A HOME IN A BEDROOM

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Since being in London, I've been renting a little room in the East, not far off Victoria Park. I absolutely love it here. It might be just a room but it really does feel like my own space, something I've been needing for a long time. With a lot of the people I've met, because room rentals are usually short term, they usually don't do much to make it their own. I beg to differ otherwise, but I guess maybe it's also because I am here for a good amount of time. Anyhow, I just thought I would share how my made my bedroom become my home.
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My room came with just the bed, the wardrobe and chest of drawers at the back, together with a little couch. I chose this space because I absolutely loved the brick (unfunctional) fireplace and the light that came through the front of the house. The furniture is not the best but there wasn't much I could do about it. It was good storage so I appreciated the convenience. 

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1. The first thing you see when you walk into the room is of course the brick fireplace. It was just the plain brick wall so I got a mirror to hang on it. This one from Ikea did the trick as it was cheap and looked pleasing with the rest of the room. I also sometimes put flowers by the fireplace, It's nice waking up to fresh blooms every now and then!

2. A coat hanger is not only such a convenient piece of furniture to have but I love how homey it made my room feel. It's realistic because hey, I actually sleep here. So I like that I can be messy with it while at the same time, how it makes the whole room feel very comfortable.

3. I got some sheepskin rugs to lay over this boring plain couch, and also the carpet on the floor. I love being able to sit on the couch to get work done, or sometimes even on the carpet while having a meal. A carpet is great for comfort and it makes any space immediately feel like a home.

4. My dressing area is my favourite part of the room. Over here, I have all my stuff I use for getting ready like my make up, jewellery and perfume. Eucalyptus is my favourite plant because it doesn't need any kind of maintenance. It dries up well on it's own and makes the room smell so good.

5. My bedside table is constantly in a mess! But I love having little details that make me feel happy like my favourite candles, my journal that I write in a lot, and my favourite lamp which my aunt surprised me with by bringing it over when she came to visit. It's marble so imagine how heavy it is! The Peep n' Press frame was a gift from Natalie before I came over, I love such personalised gifts and can't believe she drew it so well and with such meticulous detail.

6. Just beside my bed, I have a little collage I made from some of my favourite magazine tear outs and bits and pieces from memories I have made here in London. I wish I had more stuff from back home in Singapore but I did not bring them over because I really came with so much luggage, it wasn't so much my priority.

I think with any space, making it a home is just about comfort and how you'd like it. I've always loved slightly bohemian-looking interiors so I had the carpet and the sheepskin rugs. It really is just like dressing up so I see it as a huge part of myself that I can express within a space. Hope you enjoyed this mini room tour! One day maybe it will be my own flat but time will only tell! I just got back from Iceland and have so many images I can't wait to share.

Photos of myself by Mikko Puttonen.

WILD GARLIC FORAGING

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I had the best day today. It was simple but it made me very, very content. Since being here in London, I've been absorbed by school and trying to make the best out of my time here. And it's made me learn a lot along the way but I haven't been this content for a long time, or maybe if I ever felt this feeling before. But today was something different.

 I finally met Shu. Her passion towards food, and where it comes from while sharing it is admirable. And while I've had very good days in London, aimlessly roaming around the city with friends, stressing over which restaurant we should next dine at or just simply enjoying me time, today really warmed my heart. She had invited me to join her and her friend, Sean, to go foraging for wild garlic in Hampstead. I had zero clue about anything. I just knew that this lady loved to cook, and she is amazing at what she does and have done and that I wanted to meet her. I didn't even know what wild garlic was. Turns out it's a leaf. Looks like nothing close to an actual garlic but you bite into it and magic happens. IT IS GARLIC. I am so amused.

I really wanted to pursue cooking this year. Not professionally, but I was considering seeking food-related opportunities like styling and photographing. I've always loved food. I'm passionate about it but in a different, more simple way compared to how Shu sees it. So it's true - I know nothing about food. I can make my friends very happy by feeding them but we all know I don't know anything about where it comes from and how if it was ethically sourced. So I wanted to try to learn more about food this year. Nope, haven't actually gotten around to it yet. I can't say I've been having the best meals in my life since being here either.

But what I experienced today was finding peace and contentment in the simplest of things. I don't know how foraging in the forest and getting my sneakers all muddy makes me so happy but it did. Great company which then proceeded on to cooking and talking, a bit of learning. Today I sat back, simply documented, helped a little along the way but what I did was watch and let it all in. It felt good to be in a kitchen again, even though I'm in mine a lot. Seeing how much life has taken over it was comforting and I knew that whatever that was going to come out of this kitchen was going to be pretty damn good. Sean and Shu both belong to an admirable bunch, all who are passionate about taste and getting people to eat right. But that's not all. In fact, I never really know what they're capable of except that I will probably love it. The food they made today was simple and down to earth but it was one of the best meals I had in the past 2 months. It filled me up and I can't promise I won't be asking for more. Thanks for the great adventure. 

*Ps- Wild Garlic is a relative to the garlic and chives family tree. The smell is overwhelming at first, just like an actual garlic but once you cook it you realise it is a lot lighter. And that it is delicious. She tossed it over some stir fried vermicelli today and also recommends that it can be used in pasta or made into pesto. Mhmm. Delicious!

SPRING IN SOUTH KENSINGTON ON A PERFECT DAY

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Photos by Bryant Lee

These days I find myself having to justify my love for standing in front of a camera taking pretty photos with words. A lot of them. I think that it's important to do everything with a purpose and yes, I do believe some of what I've posted have made some kind of an impact to someone (Thank you if you emailed, messaged me or left comments! I love being your friend so keep them coming). But today, I think I just want to share some photos from last weekend spent in South Kensington. The thing I love about this posh neighbourhood is it simply is so beautiful to get lost in and never really know what you're gonna find. I truly would die to live in some of the beautiful homes I've past. One more thing to add to the bucket list! Anybody need a cat sitter in South Ken?

I've posted about how I would spend a perfect day in London here. But we all know there are countless of ways to do that. So here's another one. So if you happen to be in central London, do brunch (only on Sundays) or lunch at The Modern Pantry in Clerkenwell. I recommend the beef rending toast, the prawn omelette and the scallops. Lovely interiors, excellent service and even better food. One of the places I would definitely come back to for a good brunch. Then, what better to do than to window shop at the lovely boutiques at South Kensington and get lost in the small neighbourhoods in the area? That's if you don't mind travelling, Modern Pantry is about 20 minutes by tube to South Ken.

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It may be just an omelette, and coming from someone who doesn't like to pay for eggs in a restaurant, it was a damn good omelette. Perfectly cooked. It was my second time having it and it still hit the spot! Service at the restaurant is excellent like I mentioned but rather slow so don't head to this place if you're in a rush. But personally, I loved that I was able to enjoy a lovely Sunday afternoon over great food and conversation with a dear friend. 

The Modern Pantry is located at 47-48 Saint John's Square, Clerkenwell, London EC1V 4JJ 

*Ps, my fingers are itching for something fun to do. I may be miles away from home but so many asked about this top I'm wearing after posting a photo on Instagram. I am thinking of bringing it into the store again! Along with some other stuff you may or may not have caught here and there. It's been awhile but I would love to update shopmissingavenue again soon. Let me know what you guys think!

TEMPLE OF DAWN IN THE HEART OF THE CITY


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It's almost Spring here in London! I'm thrilled about it and it brings a big grin to my face whenever I pass a blooming tree or bush, like I am ecstatic and life suddenly feels full of joy and happiness again. I'm weird. But they say that is what the gloom in London does to you. To be honest, I haven't even felt the gloom that much here, so it's easy to say I've been very comfortable and very, happy. I miss the heat! I can't remember the last time I was sweating the shit out of myself apart from going through thousands of market stalls in Chatuchak Market in Bangkok. Or enjoying a hot bowl of Pork Ribs Soup for breakfast in a stuffy hawker centre in Singapore. It feels like it's been too long, and yet, I don't want to go home, unless it is for a holiday. My fondest memories holidaying in Asia usually come from time spent in Bangkok. So I thought since I have some backlog of photos from my time there last December, I'll share this set from the time I visited Wat Arun, the Temple of Dawn.

I think for many Singaporeans who frequent a city like Bangkok, we never really fully appreciate how much Thailand is such a cultural and religious city. We go there for the weekend markets, the breathtaking malls and the epic food. When I suggested to a friend that I really wanted to see Wat Arun for myself again, we were more than ready to spend a morning not shopping, or not hanging around at a restaurant (seems like that's all we ever do in the city). I think it's been at least 10 years since I've been a tourist in Bangkok. Going to a touristy place, taking a gazillion photos, absorbing the beauty and grandeur of the temple amongst other tourists with cameras strapped around their necks.

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This temple, is breathtaking. One of the reasons I never really bothered with temples in Thailand whenever I went is because I was brought up a Christian. I was curious about the photos I had seen of the Wat Arun Ratchawararam, or the countless of times I drove past. It is one of the most recognisable landmarks in Thailand, located on the west of the Chao Phraya River. What blew me away after panting my way through the steepest slopes of steps I had ever climbed was the beautifully encrusted porcelain all around the stupa-like pagoda. I learnt that the towers of the temple are decorated with seashells and bits of porcelain which had previously been used as ballast by boats coming to Bangkok from China. Thailand is such a religious country, and it really feels nice to be able to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city like Bangkok at one of their temples.

I won't go into details about the history of the temple but as touristy as it sounds, it IS stunning. And it is a fun activity to do with friends and family climbing up and down the steep steps and enjoying the view of the city from the top. Access Wat Arun from the Chao Phraya River, so you enjoy a quick boat ride sipping on coconut juice you can get from any of the stalls around the river, and then spend a few hours admiring this beautiful place.

If you're heading to Bangkok, make sure you check out my guide here

KLARRA X STRANGERS REUNION

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Before leaving for London, I was invited to a little collaboration between local label, Klarra and one of Singapore’s favourite cafes, Strangers Reunion for a night of fun-filled laughs, great conversations, food and beautiful clothes. We got a taste of the new menu at the café for dinner, specially curated by founders, Melvin and Ryan. I was pleasantly surprised by how these simple dishes one would expect during brunch to be completely jazzed up to bring a mix of unique flavours and textures. Favourites included the Beetroot Salad which is a colourful combination of fresh greens, smashed avocado, red turnip, pistachios, croutons and artichoke tossed in a citrusy dressing. Their all day breakfast featured a lot of perfectly done eggs but each with its own twist. From the Ocean Trout on potato hash to beetroot corn fritters with poached pear.

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Strangers Reunion is one of my favourite to-go for their selection of waffles which can also be found at their sister café beside the restaurant Waffle Slayer. So I was saving my stomach my dessert even though I’ve never been a dessert person. The Chocolate Panna Cotta and Berry Ricotta Hotcake were all on point. The pancakes were the fluffiest I have ever had. Singapore is filled with these creative cafes popping out with the menu focusing on brunch but I’ve never really found many of these places serving quality food that was not only deliciously satisfying but also value for money. My experience with Strangers Reunion was definitely putting it at the top of the list. Beautiful interiors, delicious food and great prices. 

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The night was also to celebrate the launch of my dear friend Beatrice’s new Spring/Summer collection for her brand, Klarra and I couldn’t be more proud. I love that Klarra is all about quality over quantity, having worked closely with the brand for some time on the designs. Beatrice makes sure that quality is the number one factor in her clothing, and that comfort is key while still bringing out stylish clothes for everyone.

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I wish I had more images of the clothing but we all got to bring back a couple of pieces so I am positive a lot of Klarra will be popping up here and on Instagram. Here I am wearing one of my favourite pieces, the Sanchez Neoprene Sweater dress. Perfect with the front pockets and added detail of the side zips on the shoulder. Wearing a mini dress in London's cold is no easy feat but with some knee-high boots and an extra fluffy scarf, I am good to go. The new collection focuses a lot on classy basics that never go out of style so you get functionality and versatility out of the clothing. This is something that has always been important to me when I shop for pieces for my wardrobe. Big thanks to Beatrice and Ryan for the lovely evening, I had a great time trying out the pieces from the collection, stuffing myself silly with so much food and catching up with my girlfriends.

Visit Strangers Reunion in Singapore, located at 35-37 Kampong Bahru Road, Singapore 169355 &
shop some of my favourite pieces at Klarra.

#INSTAGRAM

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Photos by Bryant Lee.

I've never considered myself as a photographer but I love taking photos and have been doing so for a long time. A small number of them make it to Instagram and more here, on the blog. To say that I 'curate' what I put out there is not untrue. My life looks fantastic. But it's definitely not all fun and games. To look at it differently, it is also a more positive way of documenting. You don't want me to be writing about how I spent my day wallowing in self-pity because I had a bad day. Or posting sad, depressing photos, right?

This week I hit 20,000 followers on Instagram. I've actually been wanting to write this post for a long time but it's been a real struggle putting out accurately what I really feel. Then of course, Henry, had to write about it here and I feel like, maybe I understand how I feel better. Then the big 2-0 happened and so now, I'm writing this.

 Henry and I have spent hours over Skype face to face talking about how social media has both made us, and ruined us. It's been my life for many years simply because...I enjoy it. He wanted to quit, but I encouraged him not to. Because I've seen how it's brought me opportunities and connected me with people and how it CAN be a great platform for creativity and self-expression. Henry definitely lives up to this, the content he posts are thought-provoking, hilarious and so original, it's time he got his own hashtag and copyrighted everything.

 Because I've been on social media for SO long (7 years is no joke), when 'fame' very slowly creeps up on me, it sometimes feels like a milestone I've reached. That was how I felt a couple of months ago when I hit 10k followers, I did a little fist pump and screamed from my hotel room. So yes! Instant gratification. I was enjoying it too much. It is the perfect hobby. Before I knew it, I was concerned about time differences, when I was posting in real-time...and I needed my ten minutes before I sleep and when I wake up to look through my feed, to make sure it looks nice. It was also time for me to see what everyone else was up to and I slowly found myself needing more and more 'likes' to validate myself and it affected me. Every special moment in life now needed to be summed up in a photo. I was taking ages to think of a caption that would represent my feelings or the entire experience. Photos my friends were posting made me feel awful and jealous and it made me strive to take better photos, to gain more likes, to get more followers. But in a very silent, discreet way. It wasn't something I have ever admitted to because I never realised how subconsciously I was being driven to everything bigger and better. Sometimes, the kind of photos I wanted to take would come with a template for instant success. Natural light, maybe a white background? Some personal touches.. It was becoming too much.

 I had a fight about this with my good friend Hazel awhile ago. She felt that I was obsessed with curating my 'fake' life on Instagram. I only knew how to make it look good. I already said my point in the beginning of this post and still believe in every bit of what I meant. I don't believe in making my life look better than it really is because what you see is what you get from me. I don't fake it. I just...make it look nice! Is that a crime? I've met people where even the word 'obsessed' feels like an understatement. It scares me till this day. I still wonder if they have ever lived in the moment or if they were too busy documenting it. I've been guilty of this several times but thankfully realised quickly enough to look forward and start appreciating what's in front of me. I'm not saying I'm great but when Hazel said what she said, I felt like she was accusing me for being one of those people even though she really wasn't. That was a wake up call. I've sworn never to be like that because I feel it really can take life away from you. It's not only exhausting but so unfulfilling. Think about it. You caption a photo saying this was the best day of your life when everyone else who were with you knows it really wasn't. So really??? Are likes EVERYTHING?? Is what people perceive of you everything?

 I've been through the time where I was so obsessed with social media, mainly blogging that I had to bring my DSLR literally everywhere and take a gazillion photos so I could blog. If I had to photograph myself, I had to make sure I was wearing something I had never worn before, and that we were going to a nice place to shoot it. It was an exhausting time in my life and I really wasn't happy with anything I posted. But I kept posting, until slowly I took a break and went away from it all. Then came the power of Instagram. I wasn't blogging so much anymore but I still has to make sure I took the best photos to post on-the-go. Forget my iPhone, I needed my DSLR once again for the best picture quality. It was a never ending cycle. All of this is a never-ending cycle. Lets face it.

One thing I appreciate about the London Underground is that there is no service. It has allowed me to actually 'think' or take a breather before going about my day. I even read books on the tube now! It's also made me a lot less active on Instagram recently, especially with the time difference. Social media does not define us. It is competitive. But who really are we competing with? Ourselves. It wrecks self esteem, causes us to covet what others have, makes us completely judgemental human beings.. And at the end of the day, different people are going to perceive us differently. You will never please everyone. As Henry puts it, we all need some kind of balance in our lives. I am extremely flattered by 20,000 followers and the comments. I still love documenting, I still love taking photos with my big ass camera. I LOVE sharing about my life. But life requires balance. And this has been a timely reminder to do that. Take a break. Breathe. Enjoy what's being presented in front of you.

 We're gonna get insecure all the time but don't let it get to you and never let it affect what your credibility online. It's not about going to a certain cafe to Instagram the shit out of it because it's cute. It's not about who you're hanging out with and how many followers he or she has. It's about the fact that you probably had a really nice brunch with someone you now call a friend, maybe in a cute place, and you guys had a great conversation over some really yummy food. I no longer believe in real-time posting, I enjoy every bit of the moment and honestly, it simply feels great to just not care that much anymore.

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"When our entire well-being is subject to the success of one area in life, we're entering turbulent waters. Let's make it a little easier to be in control and steer our lives. Maintain that #balance. "
- Henry 

 Love you, Henry, thank you.

BRIGHTON BEAUTIFUL


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Photos by myself and Bryant.

Brighton is one of my favourite escapes from the hustle and bustle you experience everyday in London. It's a busy little town but there is still something I find quite peaceful about the place, I always have the best time whenever I make the trip down. This was my third time day-tripping to the place, it was Valentine's day and together with a few friends, we took a train down from London to spend a day at the pebble beach and the Brighton Pier. I love the novelty of the pier, it reminds me so much of Santa Monica in L.A, we sit some of the rides, scream our hearts out for the fun of it and then watch the sunset and the birds doing their thing as time passes by.

 So grateful for this crew- In fact, it was my first time 'celebrating' the day, we had the best lunch at D'arcy's (One of my favourite restaurants in Brighton!) which lasted for a good couple of hours where we feasted on fresh seafood, laughed our hearts out and raised our glasses to love and friends. Nathan, Zoe, Bryant and Mikko, you guys have my heart and I wouldn't have spent Valentine's any other way, or with anybody else.

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Old photos from last September by me.

I wished I could have showed my pals more of Brighton because there is actually so much to do and see. I recommend going over for a day-trip on a Sunday so you can check out the vintage markets that randomly pop up, I got the best buys during a previous trip which I still love till this day. Stroll through the lanes and buy cute little souvenirs. Also, the Brighton Pavillion is touristy but beautiful both inside and out. In the summer, spend the day at the beach on the super cute deck chairs while sipping pine coladas. If you're driving, head on to Seven Sisters Chalk cliff which is only about 20 minutes from Brighton. This would be perfect if you're spending the night in the town so you can go over bright and early the next day and do a little walk in the Seven Sisters Country Park.

Hope you guys enjoyed this little photo diary! 

WANDERING/WONDERING

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This weekend, I celebrated my first month being in London. Threw a party at my house on Friday night and had a ball of a time. But really, watching my friends having so much fun, even though many of them were meeting each other for the first time, made me very happy. All of this despite the obligatory waking up the next day, hungover, aching, entering a kitchen full of dirty dishes and empty wine bottles scattered all over.

 People don't really know what exactly I'm doing in London. So I will just clarify things: I'm here doing a full time post-graduate course and (supposedly) looking for opportunities. I go to class twice a week but I'm always mentally drained by the time class ends, on top of the additional work we have to do when we have on average 3 presentations a week. I've been really lucky since being here. I never like saying lucky but here I am using the word. Simply because I cannot emphasise how much I wasn't expecting to be enjoying my time here in London that quickly even though I have friends here and I've always loved this city. I came here with suitcases full of clothes, emotional baggage and fear. And right now to be honest, I feel too comfortable here. And it is worrying me. Not that being comfortable or happy is a bad thing. But I need to make the best out of my best time rather than just having too much fun. That Friday night at my house party made me realise how little I have done in the one month I've been here, not in the sense of 'exploring' but in 'connecting' and making opportunities for myself. It also made me realise how quickly time passed and how we are already (?!) at March. Oh my god, slow down 2015! Going into the unknown is never easy. I finished my BA at school last May and it's been about 10 months. These past 10 months, I chose not to get a job, or to start looking. I chose to take a break, enjoy myself and see where life would take me. It was an undefined time of questions and emotional roller coaster rides but I am so glad I did it. My time here in London is the same. I may be at school but I know that my main purpose of being here is about where my future, or my entire life will go on from here so everyday still feels like going into the unknown. During these past 10 months, I've been through the whole thing where my family and friends were constantly putting a lot of pressure on me to do something. But guess what, it was also one of the best times of my life. I travelled a lot, and engaged myself with a lot of projects, caught up with so many friends and honestly just gave myself a good break. I've been getting a lot of emails about this lately, so this post couldn't have come at more perfect timing.

 I believe we should all take breaks in life. So while you take this time to wander/wonder, you'll be asking yourself a lot of questions like I did. And you'll start defining this time of uncertainty with your current circumstances. It's a lot of ups and downs so I thought I would share how I got by during this 'in-between'.

 Be your own best friend- A lot of people see this time of the unknown as unworthiness, good for nothing, time wasting..but it's really a time to take a break, and reflect on the chapter you've just closed and the one you are about to begin. Use this time to realise who you are and what you want. Start by being your own best friend. You have nothing to lose.

 Pick yourself up and start over- A day without plans can make you feel like a complete failure at times. Even for me when I was seeking opportunities last year, email after email without any reply. It was extremely hard to pick myself up again and have the courage to continue sending more emails, to constantly have to put myself out there... but I did it and managed to get myself some work experience during my holiday in London last September. Instead of swimming in fear and feeling discouraged, invest your time in doing more research, talking to your peers or mentors, and most importantly, spending your time in things that matter to you like your friends or family. This could mean spending the day working your ass off in the kitchen to cook your them a meal. Allow yourself time to take a break even when you're working on the next steps. Then you start over. There is no use in worrying. It only encourages more negativity and makes you not want to do anything.

You are blessed to be stressed- I went through plenty of days feeling like crap and a total failure but also days where I felt like I was doing a lot of things. I like planning my week with goals of what I hope to achieve for the week. I would also engage myself in small projects like helping friends out with freelance design work. Or keeping myself busy working on a couple of things for the blog. I also make the effort to do things I never usually do like planning a trip to the zoo just for fun. It also made me work harder on Eat.Plate.Love so that was how I supported myself during this time. We all become a lot more sensitive to our surroundings during this time of what I like to call, going on a life safari. So it is the best time to take note of things about yourself you never noticed before. What do you want to improve? Where do you want to be 5 years from now? Also, never take your days for granted. See each day as a new opportunity to do something, even if it is nothing. If you feel like you didn't have a productive one, look out for the small things that are blessings in disguise. At the end of the day, just feel grateful to be alive.

Always be your best- Use this time to go crazy and DREAM. I loved taking long naps but what it was I enjoyed the most was lying in bed, closing my eyes and visualising everything I wanted and manifesting in those feelings. I also constantly went on long walks by myself with my favourite feel-good music plugged in. It made me feel energised, empowered and ready for new beginnings. London is a brand new beginning for me and everyday is a step to making some of these dreams happen. 'We may be afraid of the uncertainties the future holds but we must never let our fear to be as strong as our courage to start again.' (Quote I got from I am Malala in her book) Writing this has been a timely reminder to start getting myself out there and making things happen rather than being so comfortable in my circle of friends and my weekly routines.

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I've been wanting to do a post like this in awhile as part of the new directions I hoped for Missingavenue. Let me know what you think and I would love to share more. The purpose of this blog is not only for me to just document but also, I would love for it to be a platform that would make an impact on the people reading this. Let's start a conversation and make this something! I hope this post will encourage you to wonder and wander. Thanks for reading.

 Photos shot by Franz Navarrete, wearing Free People.