REDISCOVERING HOME WITH FREE PEOPLE

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Singapore is home for me, but it is also the one place I tend to take for granted the most. I find myself feeling frustrated and uninspired a lot of the time. So when I got the opportunity to shoot a couple of looks with Free People, I thought it would be interesting for me to rediscover my city and fall in love with my home country again. This project was especially meaningful to me as I shot it with my family, my aunt and dad in particular, who put in so much to bring me to some of their own favourite places they grew up by. To say the least, Singapore surprised me again, and what I've rediscovered is only a tiny fraction of what it has to offer. Despite the ups and downs I've experienced growing up here, there is no doubt that Singapore is my home and nothing beats being able to be sweat it out in a hawker center, eating my favourite cheap greasy food and being able to enjoy the company of the people who mean the most to me. I hope you guys enjoy this little guide to some of my favourite local spots. 

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 Chin Mee Chin confectionery in East Coast Road is an institution in it's own right- coming here felt like travelling back in time. The coffeeshop or 'kopitiam' as we Singaporeans call it, is one of the oldest in the area that has survived gentrification. Serving old-school Singapore style breakfasts like kaya (coconut jam) toast, soft-boiled eggs, coffee, tea and other sweet treats from the counter you can choose from.

 Chin Mee Chin is located at 204 East Coast Road,opens daily from 8am to 4pm except on Mondays. 


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 Wearing the Jessie Maxi Dress

I have always been obsessed with Peranakan architecture in Singapore, and whenever I discover a new neighbourhood with these beautiful shophouses, I am always left in awe at the meticulous detailing of the tiles that make them so special. These were taken in Petain Road, it was my first time seeing such a uniform stretch of Peranakan houses in Singapore as they usually differ from each other, always full of surprises. But I thought it was so beautiful anyhow. The Peranakan culture share great nostalgia and significance for local communities in Singapore. They are descendents of Chinese immigrants who came to the Malay archipelago known for embracing modern thinking way ahead of their time. Today, many Peranakan houses are protected by the government and remain a crucial part of the Singaporean heritage. Other places you can find Peranakan homes in Singapore are in Emerald Hill and Neil Road.

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Wearing the My Antonia Dress

Anyone who has followed me on this blog knows about my obsession with Little India in Singapore. Not far off from Little India, you will find the stunning Malabar Muslim Jama-ath. This is the country's only Malabar Muslim mosque and it's bright blue tiles brought me back to my time in Morocco. I had always driven past the place but being able to actually see it up close really showed me how beautiful this mosque is and how it is a sacred place for worship for the Malayee community.

Malabar Muslim Jama-ath is located at 471 Victoria Street, Singapore 198370.

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Wearing the Macrame Mini Dress in Plum

Chinatown isn't new for me, but simply exploring the neighbourhoods nearby really inspired me and I sometimes didn't feel like I was in Singapore but more like China in the 80s.. To see men on the corridor playing chess, watching TV, sipping their teh-o (tea). This was near Jalan Basar, and the area is filled with some of the most amazing hawker food and dim sum. You need to explore the area to find these hidden gems yourself!

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 I had so much fun shooting this project, big thank you Lisa for giving me this opportunity to rediscover my homeland and to my aunt Jolene and my dad for taking the time to bring me around and shoot these images. 

BANGING IN BANGKOK

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I've just returned from one glorious week in Bangkok. It's been awhile... and I relished every second I was in the land of smiles from being a sweaty mess in morning markets to 2am supper runs, cheap massages and haggling with tuk-tuk drivers. It was everything I have remembered, and missed. 

I have of course, updated my guide to the city- from a morning I spent at the Blue Elephant Cooking School, to my luxurious stay at Ma Du Zi Hotel and getting lost in Chinatown. View it here.

KEEPING WARM IN LOVERS + FRIENDS

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It's been freezing cold in London and temperatures have dropped tremendously but celebrating life and especially the weekends in general have given me enough warmth to keep me going. I live in a lot of sweaters and have been meaning to invest in the right pieces that are versatile and comfortable at the same time. I especially love turtlenecks as it means I can layer all that extra heat-techs (I get mine from Uniqlo!) under. This sweater-dress from Lovers + Friends is the perfect fit, I love wearing it on it's own as a dress with some sneakers or spicing it up a little with these knee-high boots. It's kept me cozy at work and while I go about my daily routine. I absolutely live in it ever since I've played my hands on it and love every bit of it! 

My 2016 so far has been exhausting to say the least but it has also really encouraged me to push myself and make this a great year. I know I previously said no resolutions and I've enjoyed not having to keep up with them so far, but it's also made me take my time a little more lightly than I want it to. I will be returning to Singapore tomorrow, and I am excited but also so nervous. I am hoping to really work hard on producing some content for the site and also making some of those dreams I've been holding on to into a reality! Hopefully I get to also share my journey with everyone here. I know I haven't been updating as much as I would like to but any opportunity to share something with you guys makes me really happy. Ah! I can't wait. 


TAKING MOROCCO

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I am thrilled to finally be able to share these images and my experience from one of the most unforgettable adventures I had in Morocco. It seems only apt for me to bring 2015 here on Missingavenue to a close with a destination that has since defined me and not a day goes by where I am not thinking about the beauty I saw throughout that one week right in the heart of summer. Morocco was more than just another holiday for me, it was everything I had dreamed of and everyday I was presented with fresh new perspectives, scenic landscapes, fortress cities, heartwarming and souls. I had never felt more myself than I had during that time I was there. This is a place that is a world of it's own, and one that's filled with happy accidents. 

ON CONTENTMENT

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I hope everyone had a good Christmas because I sure did! It was my first time celebrating the festive season properly, not that I never did but growing up, a lot of Christmas was carolling with Church and staying home on the actual day watching the telly. I was so glad to have been able to have an authentic Christmas this year with some of my closest friends. From roasted turkey on a beautiful table set-up and drinking wine by the fireplace, singing along to some crazy tunes, I couldn't have asked for a better past 2 days. I am so so so blessed to be here in London, and everyday it hits me how privileged I am and I cannot be more grateful to God for seeing me through, for allowing me to be here and to live and breathe in this city amongst the best group of people I could ask for. 

It's hit me a couple of weeks ago that I've been busy..being happy. I remember I was saying a prayer and I was mad at myself for always drifting off to sleep without finishing, after all, conversations with God are very important and personal to me. Then I realised, I drift off to sleep with a smile on my face every night recently because I live each day as it is and in every moment there possibly is, that I go to bed feeling like I've served my purpose for the day and I am ready for rest. While I still make sure I live in gratitude and continue to give thanks for every little thing, I have finally reached a point in my life where I feel really content. It's nothing fancy, I didn't strike the lottery, I didn't get my dream job, I just.....live. I have an amazing group of people in my life. I have a roof over my head in a place I love being in. I have food to eat. I have a lot of fun. I get to do fun things for work. It's a scary thought that for the first time I feel some sort of comfort and happiness, it comes with the fact that I now have something to lose. 

Being the last few days of 2015, I've been thinking a lot about this and where to go on from here. I know I should keep doing what I do but sometimes I just can't help worrying that it's all going to go away. I don't want to keep living and then simply forget... start taking it all for granted. My life here, my friends, my family, the work that I am so lucky to be able to do everyday. I can safely say that I am genuinely in a good place and there is nothing more I need at this very moment, this is a first of many firsts. Having something to lose. Embracing the here and the now. I'm kind of lost for words. But I guess maybe it's a good thing. This entire 'epiphany' has made me realised that when you let go of certain expectations and just live each day as it is, step by step, you get so much more and we are able to grab pretty unbelievable opportunities or perspectives from these very moments. This christmas, I celebrated the present and I will continue to do so for last the next few days of the year and this is exactly how I will welcome 2016 into my life. So I just urge anyone, if you're going through uncertainty, embrace it. If life's going good, embrace it. It's all about the present.

So here is my list on how you can be content too:

Practice. Even when the going gets rough, think of every thing you can be grateful for. Survival. Your nose. Food on the table.

Love. Wholeheartedly, genuinely. Keep loving. Breathe love, give out love, and celebrate love. You'll find yourself truly happy.

Embrace the present. If you're going through uncertainty, embrace it. If life's going good, embrace it. It's all about the present. It's about the NOW. Deal with your feelings and embrace every bit of it.

Take it easy. I can't emphasise how important it is that so often, we human beings are the hardest critics on ourselves. If there is anything we should do, take it all step by step. You simply are better at things. You're more alert. Do it at a good pace. And if you're having a hard time, embrace it. Then go on, start your day afresh and come home after you've served your purpose for the day. Rest, and start over. Step by step, day by day. Don't be so hard on you, and put the weight of the whole world on your shoulders.

On a lighter note, I moved to a new place last week, got my room dolled up with my! dream! chair! I've always wanted one of these. Vj and I ran to the flower market over the weekend to buy so much plants for the new place and it was so much fun. Moving has been exhausting but I am so glad my little cozy corner is done. With the chilly and gloomy winters in London, I love that I am able to wake up in a room that feels warm and be reminded of summer. So I still put on my denims and crop tops at home and run around in my strappy heels and have dance-offs while pasta is cooking with my friends. I am wearing the Mia Heel from RAYE and the Finn Top from Tularosa courtesy from Revolve. From the 27th of December (for one day only!) there will be up to 75% off. I absolutely cannot wait to get my hands on some of my favourite brands like For Love and Lemons, Frame Denim and Zimmermann. 

Merry Christmas again and thank you for the continuous support from you guys, I am nothing without you! 

#COPENHEAVEN

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Summing up the last of my travels for 2015, I headed back to Copenhagen. The city that has my heart, that gave me complete peace of mind and closure and that I have found myself to obsess over. It’s like ever since I visited for a first in September last year, everything I find out that is Danish fascinates me and I simply cannot stop. I was a completely different person leaving Copenhagen last Fall and revisiting this winter- now stronger and happier than I have ever been in a long time. 

This time around, I was lucky to have been able to experience a slightly more local perspective of this city. I reunited and stayed with my friend Mads who showed me around, introduced me to everything possibly Danish and was the best companion. To end off the trip, I stayed at the gorgeous Avenue Hotel in the lovely neighbourhood of Frederiksberg. Humble, cozy and everything I could possibly feel about β€˜hygge’ in a place- I absolutely loved my experience and couldn't have done it any other way.

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My stay at the Avenue Hotel was lovely- the interiors were everything I had dreamed of an authentic Scandinavian experience. It's a little cozy boutique hotel off Frederiksberg and I love that it was right in the centre of a buzzling neighbourhood so I got to experience how Danes went about their everyday lives. I was sipping tea amongst locals in coffeeshops nearby, strolling in Frederiksberg park and it was so great that the hotel offered bikes for rent to go around this bike town. Being able to rest and recharge in my room was something I looked forward to everyday, with it's fluffy sheets, a hot bath and a cute view of the hood. I would wake up ready and excited for new adventures in Copenhagen and there would be breakfast waiting downstairs- rye bread, half-boiled eggs, butter and granola and hot tea... Just everything I need for the perfect start. 

I am humbled and grateful for my stay at the hotel, for the lovely staff who made me feel right at home and went the extra mile to take care of me seeing that I was not well. Being alone anywhere can be daunting.. and I am so glad that I chose the Avenue Hotel to be my home for those couple of days. It was the perfect place for me to get myself in the right frame of mind, after a full day of self-exploration new perspectives. I loved every minute of it. 

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BOHEMIAN WINTER

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On my wishlist: Zimmermann dresses of any kind, the Chloe Hudson bag in all shapes, textures, colours and sizes, flared wide-legged denim from FRAME Denim, Aquazzura 'Wild Thing' heels, Margiela waxed leather booties and embroidered tops from Isabel Marant.

Everything is available on fwrd.com

With the festive season just around the corner, I am dying to treat myself. Especially since turning 22, I've been meaning to make the right investments on key pieces in my wardrobe that I know would last me for a good amount of time to come. Anyone who knows me knows I love anything 60s and 70s and if I could spend the rest of my life living out of a bohemian gypsy's closet, I would. Having lived in Singapore all my life and being under the intense humidity, this hasn't been difficult to upkeep. But ever since coming to London, I can't deny it's been a little tricky when all you want to do is keep warm. It's been a dream for me to be able to stock up on staples for a bohemian winter. A vintage shearling jacket, some lamb leather for a cropped biker jacket, good boots, light weight dresses, everything in a turtleneck and some good ol' denim flares. 

For the next 3 days, FWRD is having a sale exclusive for everyone in Asia. I am thrilled and pretty much would die to have everything on my wishlist for this winter. The more you spend the more you save. Use the promo code: LOOKFWRD to get up to 25% off. Whats on your wishlist? 

FALL FOOTWEAR

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We shot these images last week on what I can easily say was one of the gloomiest days I've experienced in London- but as depressing as it sounds with the rain and barely any sun, I am so glad we got to make the best out of it with my new found loves, all these shoes sent to me from back home in Singapore thanks to Charles & Keith! They should be no stranger to you if you're from Singapore or mainly Asia but it's so refreshing to see how the brand has grown over the years, the content they produce and I can genuinely say I am very, very happy with my new accessories (the quality is amazing!) and more than ready to kick off the winter with them. All photos shot by Bryant Lee