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.
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.
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 ‘hygge’ in a place- I absolutely loved my experience and couldn't have done it any other way.
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.
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?
Photos by Mikko Puttonen.
Just an update on what's been groovin: I've been back from my travels in Santorini, Paris and New York for almost a month now and London is my current home base where I am continually seeking opportunities for work, meeting new people and having a jolly good time. Everyday I learn new things about this city. Awhile ago, I revisited St Paul's Cathedral and it was one of the many landmarks in London that made me fall in love with this city. We had spent a night at a hotel right across the iconic cathedral and I jumped at the opportunity to be able to run around before life started to happened at the wee hours in the morning. That was 2 years ago. This time around, I remember it being such a good day spent with my friend, Mikko, after a really good curry night and sleepover before a day of exploring. So I guess I can say that St Paul's is a place that radiates a lot of positivity for me.
Having been travelling in and out of London this past year has made me have a love-hate relationship for this city but it's really it's contradictions that have made me come back for more. It may not have the best weather, the tubes always go on strike and everything seems to be double the price from back home but I love the people I've met in all parts of town, places I never thought I'd ever step foot on like Peckham where I had the best Motown parties and danced my heart out. Or hanging around at the most ridiculous house parties. Reuniting with old friends and meeting new ones. Discovering the new in the old in this city I feel so blessed being able to wake up to. The future is still uncertain, I am still unsure of my next steps, where I'm travelling to next or where I'll live a year from now but the energy in this city has kept me positive and hopeful that there are better days to come and that surely, one day I'll be able to call it home.
We shot these images in Times Square during my last few hours in New York. While it’s every other New Yorker's and my own nightmare, it made sense for me to revisit the classic ‘concrete jungle’ backdrop. It reminded me a lot about my love-hate relationship with the city, while it's amazing being surrounded by all these billboards, people and feeling like anything is possible, it was a place you are and feel incredibly small in.
I was partly in New York for work and to visit one of my best friends and while I would sum it up as a good time, I felt like a complete mess while being there. I guess this could be partly because the last time I was in this unforgiving, fast-paced city was when I decided to travel here solo and found it to be one of the most depressing weeks of my life although I came out from it stronger and motivated. This time around, there was that constant fear of being alone and it was the last thing I wanted to do. Henry and I argued- I was being a complete brat at times. We were both so insecure trying to make each other feel vulnerable.
The week returning from my 3 week long adventure was a hard one emotionally and mentally. I pretty much lost myself. Travel for me is my escape and the moment I return to some sort of familiarity and routine, I seem to fall apart a little. I’ve realised that I am constantly trying to run away from the present. It’s been a lot of ups and downs this year, but recently I’ve found myself to be an emotional wreck due to finally coming to a realisation after so many years why I behave the way I do. It made me so sad that, that was it. And it was something that I simply couldn’t run away from anymore and had to deal with everyday, no matter how long it took.
While New York City is known for it’s relentless energy and being the city where dreams are made of, where anything is possible, it is the one city I’ve found myself to be in a literal nightmare more than once and I really do question it. Why this amazing city- I really don’t know. But if going back has made me learn one thing, it’s simply to love. I think going back with a fear and kind of negativity was just a bad start. So many times I’ve told myself to do all things with love, and to think love, breathe love and live love. But I was mostly frustrated with the city. Angry, determined to not allow it to beat me up like it did two years ago. We all have scars, and the ones that remain shouldn’t have to haunt you when you’re revisiting a place or a time, it should only remind you to get yourself together and be stronger to turn it all around. If I had to sum it up, New York had won again but by turning the last few hours around into magic, I knew that I came out of it stronger than I did before. So thank you New York, for being so hard on me. You always seem to be the most real to me.