Tuesday, 13 September 2016

Handmade

"Jewellery takes people's minds of your wrinkles" - Sarah Phillips

I have a lotta wrinkles. Not featured - necklaces, brooches, bracelets
Who is Sarah Phillips you ask? I have no idea, but the lady is onto something.

When I was younger, I once told a boyfriend that I would never leave the house without at least a pair of earrings on (which is not to say I would go out with only earrings on. Not a nudist. Just to be clear here). This was in the days when hoop earrings were all the rage, and I had several pairs in different colours, some shiny, some matte, some metallic, some in cool shapes like stars and hearts. 

A fraction of what I used to have!
I'm still totally into the large chunky, shiny look for earrings but whenever I want to act mature and fancy, I channel my sister's style and select pieces I think she would wear - semi-precious stones with a slight boho vibe to them. 

Boho vibe. Not my sister. Pic taken from here

Recently, I connected with my sister's friend, a Singaporean jewellery designer Tsu Yinn who lovingly crafts unique and affordable pieces of jewellery. Her stuff is exactly what my sister would wear (lots of semi-precious stones in a variety of colours) and basically the opposite of my hoochie-mama-chic so get ready for some fancyness! 

She only makes a limited number per piece I think which sucks because most of the ones I like are sold out but these turquoise ones I got are basically the height of fancy ladyness dontcha think? 

They say ladies turn into their mothers but I'm turning into my sister

She's also made this new one which I also love so I'm guessing turquoise is my jam now. 

More fancyness

I'm also loving the maple wood series she's doing now. Particularly this rainbow necklace. To my boo: HINT HINT.


Anyway, you can buy her stuff here and check her out on Instagram (@Handmadebytsuyinn) to see all her new stuff. 

Thanks for reading!

Thursday, 8 September 2016

Shopperholic






Dress: Shein | Shoes: New Look (Similar here) | Ring Jessica Buurman (Similar here)

Once again, a huge thanks to Samson aka @braidstrong (instagram) | braidstrong (website) who takes lovely photos.

Hello!

So I've been trying to save money by avoiding online shopping but it's been pretty disastrous. But I've managed to get some really awesome not too expensive things from Aliexpress which is basically like the version of Taobao that caters to people who can't speak/read Chinese but still want cheap stuff. I love Aliexpress but shopping on the site requires patience because there's a lot to take in and go through. Plus you have to read the reviews and because there are multiple vendors selling the same things, you have to make tough decisions with which vendor to buy from. Overall I've had mostly pleasant experiences, although I've had cheap phone covers not get delivered before. But overall I'd say the percentage for that happening is pretty low. 

Anyhoodle, I just wanted to share some of the cool stuff I've bought recently, bearing in mind though, that it's actually not that recent since it takes bloody forever to ship. But that's just one of the drawbacks if you want cheap stuff. 

So you know how I've really been into these Fitness Blender workouts yeah? So I usually put the video up on my iPad, and for the longest time I'd borrow my mom's tablet stand. Well I decided it was time to be a big girl so I got my own. And I think it's awesome because not only did I buy it for US$2.49 with FREE shipping, I also think it's perfect for travel since it's so compact. I am mighty pleased with myself. 





On top of that, you might have noticed that little white thing in the last picture above, that's an audio amp which is just like a little plastic shell that you can attach to your iPad to amplify the sound. I didn't get this from Aliexpress, but rather, from Amazon. I had originally seen a product like it called Sound Bender that was featured in the TV show Shark Tank and I needed it because my iPad 2 speakers are really bad. I wanted to buy the Sound Bender cos of the cool name and the inventor but I needed it to be shipped pronto so I signed up for the Amazon Prime membership free trial and found that Audio Amp was eligible for the fast shipping, but not the Sound Bender. I had it shipped to my godma in the US who then brought it to Singapore to me as she flew in a few days after the delivery was made. Thanks godma, love you. Thanks Amazon, I love you also. Although you don't really always ship to Singapore (Boo) and your stuff can be pricier (double boo). 



The boo tried using the audio amp on his iPad (which is maybe a 3 or 4) but it's a bit too slender so it slides off. Anyway, his iPad speakers are better than mine so he doesn't really need it. I like it because it's so portable and it really does amplify the sound quite substantially. Don't expect THX movie quality sound obviously but sound that's loud enough to be heard over my panting as I exercise.

Moving on... Because I'm an action packed woman, I decided to be extra action and buy these weighted glove from Aliexpress. I'd been looking through Amazon but couldn't find the right weight (and also the look that I liked) that would ship to Singapore. I managed to find these babies which are awesome because they only cost US$5.30 but I've just realised I paid like $17.54 in shipping but ok it still comes to only $22.84 which is cheaper than the ones sold in stores here so I guess it's still a win. They each weigh about 0.5kg which seems little but I'm pretty sure I'm going to be aching after using them. Get ready to see my big guns BANGBANG!


Lastly, I decided to replace my existing lunch bag (yes, I'm a kid who brings a children's lunch bag to the office) because I wanted a lunch bag that I could sling over my shoulder (I often carry a lot of things to work so I need this extra convenience). My existing one was getting kinda mucky and only has a top strap. I also wanted one with a zip because I felt that the one I had often opened up because the velcro wouldn't hold. I ordered this on Aliexpress and have zero complaints because it's SO CUTE and it's exactly what I wanted - insulation material within, shoulder strap for easy carrying, cute pattern, right size to carry breakfast and my afternoon snack. Anyway, this purchase drove me a bit mental because there were SO many options and I really had so much trouble deciding. Multiple vendors were selling variations of this bag with different patterns and styles and also slightly different prices but I just went with the one that made me go 'aww' the most.



I'm so happy, you guys. But now I'm basically back to being addicted to shopping and as I type this I have Aliexpress open and ready to make another purchase - a makeup brush holder (I NEED THIS OKAY?)

Thanks for reading!

Monday, 29 August 2016

Romping around




Romper: Etam | Sandals: Zalora (similar here) | Bag: Gracious Aires (Similar here)
Bracelet: Vintage (Similar here) | Sunglasses: Pieces (Similar here

I hate running. I love running. I hate running. I love running. Mmmm pizza. I love running so I can eat pizza.  

I hate running as much as I enjoy it - I love it when it's over and I feel so accomplished. But it's really hard to actually start. So I've signed up for the Great Eastern Women's Run to kind of force myself to train for it. I'm running the 10km because I'm sure the 21km will make me rue the day I was born. Honestly, mad props to the crazy ladies who run marathons. On top of simply signing up for the race, I've forced my friend Char to join with me and participate in the #runtolivegreat program which is like a side activity on top of the actual race day event to give participants a chance to compete for prizes, prepare for the race day via fitness activities, and get free swag (I know this word is no longer cool but I really find it hilarious to say because it sounds so pretentious). I'm so pleased because we got selected for the program and now we have another excuse to hang out some more and be our truly stupidest selves.

This is my friend Char. I like her a lot. She might not feel the same way seeing as I'm a weirdo.
I'm farting in her general direction clearly
Victory is MIIIIINE!
Escue me, are you a model?
Not sure how we managed to avoid being kicked out of the Adidas store. Shout out to sales assistant Lydia who didn't boot us. 

So we attended the welcome event and received our goody bag which had a Fitbit Flex, a special Run to Live Great Adidas running tee and a pair of Adidas Boost "Vengeful" running shoes! I'm so pleased because I badly needed a pair of running shoes and they are all black, just like my soul. (My inner goth squeals in excitement) I'm going to break them in this weekend as I prepare for the race. By maybe running to get pizza. Mmmmm.

Sometimes you just need a boost
Thanks for reading! Join the race?

Tuesday, 23 August 2016

France -> Italy Day Onze/Undici: Shall we dance?

So this brings me to the last post summarising my trip to France, I hope it hasn't been too boring for you, but then I didn't force you to read it all, you psycho. As I type this I'm getting pretty blue because going back to work after a relaxing vacation is always really hard. Anyway...

France -> Italy Day Onze/Undici
Having spent the night in the lovely Hotel B d'arcachon, we awoke bright and early for breakfast buffet at their little hotel cafe. Having walked around the previous evening, we spotted a few shops that we were keen to check out but were closed for the day. We decided to take the gamble and squeeze in a last minute shopping spree at 10am when the shops open, before heading to the airport at around 10.30am. YES. 30 mins of shopping. GO! We were both successful, I bought a pair of sandals and boo bought 2 pairs of sneakers.


Breakfast time!


We headed to the terminal for Easy Jet, bound for Milan, Italy and the drive to Bordeaux from Arcachon took about an hour and it was a relatively pain-free wait, although the terminal is tiny and the cafe was completely full so we just sat around waiting sans food and coffee. The flight back to Milan took about 2 hours, and due to the weird timings, we had to stay in Milan for a night, before flying off the next day. MAD REGRET. We should have stayed longer because boo loves Italian food and I would have liked to have seen more of Milan.

At the Malpensa airport, boo bought two return tickets for the bus that would take us to Centrale Station (our accommodation was nearby). The ride took about an hour, and the gloomy weather also persisted in Milan, sadly. We walked about 10 minute lugging our suitcases to Vitruvio 43 Apartments. This was very strange to me because the serviced apartment we were staying at was located in a large old building which also housed a hotel and a bunch of offices. It's weird to me that a hotel can take up maybe just a floor within a whole building.

Even their train station is baller

Park area near Centrale Station


Bllllaaaaaaaeeeeeeuuuuuaaaaagggghhhhhh

Anyway, we had some trouble getting in because the doors were locked and visitors had to be buzzed in, but there was no call button for Vitruvio. We ended up going in when some people left the building and then went to a small room the size of a broom closet that had like one desk, a phone, and a scanner, and a lady sitting behind the desk. The building was kind of dark and really old so as she led us to the room in which we'd stay down another corridor, I was thinking, "Omg this is where I die". However, I was pleasantly surprised because when we reached the apartment, the interior was modern, clean and very spacious. Plus, boo said it was like much cheaper than one night in Arcachon so that seems like a steal. Even though, I guess then you have to weigh the fact that you think you might die in the elevator or something. Also, the boo got bitten by mosquitoes that night (we had seen a few in the room) so that was kind of a bummer.


Sorry I hadn't switched on the lights when I took this




While we were advised to take the train, we decided to walk a good half hour or so to the Plaza Duomo. It started getting kind of drizzly and I was beginning to regret suggesting to walk there but as we were on the way past a hotel, we bumped into Nyle Dimarco so that basically made everything better.  Hot celebrity sighting. Yes please. I was in awe, and was doing an internal pig squeal the whole time I was waiting to take a photo with him (he was in conversation with a deaf family and I really wished I knew sign language so I could join in the party because they were all truly pleased to have bumped into him).

PIG SQUEAL



Beautiful gothic architecture

At Plaza Duomo, we hit up the hugest Prada store I've ever seen. It was seriously such a beautifully designed store. The store was gigantic, and it was just for the women (the men's section was in a store across the plaza) and it even had abasement level where we made payment. However, I had heard from friends that staff tend to be really unfriendly and this turned out to be true. They were really aloof and barely looked at me when I walked in but I guess it kinda fits the vibe of such a cool place.



Secret basement of wonder

We'd also been advised to go to Rinascente, a department store, where we could buy Italian food produce and wander around. Rinascente was kind of a disappointment to me because I thought it'd be bigger, but the food section seemed surprisingly small, and the ceiling was really low, giving the already crowded place, an even squashier feel. Nonetheless, we stocked up on crazy amounts of olive oil, some cheese, and some truffle oil. Mmmm.

Chocolate shoes, you guys.



 
After some wandering, we headed for Risoelatte, a 60s style Italian diner that had pretty decent ratings on Trip Advisor. Dinner service apparently opens at 8.30pm and we were starving by then which explains what happened next... Between the two of us, we had FOUR mains, including a mandatory 2 person serving of risoelatte with cheese and speck, tortellini with ricotta, and spaghetti vongole. I really enjoyed the risoelatte and tortellini, but I think no one enjoyed the whole meal more than the boo. In his words (after tucking into the vongole), "mmm... mmm...Divine... Poseidon... King of the sea". 





Yup. Part of the decor. Or maybe the owner's laundry.


Risoelatte - tastes better than it looks

Tortellini yummyness

Poseidon with his winning meal

Tiramisu

after meal coffee is a must!

After an extremely filling dinner, we walked towards the train station and took a train from the Plaza back to Centrale Station. The absolute best thing about taking the train was that they allow dogs in the train so I made a friend on the ride back. Absolute heaven.

Hello cutie!

Plaza Duomo in nightfall - even chioer!

A big apple near Centrale Station

The next day we took the bus service early back to Malpensa airport and in the direction towards the airport, but beyond it, was beautiful mountain terrain which really made me miss the Dolomites. The longing to extend the vacation was overwhelming!

So this brings me to the end of the vacation to France and a little of Italy. I hope you've enjoyed reading about this. Can't wait till the next one!

Sad to go byebye
 
Key learnings:
  • Shops in Arcachon DO open on a Sunday between 10am to 10.30am. YAY!
  • The terminal for Easy Jet in Bordeaux is really small and hard to get a seat at the cafe so go early or go having already had your meal
  • There's kind of a lot of dog poop in Milan so watch your step!
  • The Vitruvio serviced apartment doesn't come with water, and doesn't have an electric kettle so we tried to boil some and it left a really weird film on top of the water so the boo ended up going out and buying mineral water. Bring your own water! 
  • If you want to eat at Risoelatte, if you haven't made a reservation, go early. But if you can't make it early, then make a reservation. We saw the waitress turn away two large groups who looked really sad.
  • As with most places, you can get tax refunds on branded goods, and they help you fill out the forms which you then bring to the airport VAT refund counters. There's a counter before you check in and the queue was phenomenally long. I guess you really have to go early. However, that's really for goods that you intend to check-in. There was a way less long queue at the counter beyond check-in, but I believe that's for items that you have in your hand-carry. Although they didn't end up checking.  
  • Don't forget that you need to go through immigration! So the boo and I went past the security point where we went through the scanners and whatnot and entered the main area filled with shops and food so obviously we started shopping again (we bought over 200 Euro of food from the airport). Then around the time when our gate was closer to closing, we headed towards the gate, and BOOM. Immigration. We forgot that we hadn't even gone through immigration. I had a slight panic attack but it was really efficient and we managed to get onto the plane with some time to spare (although we were one of the last on I think). 
  • Don't buy buffalo mozarella from the airport. It won't last the journey. Trust me.
Thanks for reading!