As you may have guessed, I love this time of year. Just enough days have ticked past since my last bout of over indulgence – Christmas – and now it’s time for a bit more, mainly in the form of pineapple tarts.
We have family out here so the first day (Sunday 11th February this year) is pretty packed with visits to relatives. Each person you visit feeds you, before commenting that you seem to have put on a bit of weight (I’ve actually taken up running in anticipation of this serious onslaught of food).
Decorations – as well as food – are one of the things I particularly love about CNY.
I’m storing a whole bunch of things at a very kind aunt’s house just around the corner from us: books I don’t have any more room for, my fake-but-looks-quite-real Christmas tree and other outsized/hardly used bits and pieces – including, yes, my Chinese New Year decs.
I’ve collected them over the years and they include two beautiful antique jade carved disks bought from the Jade Market in HK, lanterns from my favourite (and everyone else’s favourite) lantern shop in the Hong Lim complex (here in Sing) as well as an eclectic, much loved selection of other things I usually hang off willow branches.
However, *huge fail* this year they are all firmly wedged at the very bottom of my huge pile of stuff and I’m too lazy to rejig everything in order to reach them; I started sweating just thinking about it.
So I made a quick dash to Waterloo Street yesterday evening to stock up on a few things I can hang off my Ikea willow plant (I actually think the cut sticks of willow – below in blue bucket – are much better than what I’ve bought this year, as the water you add to a living plant makes it bloom and I’m not sure it looks as nice).
Waterloo Street is much less stressful than fighting your way through a packed Chinatown – yet, unlike B2 of Taka, it’s still very authentic and buzzy.
I discovered this seasonal street market by chance last year when I came here for a meeting with the very patient and lovely Inspireo Media who helped me with all the technical stuff involved in having a website (their offices are on Waterloo Street). This market also has the added benefit of being pedestrianised so it’s a nice, safe place to bring small people to.
Lots of kitsch fabulousness was on display at the stalls yesterday as well as a few tasteful goodies, providing you look hard enough.
I know you are meant to buy things in pairs for the ultimate ushering in of wealth (that’s where I’ve been going wrong!) but I think it’s so much more stylish and fun to dress drooping branches of willow with mismatched trinkets (just like my Christmas tree, where no identical decorations are allowed).
Perhaps I’m slightly missing the symbolic point of it all, but it’s still good fun to do.
And here’s our effort in all its glory:
My favourite new kids on the block, bought yesterday, include this embroidered butterfly as well as a golden dragon (and yes, before you ask, it was half price as it’s last years animal…I think they were hoping I wouldn’t notice!).