THAT BALI SUNSHINE

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Wearing SheMadeMe Savarna crochet halter bikini top (similar available here), Jannah cheeky crochet bikini bottom and Hat Attack Seagrass Tote (similar available here)

I made it to Bali for the first time and am excited to properly share more about my time there next time with you guys! These were taken at The Amala where we stayed at in the heart of Seminyak, I loved my time in Bali and am keen to fully explore more of the island. Bali, I will miss your rice fields, blue salty seas, babi guling (roasted suckling pig), endless sunshine and your insane sunsets.


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More soon! 

#TRAVELGR8 TO YOGYAKARTA

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This space/journal/blog whatever you want to call it turns 9 this month. I am grateful for the people who've stuck by me, seen me grow into the person I am today and followed my adventures around the world. It's been quite a journey and I found a large part of myself here... I thought I'd be tired of it by now but I still love it- documenting things my way, sharing a perspective. So thank you if you're reading this! You are a part of the reason I am who I am today. I can't believe it's been 9 years..whoa thats a long time.

Travel has definitely defined a large part of me and having the opportunity to travel to Yogyakarta was eye-opening despite being physically exhausting. It wasn't luxurious to say the least but it was an adventure. Each day we really explored into the unknown, seeing the sunrise from Borobudur, screaming at live crabs at Wedi Ombo beach, chasing chicken at every other kampong we saw, sweating it out over spicy chilli together and borrowing goats for photos. I came home physically the most exhausted I'd been in a long time and am convinced the consecutive travel I've experienced is finally hitting me but I feel refreshed by Indonesia, I can't wait to explore other parts, especially Bali which I've never been to. Having just visiting Jakarta just a couple of weeks ago, Yogyakarta was a much more authentic Indonesian experience with the friendliest locals and a tight-knit creative community I found especially inspiring. Thank you Air Asia for having me and thank you to my partner in crime, Jordus for taking these photos of me and being such sport on the trip. Here are some of my favourite moments:

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We found goats and sheep just beside our hotel and decided to take one of them on a stroll but it turned out to be surprisingly harder than we thought. They simply go crazy.

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Of course it was followed by a lot of obligatory photo-taking at every other corner. I am wearing a dress by N/Nicholas Embroidered dress and Tibi Slippers (similar one here) both from on Shopbop


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I can't say much about my experience at the Borobudur Temple except that it was breathtaking despite being a little foggy that morning. We got up at 3am to drive from Yogyakarta city to the temple and spent a good 2 hours just being in it's grounds and admiring the detail. The Borobudur is a Buddhist temple and the largest in the world, now a UNESCO heritage site. Absolutely beautiful. 

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We gave the sunrise at Mount Merapi a miss for some much needed rest and made our way up later in the morning. At base camp, we were greeted by our guides with the jeeps and the ride was pretty much like a roller coaster, but with with ash from the ground. It was a real adventure. Mount Merapi is the most active volcano in Indonesia and has been erupting regularly since 1548. There are villages on each side of the volcano. Currently, Mount Merapi is known to erupt every four years, destroying everything these local people have and causing thousands of fatalities during every eruption. However, the locals we met do not let it deter them. They simply rebuild their homes with the aid of the government every 4 years and start life over. They were also some of the happiest locals we met throughout our trip.

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Wearing Supergurl dress

We saw the sunset in Wedi Ombo beach, it's pretty untouched by tourists so there is still a strong local presence there with friends and families escaping from the city for a day or locals catching live fish and crabs to eat. The rocky beaches were beautiful and I may have been intimidated by the crabs we saw but it was all good. Perfect way to have ended our time in Yogyakarta. 

These photos don't do justice to my experience in Yogyakarta, there was something about the city that really got to me and I'm in the midst of planning to return next month. It's a city with so much culture and heritage with beautiful temples and so many experiences from jeep rides, hiking, sky-diving and cave-exploring.. the list goes on and on. So I guess these images are just a small fraction of what I really experienced, I hope you guys enjoyed the images anyhow! Big thank you to Rachel and Christina from the AirAsia team for making this trip happen! 

Start planning your trip from Singapore to Yogyakarta with AirAsia today.


MILAN PHOTO DIARY

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I wouldn't exactly call this a guide. But it's some of the places I got to visit during my long weekend I spent in Milan. Milan may not be real Italy, as people would say. It wouldn't be the place to go to experience what Italian culture really is. But it's a city with it's own heartbeat and has stolen the hearts of Italians all over Italy who move here to experience the fast-paced city life. Milan, for me is a design capital for fashion and the arts, heritage and amazingly good food with an unbelievably generous aperitivo culture. I couldn't have asked for a better time there. Here's what I got up to during my short time in the city that you should definitely visit if you make it to Milan:

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Milan isn't know for being the city for lovers. But Parc Sempione on a lovely day is perfect for a picnic, like what we did. People come here to kiss. To snuggle when the sun is out. To get a tan in their bikini. It's such a fun but relaxed atmosphere where you really see people really enjoying the city park that is easily accessible from the city centre.


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Wearing a Maria Stanley dress and Adia Kibur earrings

Shop in the Brera district- known for once being home to bohemians, artists, only part of the area has survived modern reconstruction. The street is beautiful and now filled with small boutiques and galleries. 


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Corso Como is a restaurant, gallery, hotel, book store, and fashion and lifestyle store all in one and it is beautiful.

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Naively used to be the entire water network for Milan, connecting from the nearby rivers of Ticino and Adda. It is now a lively street filled with shops, art studios, restaurants, pubs, bars and is perfect for a romantic stroll down the canal with a loved one.


bv cadg2Spazio Rossana Orlandi is always a highlight during Milan Design Week- it's a design/furniture gallery and courtyard cafe and is located in an old tie factory in Via Matteo Bandello. I saw some of the most unique pieces of furnishing for the home. Rossana Orlandi is a known for discovering and championing new designers while providing support throughout their careers. 

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Owned by the design duo behind Dsquared2, Ceresio 7 Pools & Restaurant is located at the top of the Dsquared2 headquarters where the who's who of Milan flock to for dinner and drinks. Come for an  Aperitivo and people-watch while enjoying the sunset and some nibbles. 

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Wearing Free People's Bohemian Winds Maxi dress

Cliche but still stunning. Especially in the morning before the city wakes up.

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Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II- of course everyone in Milan has to see this stunning shopping arcade for themselves after the Duomo. The arcade is open 24/7 so if you'd like to enjoy frolicking around the premises before the stores open, it is jolly well a good idea. 

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You've probably heard of EATALY in New York, so you can only imagine an Italian version of it would be a gazillion times better. I was grinning from ear to ear at all the food available. It is a one-stop store for anything related to Italian food that is my kind of heaven. 


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Fondazione Prada is dedicated to contemporary art and culture and is home to Bar Luce- a cafe and bar designed by Wes Anderson that feels like a movie set from one of his films.

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Wearing a Ganni lace mini dress

Città Studi is such a cute and quaint neighbourhood not far off the city centre, with some really traditional-looking Italian homes. It is lovely to stroll through and peep into the houses to wonder the life that goes on in there.


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Carlo & Camilla in Segheria is one of Italian chef and personality, Carlo Cracco's restaurants... It is genuinely one of the most beautiful spaces I've stepped into and the cocktails were out of the world. Food was great too. I loved the Italian way of dining. Every night we started our aperitivo in the evening and start getting seated for dinner at only about 9. We usually finish dinner close to midnight and it makes really enjoying the company, conversations, food and drinks such an experience.

I cannot thank my Italian counterparts, Gabriele, Alessio and Giulia enough for giving me such an authentic experience in Milan and for hosting me throughout my time there. I had such a great time and saw so much in such a short period but was blown away by what the city had to offer. And when you make it to Milan.... also don't forget the patisseries!

Shot in collaboration with Shopbop.

TO PARIS OR NOT TO PARIS

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I'm back from my whirlwind of a week in Paris and thought I'd share some of my favourite moments- and a thing or two that might come in handy if you're heading to the city (one that does not involve the Tour Eiffel).

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Stroll through Jardin du Luxumbourg early in the morning, with croissant and latte in hand and enjoy the gardens before the rest of the city wakes up.

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Eat...at Ellsworth Paris. One of my favourite meals. Fried chicken is amazing. Had the most beautiful plate of sardines. I never want to stop coming here. Ellsworth currently offers the best brunch in Paris and opens for lunch and dinner on the weekdays. Make reservations. Please. (I just don't want you to miss out..!)


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Paris is all about the windows and balconies. So take a gazillion photos of them, and on them when you get the chance. Eat breakfast on the balcony. Smoke on the balcony. Drink wine on the balcony. Dance on the balcony. Kiss on the balcony.

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In Paris, Airbnb > Hotel. It's all about the Parisian experience after all. *Ps, don't forget the balconies!

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Explore the hood. Saint-Germain-des-Prés. Le Marais. Montmartre.... You never know what you find. ......

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Especially when you find courtyards like these....

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......which lead to cocktail bars like these....

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Drink wine, eat frites (or fries as we call it) and people watch for hours. Al-fresco style.


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Make sure you eat in Derrière... then finish the night in the bar next door, Andy Wahloo.


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God... I can't say it enough! I love Paris.... I love it, I love it, I love it.


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.

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! 

LIGHT IN THE WINTER

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Photos by Zoe

I just got back from the best adventure in Hong Kong two weeks ago but just thought I'd share a couple of images I shot while exploring Causeway Bay with Zoe. I love anything that makes me feel like a princess so even though this skirt was as poofy as a wedding dress and getting in everybody's way, I was happy. Zoe and I played prince and princess for the day without even realising it, she happened to be in a casual little suit while me in my poofy ensemble. The whole conversation about princes and princesses started a couple of months ago when I saw that Zoe had gone to Paris and I was obviously going 'omg' at her beautiful images- she then suggested we make a trip there together in the near future but I've always sworn to never go to Paris until I met a prince to take me there, or at least, have the capability to go to Paris and come back with lots of Chanel and Celine using my own money. The first thing Zoe said was 'I'LL BE YOUR PRINCE!!!!' so now this is our thing. We're basically attached.

I love how Instagram and blogs have made the world a much smaller place and allowed me to meet people, since my guide to Bangkok wasn't exactly a blog post, I guess you can call this is my first for 2015. I was going through alot of anxiety before the new year but overall, 2014 had been a year of overwhelming opportunities and I met so many new people I now call friends that I know I am going to keep. Zoe is one of them. And so are an amazing other bunch of people I met in Hong Kong who will slowly be introduced to this space. We shot these at the roof of Tyson place where we spent a lovely afternoon having girly heart to heart talks over bubble tea. The light was amazing and it's hard to believe this is winter in Hong Kong! I guess Hong Kong does have it's own magical moments and I'm lucky to have been able to experience this with my little prince.

Thank you guys for the responses to my guide! I loved hearing from everyone through comments and emails. Ps, how is everyone liking the new layout? I'm still working on small little details here and there so I'll do proper introductions to the new space and the direction I aim to be heading for the year 2015 with Missingavenue. It's pretty exciting and I can't wait to be able to start a new adventure with everyone of you!

TAKING MOROCCO

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I am thrilled to finally be able to share these images from one of my unforgettable adventures 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 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.

Everyday I found myself speechless and in awe of the sights that I saw...from getting lost in the ancient medinas in Marrakech to falling asleep under the stars in the Sahara desert. This country didn't just surprise me but took my breath away at every moment. While much of it's cities have allowed tourism to get in the way, it is the imperfections and intricacies that make Morocco what it is. I loved haggling over prices at the souks with a dash of cheeky flirtation or enjoying the kind hospitality of locals whilst sipping hot mint tea on a roof top terrace and watching life go by. What I saw in Morocco was but a tiny fraction in comparison to what it has to offer, but the great thing is, I personally can't think of a better holiday destination simply because it can be easily tailor-made just for you. If you're willing to take the road less travelled and do it the unconventional way of renting a car and getting by on your own, I say why not? I had the help of a private guide, Ismail, who crafted a tour according to what I wanted and everyday was perfect- I really wouldn't have done it any other way. Inexpensive and probably the best way to see the country, it is a personal and enriching experience that money simply cannot buy. Here are bits and pieces of my time on the road after leaving Marrakech to make my way towards the epic Sahara desert.

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You can view more of my time in Marrakech here

We stayed in riads we found off airbnb and absolutely loved it. Inexpensive, so comfortable and such a local experience. One of which was at Riad de l'Orientale where we met Latifah who runs the traditional guest house. From arranging us a pick-up direct from the airport to making sure we got safely through the ancient medina into the riad, it was easy access and we were grateful for her amazing hospitality every step of the way throughout our stay. 

Make sure you get yourself lost in the souks, visit the Museum de Marrakech, Maison de la photographie Marrakech, Yves Saint Laurent's strikingly blue Majorelle Gardens, the intricate Bahia Palace and the hidden Madrasas hidden in the old medinas.

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Arranging our tour with Moroccan Desert Tours was easy-peasy. We had read numerous reviews before deciding on which agency to go forward with. The thing with most private tours is you get a personal guide who will be your driver throughout the duration of your journey. He will be with you pretty much every step of the way, ensuring your safety, making sure you get to see the sights while still getting a local experience. It was through Moroccan Desert Tours that we got to meet Ismail, who became our best friend throughout our 3 days on the road.

He picked us up from our riad in Marrakech and from there we hopped into a car and started our journey into the Sahara Desert, through the Atlas mountains where we were greeted with some unbelievable sights like the Kasbah Ait Ben Haddou. The journey was felt like forever driving through Draa valley before we finally arrived in Merzouga and got checked into a hotel, with the Sahara right at the back and camels waiting for us to head into camp. We were going to experience a night in the desert like Berbers and trekked into the Sahara on camels just in time for the sun set before having dinner of tagine cooked on-site traditionally and dancing to North-African drums under the most number of stars I had ever seen in my 22 years of being.

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We woke up the next day to the sunrise in the desert and slowly trekked our way back to some form of civilisation and was greeted by a hearty breakfast before jumping back into the car and making our way slowly out of the desert through some stunning landscapes like the Ziz Valley Gorge- a dense canopy of palm trees wedged between ancient cliffs that stretches over 100km. We were constantly in awe of the sights we saw on the road that day and the life of nomads and villagers in small towns and how vastly different they were from each other despite the short distance. Ismail would patiently stop the car for us every time we wanted to take photos and it soon became a chase for wild camels which we found (!) and before I knew it, I was running in the fields with a herd of goats. I felt like I was in a movie and had never felt so happy.

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That evening, we finally arrived in Fes, which was going to be home for the next 2 nights. Ismail dropped us off right outside our riad and we explored the city on our own- had dinner on a rooftop terrace, bought lots of figs, fed cats and made friends with other tourists drinking mint tea. Fes felt slightly more authentic than Marrakech- there was more local life we got to see like their daily markets where locals shopped for spices, meat and veg. It was also a lot cheaper than Marrakech. 
The medina of Fès el-Bali (the old Fes/ old city really is the heart of the city where souks filled with a maze of narrow lanes of aromatic food stalls, intricately painted ceramics, piles and piles of rugs and carpets, tanneries and mosques. The trick with the souks is really to dive head first, straight in. It's overwhelming but slowly you find your pace and way around with every other corner surprising you with it's charm in the most unexpected ways.


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As part of our private personalised tour, we were travelling to Chefchaouen, up North along the Rif Mountains of Morocco. Read more about my time in Chefchaouen here.

chefchaouen from the distance

It is undoubtedly one of the most magical places I have ever visited, like a still from a movie set. I still slap myself at times to think I made it there. Ismail was with us every step of the way while we were in Chefchaouen, so we got to mix around with locals, do our shopping and explore the town.

After a day trip to Chefchaouen and returning to Fes with grinning from ear to ear with new stories to tell, we spent our last day in Fes before getting a train back to Marrakech. I genuinely loved every minute of being in Morocco. It was such a happy place for me. And I can only hope that everyone reading this will one day get to experience it for themselves. The one tip I can give is that coming to a destination like this really requires a good amount of research- plan your route, how you're getting from city to city and the things you want to do. Every city in Morocco is different, and there is so much I am dying to visit. But it may take a whole lifetime to explore. We are especially grateful to Ismail for making our trip such a memorable one, for not just being our guide and taking such good care of us, but also being our friend every step of the way. Try your luck and meet Ismail by booking your private tour with Moroccan Desert Tours.

So here's to undoubtedly one of the best trips of my life so far, thank you Morocco for making my 2015. I hope everyone is spending their last few hours of the year giving thanks and feasting with their loved ones. Thank you guys so much for yet another year of support with the blog and thank you for reading!