Tuesday 26 February 2013

Oversized Matters

Zara oversized tee dress and bag, Tony Bianco flatforms

..and she's alive!

A sweet, sweet hello from Melbourne, where weather is irrational and any attempt at a forecast is highly commendable. After hiding away from the sweltering heat all day, you hope that it's cooled down enough in the evening for a quick breath of fresh air and to grab a quick dinner. As far as oversized tees go, big is certainly better. Whether you wear it dancing around the privacy of your apartment, or out into the streets into a slightly more put together yet effortless fashion - you know you love them just as much as I do ;) a belated New Year spring clean found me this tucked away colour-blocked sling bag, while flatforms have served to be a convenient alternative to the casual flat sandal. And well, until the day comes where my drawings start to make more sense than a child’s scribble, I think I might just leave the watercolour to those printed ones that come on my clothes!

Photos by Thomas Lo 
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Sunday 17 February 2013

Black & White, Singapore

COS tee, Uniqlo shorts, Topshop heels, ASOS bag

There really is more to Singapore than the all-famous Orchard Road. And strangely enough in all the time that I've ever lived and visited this place, I've never really bothered to venture extensively into these areas. However, walking up and down Orchard Road is highly unlikely to sustain any tourist's interest for more than a couple of days, and that's when you turn to modern architectural wonders like Gardens by the Bay and Marina Bay Sands, and hope to pique their cultural and historical interest with Chinatown and Little India.

Probably one of my most pared-down, basic outfits here but I love that though it's simple it goes so well with these elegant black and white tweed heels - the slim heel a very refreshing addition to my very chunky-heeled footwear collection. We were wandering around little streets on outskirts of Chinatown, admiring the shophouses of 'old Singapore', just before the sky unleashed and poured down on us for a good hour. The joys of the monsoon season!

Photos by Thomas Lo 
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Wednesday 13 February 2013

Travel Diary: VIETNAM

Ho Chi Minh City: This is a city that shocked my senses the minute I touched down. I'm not quite sure what I expected but I certainly wasn't quite mentally prepared for the overwhelming number of motorbikes weaving in and out of traffic - where anybody between the ages of 13 and 89 could operate one and you see toddlers casually clinging on to the pockets of the adult in front. I was probably more worried for them than they were themselves. Traffic lights/laws were also seemingly non-existent. Certainly bring along a set of ear plugs if you'd like some quiet time from the 24-hour honking even from your hotel room. Once my body acclimatised to this bustling city, though, I loved the Ben Thanh Market for its food stalls, pretty kitchenware, and plenty of patchwork goodness. Quan An Ngon was highly recommended for its variety of Vietnamese dishes but to be honest it was a lukewarm experience for me. Hoa Tuc was a lovely albeit Westernised restaurant (platter above for one) and I would've loved to attend a cooking class if time permitted!

 Hoi An: Relief. Where beach resorts line the coast and you can cross a road without fearing for your life. Luckily for us the rain held off the whole 3 days we were there and made for a very enjoyable stay. Book a beach yoga session if that's up your alley and then visit the World Heritage Ancient Town, an amazingly well-preserved area with bright yellow walls, joyous lanterns, LOTS of tailors, and mouth-wateringly delicious food choices. Bahn Mi Phuong is an inconspicuous little stand/bakery with viet bread rolls so good I was so close to having a second serve all to myself - your choice of meat filling comes stuffed with some salad vegetables in a crispy, crispy bread roll. Visit the much hyped about Morning Glory and order a local noodle specialty (Cao Lao) or the neighbouring Cargo restaurant for its red duck curry. Stay till dark and offer 1USD to the elderly lady selling candle-lit paper lanterns,  release into the river and watch it join its other lantern friends - it was a feeling of serenity and appreciation. I loved this vibrant little town! 

Hanoi: Having soaked up the sun, sea and heritage of the magical Hoi An, it was a true wake-up call as we landed in the capital city of Vietnam. Food as you might've noticed pretty much is central to me being in a foreign land - Bun Bo Nam Bo serves up a generous bowl of beef noodles of the dry-ish variety (in fact they only serve the one dish there) which were THE best I've ever had in the history of my memory, and I've had my fair share of noodles and Viet cuisine. Then get your caffeine fix - thick iced coffee with condensed milk; black if you dare - on the mini plastic stools at Nang Cafe while people-watching. The neighbouring regions of Sapa and Halong Bay would have been amazing to visit as well if not for lack of planning due to wet and rainy weather forecasts (yet weather was perfectly fine when we were there).

Food obsessions aside, Vietnam should truly be on your to-visit list sometime in the near future. These three cities/towns were probably barely a glimpse into the Vietnamese life and culture, yet already such an eye-opener to the way people around the world live and that we're so so lucky to have what we have in Australia, or any other developed country for that matter (although you'll come across kids on iPads and the street vendor on her smartphone). Take along nothing more than a light luggage, millions of Vietnamese Dong, and an open mind - you'll be thankful you did. Hope you enjoyed the diary! 

Photos by Thomas Lo and myself
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Friday 8 February 2013


Topshop lace dress, Zara belt and boots

Sometimes, I suppose, less is more and a little black dress really is all you need. Definitely helps if your LBD speaks for itself like this super gorgeous all-over lace number. Its high neckline and semi-sheer back already got me hooked and there was definitely no turning back once I saw the bargain price tag. You would've done the same. Kept the black and gold theme with the chain belt and right down to my beloved zip up boots - I foresee a very close relationship with those ones. I absolutely adore a good red lippie for company out to dinner and pom pom beanies always get me. We stopped by the harbour on the way and found these locals on their daily walks and waiting by their fishing lines - Hong Kong itself is such a juxtaposition of new and old, of flashy shopping districts and simple fishing villages. If you're gonna be there anytime soon, head further than just the usual shops and tourist attractions, perhaps hop on the train and get off at one of the local neighbourhoods to see what really is in store! 

So comes the end of a 13-day Suitcase Challenge - a mix and match of travel and outfit posts that was really just a challenge for me to come up with something different every day that I was away. Moral of the story: forward planning and sticking to a limited colour palette (in my case white, red and blue) truly helps. Coordinate your colours, mix your prints, and pick up a local bargain or two and you'll get the most out of your nifty suitcase. I'm so glad to have started the year with a decent bout of travel and can't wait to share my (food) travel diaries of Vietnam and Hong Kong! x

Photos by Thomas Lo
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