. We are informed to lock all our belongings here, including coats, purse, iPhones and any shining stuff. It is the best way to have food in a completely dark environment without any bothering belonging.

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The reception gave us a number card for our order and a menu. The main meals are separated in four colours and each of them represent different types. We ordered a surprise and a meat meal.

There is a aisle in the end of the lockers. The entrance of the dining area is blocked by curtains on the right side of the aisle. The staff took us to the entrance and introduce our servant today. Gower is a visually less ability. He asked us to put our right hand on each other’s shoulder one by one to our table. Thankfully, there is no step along the path.

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When I sat down, it dawned on me that I have no idea where I was and what I supposed to be. It is not the dark that when you close your eyes you can still sense lights. It is not the dark that you get used to in a cave and you can vaguely see stuffs. It is completely dark. If you think you have or may have claustrophobic, it is not a good idea to dine here. According to the manager of Dans Le Noir, at least one diner per week freaks out after two minutes and has to leave.

I felt lost when I sat on the chair. There was no difference when I opened or closed my eyes. If I would like to have a cup of water, I have to stretch my fingers along the table until I touch the glass. When Gower served me the main dish, I tried to use my fork to insert a morsel. Sometimes I thought I have done it, but actually there were plenty of empty fork in the mouth moments. I could not tell what I have eaten, how they were cooked. I could barely tell beef and lamb.

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There were few sketches of servants on the way to the toilet. Their smile in these paintings reminded me of the moment when Tim finally meets Mary outside of the restaurant. They all smile in a shy and implicitly way.

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If you would like to know the details of the menu, please keep scrolling down. However, if you may have go to Dans Le Noir by yourself, perhaps you should skip this and experience it personally.

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How Celebrities transform Chinese Culture by Dressing?

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Does it mean dressing ‘cheongsam’ is the only choice for 

Met Gala 2015?

The Met Gala 2015 was held view days ago. As a name of ‘Oscar of fashion’, no doubt that every celebrities tried their best to dress up at that night. Unfortunately, this year is China-themed: Through the Looking Glass, that means, as a major in Chinese Literature student, their dressing would be ridiculous sometimes. 

I did not follow Met Gala every year. If it does not concern about Chinese culture this year, I would not notice it, not to mention looking closely to everyone on this red carpet event. Since I was looking carefully on those photos, I found it is interesting that how they see Chinese culture and how they transform it in dress.  Most of celebrities are not Chinese, so do designers of their dress, which is the reason that I could tell their impression of Chinese culture. 

Now we are talking about a themed event, so the understand of the theme and how to express it is the most important. The theme is ‘Looking through Glass’, and it is the basis that the expression must related to such theme, which is what it look like looking through glass. I supposed even though some of the glass is clean enough that everything is clear through it, mostly, everything looked through glass is hazy and obscure. Moreover, if we look closely to the meaning of the theme in Mandarin, which is 鏡花水月. There are deeper meanings. If we translate this directly, it describes the flower in a mirror, or the moon in the water. As an idiom, it is metaphor to express something is too beautiful or dreamy to be true. Based on this meaning deeply, I have chosen a few looks that I thought expressing well.

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The best is Helen Mirren wore Dolce & Gabbana dress. First of all, red is always related to Chinese culture, especially in this cut of dress. According to the basis I have mentioned above, it met the standard definitely. Furthermore, the design of this dress is beautiful and elegant in paper-cutting art. In terms of paper-cutting, it is normal for traditional Chinese people using paper-cutting art to decorate their mirror or window. Being beautiful is the second part of the theme. The most important reason I chose her as the best dress is it is Helen Mirren wore it. In this photo, I can see ages on her does not remind me the old, but the beauty and the wisdom. Apparently, she is too beautiful to be true, so she deserved the  best dress that night.  

The following is Rachel Weisz in Chanel Couture. This dress is also beautiful that it looks like reflections of light on water wave. The only reason I did not choose her as the best is it met all the standard but there is no aging and wisdom in this photo. After all, aging in life is the most beautiful experience that people could not capture. And that is the true meaning of ‘looking through glass’. 

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Amazing Creation Products You Do Not Know from National Palace Museum Taiwan

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Creation products of museums are IN now.

Where is the most crowed area in a museum? Is it the place in front of Mona Lisa, Starry Night, Water Lilies, or Jadeite Cabbage? Perhaps not. There is a room that most visitors would not forget to go and take a look – gift shop. To be honest, I would not concern about this issue, until I found a box of salt and pepper shakers, which is from National Palace Museum Taiwan(NPMT), from the shop  of a cafe. Surprisingly, I never thought about this kind of creation products would be seen here, a place where far from NPMT, because mostly gifts from museums are no more than postcards, exhibition books and replicas. People only buy them when they visit museums or galleries. Additionally, this gift which out of museum reminds me a popular phenomenon of crazy for products from NPMT two years ago. IMG_0171In 2012, one day I found out my Facebook wall was full of this photo – paper tape in handwriting of Kangxi Emperor, which means ‘I (as a emperor) know’. The handwriting is from one of memorial exhibition of Emperors, who always need to read and reply documents from central and local officers. This is interesting that if someone own it, he or she can use it on documents or everywhere to make fun of being a emperor. 102620163

Paper Tape – Reflected Brush and Ink of Kangxi Emperor

Since this tape on sale, it immediately sold out  on official website and in gift shop. That is the reason why almost every friends of mine were posting this as a news that NPMT was going to pre-order at that time. That is amazing because I never seen a creation product could be that popular, especially out of the museum. Before that, the most popular gift was Jadeite Cabbage replicas, and visitors were only interested when they saw the collection and products related. This tape, however,  allows me to see the power of social media, and how to transform a historical relic to a modern culture creation. The former is the way that how most popular issues are created now. For example, I am quite sure that my friends on Facebook are not visiting NPMT more than once a year. Nevertheless, how do they (and I ) knew about this product in the situation that NPMT did not advertise at all? Through social media! We are now living in a world that people show and share through social media. Once people around find anything interesting, they post a photo of it on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram, and wish to cause discussion among friends, or even in public. That is the way I knew about this tape, not by visiting museum, but from Facebook. In 2012, NPMT gift shop has signed up a fan page for communication with fans of them. It is obviously clever for them choosing social media as a relatively free method to market their products rather than inject budget on advertising. 304503dc0f_o_Fotor_Collage

Paper Tape of several exhibition in National Palace Museum Taiwan

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Post Card: Imperial Edict & Confidential Letter

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Wine Cork

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Earphone Wrap

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iPhone Stand and Amplifier

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Neck Pillow – Drop-horse knot

The latter is in nowadays, not only in NPMT, but also in other museums around the world. Take Van Gogh Museum as an example. I am impressed of two products of them, one is sandwich bike, and the other is wall decoration. As you can see below, this is the bike that seems customers can build it themselves with arts of Van Gogh. Even though I am not a big fan of biking, it is impressing that this product is a combination of two national treasures of Netherlands – Van Gogh and cycling. In terms of wall decoration, it is a contemporary way to transform exhibition to life style. Whether you are a fan of Van Gogh or not, there are several art collection offering for customers to choose, and they even provide customised design. Now I can not wait to customised my own wall! IMG_0428

Sandwich Bike

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Wall Decoration