Week 2: Tuesday (The Pemberley Dream)

My English Dream Trip has been thus far glorious in so many ways, not least in the sheer number of iconic and coveted (in my mind) places I’ve seen, heard, touched, smelled, tasted, and breathed in over the last fortnight. But today was exceptionally special and magical, because I finally turned into reality a very old dream I’ve dreamt, doubtlessly shared by dreamers across the world. This particular dream was felt dreamt (though I was non-the-wiser at the time) in 2004, when my 16-year-old self was first introduced to BBC’s 1995 Pride and Prejudice, with Colin Firth as Mr Darcy. Undoubtedly, when the episode first aired almost a decade earlier, the same dream asserted its place in countless hearts, which remained helpless to the lure of a single wet shirt. I was similarly captivated, and it could very well be said that the series was a contributing factor to my love of literature, English history and culture, and the nineteenth century. Without watching Pride and Prejudice, I probably wouldn’t have read Jane Austen relatively early in my life; and without Jane Austen, I wouldn’t have written Regency Love, or pursued an MA in Romantic and Victorian Literary Studies, or comelettes a PhD in Shakespeare studies on a scholarship.

In short, without the BBC’s Pride and Prejudice, I would have had a completely different life.

And even back in my teenage years, I discovered that the real-life estate is called Lyme Park, and that it was in England. But that was that–my untraveled, Chinese-Australian fangirl mind didn’t have the capacity or opportunity to know any more.

Except that I wanted a Pemberley cake for my 21st birthday. Of that, I was fairly certain.

Yup, that was my birthday cake.

Yup, that was my birthday cake.

Ah, the days of my youth!

Ah, the days of my youth!

Today, however, the dream became real. No longer the soft, sweet dream I could only dream, but the solid, somewhat wet reality of the ground beneath my feet and the stunning sight before my eyes.

It rained. I didn't care.

It rained. I didn’t care.

Continue reading

Cupcakes and cravats

One of my current (and possibly most long-standing) projects is Regency Love, an interactive novel/skill-based role-playing game set in Jane Austen’s time, available for iOS (iPhone/iPad/iPod touch). I’m the game’s lead writer (perhaps a wee misnomer, since I’m also the only writer XD), and I started the indie game-dev company with two amazing ladies (Jenny and Melody) back in April 2011, a few months before I left for the UK. Although we did our initial brain-storming in person at Mel’s place (our HQ!), helped along by lots of delicious food (primarily provided by Mel), most of the collaborative work happened while I was overseas. I was previously in Sydney last September, and since then, we’ve completed and launched Regency Love 2.0, which, among other shinies, contains a full story arc for a gentleman named Mr Graham.

Here's the app's current title page! You mind find a surprise with the next update. ;)

Here’s the app’s current title page! You mind find a surprise with the next update. ;)

We wanted to do something to celebrate the release, and, being rather food-minded, we wanted the celebration to be nomtastic. As a bit of a cake glutton, I suggested gentlemen-themed cupcakes for the evening, and threw a few suggestions at Mel. Ever so obliging, Mel agreed to turn her kitchen into a mini bakery for a portion of the evening, and we decided to meet as soon as I was done with my crazy lazy lunch at Sepia.

I was a touch more bubbly than usual, and practically glomped Mel upon arrival–understandable, I’d hope, since I’d not seen my lovely co-conspirator for over a year. (The 10 glasses of wine may have helped.) Mel had a shopping list prepared, so we hit the local supermarket, and I did a very good job of carrying the basket and achieving my weekly arm exercise.

We’d also received our first bit of fan present, in the form of chocolates (yay!). Mmm, chocolate…

Our first fan chocolate! Note my dark green nail polish, subtly stating my unending devotion to Mr Curtis.

Our first fan chocolate! Note my dark green nail polish, subtly stating my unending devotion to Mr Curtis.

These were dark chocolate Kit Kats with rose petals, chocolate brownie bits, and caramelised meringue.

These were dark chocolate Kit Kats with rose petals, chocolate brownie bits, and caramelised meringue.

Continue reading