About a year ago before I left Sing, The Best Friend told me, "P I don't know how you can dare to leave your whole life and start a brand new life elsewhere". Because I wasn't intending to go back to live anytime soon. And because I'd never been to Europe before, much less England. Knew no one in England (D wasn't back in the country yet). Basically I was walking into unknown turf with a few luggages I was struggling with and five boxes of stuff to be shipped over (also because D said, "ship everything", but I shipped half). This February, Denise excitedly Skyped me about some scheme for work in England. Oh God. My best friend coming to live in England?? What could be better! March and April followed, she underwent interviews and called me up, "P I GOT THE JOB!". Mid-September came, and she landed in England for the first time too. About two weeks ago, I took a break from packing up my dorm room and boarded the train to Stevenage. It was certainly slightly surreal that we are both in the UK. "Why are you so dressed up?" she asked me "It's just the cape. And I'm meeting you I have to look good", I replied. "You know I was panicking because I was meeting you and my skirts are all being shipped over. I have to dress up to meet you too!" she laughed. And off we went for lunch and to celebrate her birthday with her colleague batch from Sing, before heading off to shop on our own and where I introduced her to English Cream Tea With Scones And Clotted Cream for the first time. As we walked to her temporary accommodation we were musing about how natural it felt that we were both on a foreign land and adjusted quickly. . and it just seemed very matter-of-factly that we were both here eight years since we've known each other. We then shopped online for furniture (since she's moving into her own first real place too!) and tried on each other's stuff laughing at how Becks & Suze it feels. You see, we both love the Shopaholic series, appealing to the vain frivolities in us, which we discovered when we were eighteen. Except we can never be sure who is really Becks and who is Suze-- perhaps a combination-- and I'm sure that neither of us want a Tarkie (although he looked surprisingly good in the movie). She thinks D sounds exactly like Luke, which makes me laugh, and then I remembered reading something in Mini Shopaholic that sounds something like "Tarquin adores Suze so much [...] whilst Luke always looks at me with suspicion as though I am up to no good all the time. Which I am not." That sentence hit me hard. D always thinks I am up to no good-- I can't help having a cheeky face, it's been there since young!-- even when I'm just smiling whilst innocently shopping he'll tell his mom (who also thinks I'm cheeky. Oh God) I have something up my (non-existent) sleeves. We then proceeded to take loads of photographs, happy that we're both at last able to revel in coats and boots that we could only dream of and try for fun in Zara whilst living in tropical Singapore. . .
- Denise was exclaiming to me "P I love your dress! Where did you get it from?" and I had to tell her in hushed tones I've had it since I was 12 years old. Back then I'd only get new clothes for Chinese New Year and Christmas so I believe this was for CNY. Except that this dress is still a little long and so I have to 'skankify' it with my mother's gold chain belt with cherubs popping out paradoxically. Instant dress surgery is laudworthy.
- Capes instantly add a major oomph to any look. Even when you pair it with some grotty cardigan that you got for £2 off ebay.
- Found a gorgeous shop in Stevenage selling really pretty jewelry. This gorgeous spider ring bears testament.
- As citizens of safe Singapore (a.k.a. Disneyland with the Death Penalty) people are generally worried about crime and being mugged. She voiced the same concerns too. So I tell her, I always hold up my rings and sometimes I see people turn pale. They really are weapons, because I accidentally injured D with one before-- it was a mild injury anyway. And re Scary Taxi Drivers (as she raised) most always ask me what I am doing here. So I just say I'm doing Criminology. And everybody shuts up. Yay! I've seen some TryingToHitOnYou people turn a little pale too. Which is quite hilarious.
- The owl two-finger ring was only £2 from Primark. Okay, a little absurd to wear owls on your fingers when traditional knuckledusters are meant to be fierce. But maybe we all like absurdism.
vermilion Bossini dress; Karen Millen fur cape; brown long George cardigan; Diva, Primark rings; my Mother's gold chain belt; Miu Miu handbag; Warehouse cuff; F&F dark chocolate lace up boots; Primark earrings
We were having so much fun furniture-shopping and snapping photographs that we forgot to eat. As Murphy's Law would have it, we queued up for ages at some Chinese restaurant with some Eat All You Want menu, and were. . the last and only people queuing. We ate so much that people passing our table were smiling and chatting us regarding our appetites. God, I love people who can eat. Whilst we reminisced about old times and were chatting about the cruise we took in July 2007-- a.k.a. my maiden voyage-- where we had so much fun, ate so much (well, at least seven meals a day), came back massively charred, and had an awesome slumber party. She was telling me that she was looking at the photographs, which I dug up, and decided . . they're too nice not to post up, even if they are three years old! Plus, Stylenotes still relevant here. Photofest coming your way. . .
I remember us calling each other up frantically over how little to pack, promising ourselves not to go overboard with photographs (and hence not bringing battery chargers), and her commanding me not to wear any accessories because we were going off to Patong Beach and had to "look not-rich" in order to bargain. So in the end I bargained with her to let me wear wood jewelry, quipping to myself "All I am left with is . . wood!?" And of course, when we met up, we burst out laughing that we came in the same pair of wedges. So there we were, being shutter-happy whilst we explored our way through the ship, SuperstarVirgo, also the largest cruise ship in the Superstar series, watching the sun kiss the sea as it set.
- I found my chiffon dress I got from Perth for a mere steal at AUD$5 lying in the corner of some shop. I thought it was absolutely divine but perhaps the colours were a little too bright and hence there were piles of it left in the shop. Because I somehow gravitate towards colourful/odd things I had to buy it, what more it had a peacock-like tail!
- Wedges are perfect for doing loads of walking in and for adding some height if you like to think of yourself as taller, like to see your legs nicer, or if like me, you're the In-House Midget in your family (and have a boyfriend who is 30cm taller). Somehow I thought this pair reminds me of Phoebe in Charmed for her quirky taste.
- Here I take the opportunity to mourn my red bag I got in Perth. I loved it so much, but as all faux-leather stories go, it molted eventually. Loved how I would carry my MacBook to school and around the world in it.
- White capris always channel that holiday and ocean feel. Paired with a white leather belt (am anal like that).
One of our aims was to have a slumber party, and before embarking on the cruise we'd trooped down to La Senza to buy pajamas. I chose this happy bright heart-printed one, knowing I'd wear it often. We got changed, put on some music, and set about to eat chocolates, chat and. . camwhore! What better than to enjoy yourself and have documented memories that you can muse about many years later when you're both in England? Below we were pretending to be lost, and then messing around with the lifejackets realising we were channeling Starship Troopers! Being the poor undergraduates that we were, we opted for the cheapest room with a picture of a window where the actual window was supposed to be. Nevertheless, a little imagination makes up for everything else!
Denise had reminded me repeatedly to dress down, because she knows I am notorious for being unable to. I'd frantically gathered all the casual things I could find (plus stole some of hers, I think), including a pair of garden slippers that belongs to my father. On the first day, our ship was due to dock in a few locations, and we chose Patong Beach, one of the last destinations, meaning the ship was almost empty by the time it was our turn. Wandering around the children's deck to kill time, we couldn't help but co-opt the children's stuff too. As part of some tourist deal or something, we were sent to this gemstone factory called Wang Talang (God! I can still remember the name!) and were mightily upset about being cheated of our shopping time. So I decided to pick out some nice jewelry thinking they all seemed quite cheap, until this particular ruby one I pulled out was priced at twenty times more I nearly fainted, cursing myself for always gravitating towards expensive loot. We walked all along Patong Beach, which was a rather long stretch, but the exhilaration of bagging awesome bargains and great company (she even taught me how to bargain!) meant that in two hours' time we had miraculously finished. She told me she took much longer the last time she went there. I can only conclude, things speed up around me as people love to complain that I am way too fast (which gets me upset because I swear I have slowed down I am going demented). We ventured for fresh seafood and had a massive spread, counting baht and pretending to be rich, stumbling onto Baskin Robbins before making our way back to the ship. Where we continued to embark towards supper, piling up our Prison Trays (they were orange!) and munching away into the night.
Our next destination was Langkawi, a Malaysian island, where we spent loads of time baking in the sun at The Lake of the Pregnant Maiden, feeling cheated that the 'eagle feeding' we signed up for entailed us craning our necks and squinting at eagles in the sky from the water, and then going to some beach for buffet lunch. We went banana boating after that, made friends with a friendly couple who . . well, never gave us the photographs they took of us. I swear I have millions of photos at large in people's cameras that they promised to send me but never do (and N days/months/years later if they scroll through said memory card, they'd probably go who the hell is that?) By the end of the day, we were so sunburnt (those were the days when I liked myself tanned) our bodies were stinging, because we were too smug to bring sunblock. Ahh, the folly of brash youth!
Some dresses we'd picked up from Patong which we *had* to wear! Another reason to pack light: you can always pick up new clothes on your holiday if you snag good finds :) Both dresses were about £1 each only. And brand new! It was a full moon the night before-- a magnificent sight to behold on a massive ship whilst peering down into mysterious velveteen waters beneath. We awoke for sunrise on the second morning. . it was a rather gloomy morning but we got dressed up for watching the sunset. . in my new dress of course!
- The gold flats were one of my few flat-heeled purchases that broke my NotMoreThanSGD$10 rule. Because it was so pretty, and I needed a pair of flats for my holiday to Australia a few months before this one.
- Scarves, too, are awesome substitutes for belts-- especially when they're colourful and cheery. Also useful when you're traveling and need to cinch your waist but you know the hassle of removing your belt at Customs. . .
- A long leather wallet/organiser doubles up as a clutch
On our last night we had a gala dinner where the food was absolutely divine and the displays a little theatrical. I think Denise had been eyeing my orange dress since the time she saw it so she borrowed it for the dinner. We got some champagne from the main hall and celebrated my birthday in advance. . Here I wore a ruched Marciano shirt dress, one of my best purchases ever.
And now that we're both in the UK, I'm crossing my fingers and thinking we could go for loads of exotic cruises too!
P.S. Thank you for continuing to drop by Devilishly Pleasurable despite an extremely sluggish September with house-hunting and moving and all! Have a glorious week ahead :)
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