IN THE HEART OF LITTLE INDIA

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Photos by Jolene Loh. Wearing Pomelo Skirt and Topshop Heels.

If you’ve followed me for awhile now, you would know that I am obsessed with Little India in Singapore. India is undoubtedly one of my dream destinations, the culture baffles me and I love a good curry with naan. I’ve shot several times in different parts of Little India- it’s definitely one of the more livelier parts of town. I love the spirit and energy of the local people, a lot of whom are migrant workers who come for a taste of back home. Singapore’s Little India is probably the closest you can get to real India and although it is a Tamil-concentrated commercial zone, it is full of bright lights, scents and colours from different places of worship and and endless amount of local Singaporean hawker food. With Singapore constantly urbanising, I hope that Little India will never change and I hope that if you’re in Singapore, even if you’re a local, spend an afternoon or evening there and absorb the culture and flavours this little part of town has to offer. 

A DAY AT KEW

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In the spirit of summer, I thought I would share these images shot when Bryant and I visited Kew Gardens at the beginning of summer a few months ago. London was finally warming up and we decided to make the trip down, only to be welcomed by faulty trains and a horrible journey on replacement buses. Took us 2 hours from central London before we finally made it! We got there rather late so the £15 entry fee really didn't seem appetising at that point but it was nevertheless so beautiful. I loved the observatories and cactus gardens, and for the first time in months, probably broke abit of a sweat while I was there. It felt great and was a lovely afternoon well spent with my partner in crime. 

My advice if you're going down to Kew is to go early- make the £15 worth it, the garden is huge and there is so much to see but we sadly was there just 2 hours before closing time. The gardens are open daily throughout the year except during Christmas Eve and Christmas day, so it is the perfect escape from the hustle and bustle of the city. 

ENDLESS LAVENDER

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I made a trip to Mayfield Lavender Farm after months and months of waiting for lavender season to come back since chancing upon it last year. Iris and I found ourselves running through the endless field of lavender and unfortunately, freaking out about bees. We bought lavender home to dry and overall it has been one of my favourite summer weekends in London. I spent the weekend cooking and feasting on so much food with Iris and we danced and sang in the car en route to the farm with our driver, Bobby, who ended up going into the field with us to take our photos. The past couple of weeks have been great, I’ve finally learnt to let go and take each day as it is. I feel a lot healthier now mentally and emotionally. I try not to think too far ahead and take things as they come. It’s been full of surprises so far and I’m filled with gratitude by the end of each day. 

Mayfield Lavender Farm only opens a few months a year, Lavender season is slowly coming to an end so if you’re in London, you probably have about 3 weeks left to see this beauty for yourself! I highly recommend it, though it’s rather inconvenient to travel to. The farm is located at Croydon Lane, Banstead Surrey, SM7 3BE and is open daily from May 30th to September 20th. 

BEING HOME AGAIN

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So my two weeks in Singapore flew by way quicker than I ever could imagine and it was one of the most intense 2 weeks of my life. I didn’t realise how much I had missed being home and the convenience of it all allowed me to really go crazy. Drunken nights and not remembering how I got home the night before and just a genuinely good time all around with friends and family. I was exhausted but I absolutely loved being home on a ‘holiday’. But ‘home’ made me also realise how much I had taken for granted with all that I had and how much harder things are in London. Singapore is easily one of the safest places to live in and I know that I will be fine even if it means to being out and about at 4 in the morning. My time there was also mentally very straining because I was reminded a lot about the uncertainty I was facing, with every person I met, I was asked about the future and it wasn’t something that was avoidable. It was a very frustrating feeling- I wanted to talk about it to feel better but I also knew that there was nothing me or anyone could do to change my circumstances. The two weeks made me focus a lot on positivity and embracing the best out of everything that I got. I was nervous, there was a lot of fear about the future but things slowly got better when I made it a point to be the most positive version of myself and think the best out of everything. Coming back to London was another nightmare on it’s own and last week was one of the toughest weeks I’ve had to go through mentally but this city humbles you and it makes you work for the things you want and care about. Whatever matters is I’m back and I’ve never felt better.

The past couple of weeks made me realise one thing which really is the reason why I’m writing all of this in the first place- a friend of mine told me that at certain times in our lives we start to feel lost, and everything seems to just crumble apart no matter how hard we try to stay positive and look at the better side of things. But the thing is, the moment we let go and let God or any higher power you might believe in, take control, and take things one step at a time, you’ll realise that everything will eventually fall into place. It is very humbling not being able to be in control of your circumstances and your life. Being the sort of person who is used to being in charge, letting go taught me how much I needed to stop obsessing everything and simply allow life to happen. Trust God and really, go forth everyday

TILL TIME GOES FORWARD

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I’m back in Asia for a quickie after one of the best vacations of my life in Morocco and Amsterdam. Singapore is my home and even though it’s only been a few days, it’s already been a whirlwind of emotions. I’ve come to question a lot about my achievements in the past year and wondering if I’ve lost myself in the process of ‘keeping the dream alive’. It is no doubt the dream has always been London. I’ve come to a point where I’m risking everything to see how I can make it work. There is a lot of stake and I find myself realising how tired I am- tired of living, tired of uncertainty and trying to embrace it. I’m normally one to share experiences, how I’ve come out of it or sharing the process. Today, I’m just lost. 

I’m happy to be reunited with familiar faces and catch up but I also want nothing more but to lock myself indoors and hide from the world. It’s confusing. I don’t know how ready I am for my next steps but I am so determined that I am just diving right into it, no questions asked. Morocco’s landscapes were some of the most inspiring I had ever seen and I am determined to get creative again, maybe the work I will get myself into will change my perspectives and allow me to embrace this circumstance I am in and I’ll be able to make something worthwhile out of it. I need encouragement, motivation and very simply (and so badly) some kind of stability. I’d love to hear if you’ve ever felt this way and how you came out of it. For now, I’m going with the flow and taking baby steps, getting through each day.

Photos taken by my dad, it was fun going on road trips and food adventures again with him while making him to take my photos. It's what I do best. 

BLUE TOWN

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I made it to Chefchaouen last week and it was nothing but a dream come true. My entire time in Morocco has been a dream and I still feel the need to occasionally slap myself. Chefchaouen in particular was a surreal moment, I had come across the small town a couple of years ago in an article online and was so curious about it. An entire town painted blue. And to think that it is real. We drove what felt like forever from Fes with our guide, Ismail, and got to mingle with some locals, see them out and about their daily routines, mixing with tourists alike who were so mesmerized by the blue town. It was the perfect balance, away from the hustle and bustle we experienced in Marrakech. Although tourism has definitely made it's way there, it felt authentic. We heard the loud calls to prayers and rings made by locals which added to that experience and saw locals shopping for fresh produce at their daily market.

Chefchaouen is a magical little village perched just below the northeastern Rif mountains of Morocco. The powder blue accents and narrow lanes were beautiful and it just felt like such a mystery to me. In 1920, the Spanish seized the town in 1920 and in 1930, Jewish refugees painted the everything from white to blue. The blue is also said to make the town cooler and every spring, villagers apply a new coat of blue paint we we have learnt from Ismail.

Morocco was very daunting and overwhelming in the beginning. In Fes and Marrakech, we would get so lost in the Medina and the thousands of stalls in the souks. Chefchaouen was a lot more peaceful, cleaner and we felt a lot more secure. It is undoubtedly said to be one of the safest and cleanest parts of Morocco. I was lost for words and could not be more thankful to be able to finally see this place for myself. I wish I could have seen more, so another trip is definitely back in order, we were only there for a day trip but I would have loved to be able to stay some of the quaint little hotels and guest houses. This place is a must-see in everyone's lifetime and I am so glad to be able to share my experience here.

*Ps, we dined at Restaurante Tissemlal in Hotel Casa Hassan and it was one of the best meals I had during my time in Morocco. The beef tagine was to die for and so were the kebabs or brochettes as they call it in French.

MAKING MERRY IN MARRAKECH

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I'm currently writing from Marrakech and stoked to finally be here after dreaming about this place for so long. I'm keeping it short today as I am excited to share as much as possible about this adventure. I got here early this morning with my partner in crime, Bryant, who spontaneously decided to tag along. I am so so grateful to this guy or I wouldn't have survived my first day here by myself. The souks in Marrakech have been so breathtaking, I find myself noticing the most meticulous details in the most random knick-knacks here. They have everything from spices, carpets, silverware, pottery, the most amazing handmade slippers, jewellery....the list goes on. I am obsessed and beyond words at the beauty of it all despite the imperfections and rough edges you see walking past these pink little lanes. I just want to share the photos I shot today because I think I am going to end up with a major overload of photos... every corner is picturesque in it's own way I cannot stop snapping away.  Most of these were shot in the souks, which is what the city is mostly associated with. There are a dizzying number of stalls and an intricately connected maze that are full of surprises. The locals have been an interesting bunch. Those that were friendly were total sweethearts while some were completely turned off the moment they saw us carrying our big cameras. A large part of the Media felt like a tourist trap with locals insisting on giving directions for some dirham or dragging you into their stalls to take photos and make you pay for it/buy items. It was all part of the experience to say the least, I've come to embrace these little intricacies and look at things from a different perspective. There is so much beauty in all of this and some of the locals we've met have been the most hospitable human beings I have ever met. It's been a refreshing change from the cold in London. I love having the sun in my face and being smacked with humidity after so long. Can't wait to continue sharing this adventure with you guys. It's been radical and I cannot believe this is only the beginning.