ICELAND PHOTO DIARY

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This is not going to be a short post, neither will it be an easy one. I remember walking through Reykjavik the first night we arrived after a fantastic dinner and I was so cold and sick (from tonsillitis). I was looking up to the sky wondering if we could catch a glimpse of the Northern Lights from where we were standing before the realisation finally hit me that I was finally in one of my dream destinations. The next day we got into our rental car and drove for hours and hours, each day going from each unbelievable sight to the next. I've always loved keeping these moments to myself and find that a lot of the places or moments I've had/visited that mean the most to me have been the hardest to write about. Something about my dissatisfaction with how I've written about it that doesn't justify the whole experience or the beauty of it all. Iceland is easily one places made up of many of these moments but it's also something I feel so connected with that I have to share it. People are not kidding when they say a place like Iceland will change your life because it surely changed mine.

DAY IN THE LIFE


It's been awhile since I last made a video, and during all this time I forgot how enjoyable it can be. Bryant and I spent Sunday at my favourite hotel in London (no prizes for guessing which!) where we had a classic English roast before spending the rest of the day just fooling around and shopping. I am so lucky to have this guy in my life and words cannot express how grateful I am to be able to experience London together with him. This was one of my favourite days being here so far, just taking a good break from work and enjoying the beautiful weather. Thank you, London. And thank you, Bryant. 

LEARNING TO LOVE MYSELF AGAIN



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This is something a little personal but also something I've been meaning to write about because I feel it's important. I'm going to make it brief, but if there's anything I hope that anyone reading this will take from, it's to be able to love yourself. I've been in the happiest, most comfortable point in my life in a long time. And it's simple, nothing compared to how I lived just a couple of months ago. I guess I can say I'm content with how life has treated me here although there are a couple of ups and downs. But recently, because of a couple of things that had been bothering me. I've started to question myself about a lot of things from how my friends here see me, how many clothes, shoes and bags I need to be able to validate myself, how I should show my love towards my friends here, how much I am worth and how sick I am to constantly just be in the position of 'having the potential' to do a lot of things but never living up to it. I've been feeling very discouraged. Still content but there will always be these moments. I came across an interview I did a few months ago and it surprised me so much to see how fearless I was then. I said, " I think I am at a point in my life where I have nothing to lose, so if there is anything I am living by, it is to always create opportunities for yourself. Life really is way too short for you to sit around and wait for the right time for things to happen. If you want something, go out and get it. Make the change you want to see." To think about it, everything I said still applies and is true. I still have nothing to lose so I don't get why I’ve been so scared in the first place. The past 2 years have been a whirlwind of emotions for me. I was struggling a lot learning how to be my own best friend. It felt like a lot of it was coming in and out of circles. I feel like my time in London has taught me a lot, made me a much different person and simply too busy to notice that I've forgotten to love myself again. Because I've been surrounded by such an amazing group of people here who have made me feel so loved. It’s made me realise you can sometimes lose yourself in the process of just being too comfortable, which is exactly what I have been. Now, the questions haunt me and I’m starting to expect more out of myself. It’s made me an overly sensitive person who over thinks every single situation and affects me way more than I want it to. I thought I could have solo days out at the museum, treat myself to fancy brunch at a nice restaurant, have chai while walking in the park but I haven’t had the time to do that. I’ve completely forgotten how to be my own best friend again because I don’t love myself at all and I’ve also stopped trusting. I rely on the love I've been getting from my friends and family to make me feel me. 
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Normally I’m used to sharing about how I’ve come out of each experience but now, I feel this is part of what I am going through and I thought I would share my goals here. I’ve learnt a lot about myself and people just from sharing my feelings here, it’s allowed me to deal with whatever I’m faced with because I know that this is public. So here is how I will aim to get out of this rough patch and move forward: 

 Always see myself at my best- I’ve been feeling discouraged like I said, and when I came across that quote I said last year, I realised how much I’ve been doing the exact opposite: Sitting around waiting for something to happen. Just because I am too scared and confident that all I’ll get is rejected. In London, I’ve seen myself at my best and many times I’ve completely, genuinely allowed myself to live in the moment. Smile like I mean it and go to sleep feeling inspired. I need to constantly be like that, have some faith in me and just always be the best version of myself all the time. A friend recently told me ‘nobody really cares when you fail anyway’ and I thought that was really true. The people that come out at the top of our heads are the ones we look up to, and the things they have achieved. I need to pick myself up again and remind myself I really do have nothing to lose. 

 Remind myself I am worth it- All of us are unique in our own way and I believe we tend to forget that we are beautiful and treasured human beings. Give yourself come credit, look at the mirror, treat yourself to a nice meal and new shoes. I find that whenever I talk about my strengths (and weaknesses) to my friends, I learn more. Except compliments and stop brushing them away! We all encourage each other and that is how we go forth. I am worth it and so are you. Trust myself Nobody is going to trust me if I don’t trust myself.Just the same as nobody is going to love me if I don’t even love myself. So I need to trust myself to be able to do things and to be able to love myself again. 

Make time for myself- It can even be going to the library to get work done but I want to start actually making plans to spend time with me, on a beautiful day out. Only then can I love me again. 

 Set boundaries- I need to be aware of the environment where I’ll thrive and also give myself the room to fail. But most importantly, not allow myself to swim in a pity party of fear, rejection and failure but pick myself up and start over when I need to. Taking more care of myself is also something I hope to be able to work on. When your body is healthy, you’ll be able to take on things with a clear state of mind and just feel good vibes all over in general. Eat healthy! Sleep more! Mask up! Feel good. 

 Do not be afraid to love- I was so scared to love the people around me because of the way that I am. Precisely because I am actually lucky enough to know who I am, I need to accept it and not run away from it. Just because I tend to love a lot, and I like to show it, doesn’t mean that I should have to question myself for it. And I think it’s time I need to apply this to myself too. I shouldn’t be afraid to want to love myself, like really ENJOY being me and being with me.

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.