It’s my brother’s birthday tomorrow, and although I’m 110% certain he has no idea this website exists, here’s a birthday shout-out to you, dà zhū. That’s mandarin (pinyin, for the anally retentive amongst us) for big pig, because ever since I was a bub, and probably because I was such an obscenely fat baby (yep, your regular run of the mill two-foot tall michelin man), he’s called me xiǎo zhū. For those of you playing at home, yes the answer is A. little pig. And being the genius of the family, we really should have listened to the prophecies of this little boy, because really, now at five-feet tall and eating my way around the globe, I think I can still be batched, labelled and categorised pretty accurately as xiǎo zhū.
Anyway, my brother lives in North Queensland, land of the sunburnt Euro-tourist (oh yes, the Australian sun really burns and yes I understand that there is just so much reef and sand and water to play in but puh-lease! Just put that sunblock on!), and more importantly, home of my most favourite fruit in the whole world – mango. Like you couldn’t tell it was my favourite fruit. This blog has about five posts so far and five-and-a-half of these posts are about mango.
It’s true what they say about not knowing what you have until you lose it. Growing up in Queensland, mango trees were in abundance and we didn’t even plant them for the mangoes! We planted them in our front yard, in our back yard, and along the side of the house if there was space, so that we could reap its leafy benefits and block out the harsh Australian rays. Mangoes used to grow, ripen and fall to the ground (much to the pleasure of god-knows-what animals that were scurrying around), but we really didn’t care. Dad would make his weekend trip to the farmers market and come back with a box of two dozen perfectly ripened mangoes, the whole box for not a cent over $5.
And then I moved to London. No mangoes. No sunshine. Wait I lie. There are mangoes – pre-cut, pre-packaged, and if you told me they were actually pale yellow pieces of radish? I would totally believe you, cos they taste about the same. Anyway, the English winter took its toll not only on my lack-of-tan (and everyone says to me but you’re Asian, you’re naturally tanned! Uh, nuh-uh, honey. There is nothing worse than a pasty Asian person) and my lack-of-mango, but I now own a pair of dry, chapped lips. Thank goodness I have a boyfriend. I’m pretty sure he’s contractually bound to kiss me, chapped lips or not.
In my search for a good lip balm, I discovered Blistex daily lip conditioner, which is a great garden-variety, supermarket brand. I was quite happily using this until a friend suggested I try Kiehl’s products and wow, just like that, I am head-over-heels besotted with this: Kiehl’s Scented Lip Balm.. in mango! I have to say, I don’t normally buy flavoured beauty products, because there is nothing worse than feeling like you have a sticky mango (as much as I love thee!) smeared across your face. But I tried this lip balm, and not only is it not intrusively fragrant (it has the lightest taste of mango, which fades as the balm is absorbed), it actually absorbs, lasts for hours, and doesn’t leave a layer of oily residue on your lips (which we all know, come 6pm in the evening and time to impress at drinks, white gunk around your mouth is not a number one card for attracting the opposite sex). I’m in love.
Now that I have the lip balm, and did you know mango season is nigh (did you know England actually has a mango season?), all I need is my tan, and I plan to put copious amounts of work into this in Tunisia this weekend!