russian spy and full moon ritual

Hello from tropical Singapore! After three hours of sleep due to the Takes Forever Process of finding the cheapest (and most efficient) way to travel to Heathrow, I worked for a few hours, went back and finished up my packing and made the beginning of my trip out of the cold and into the hot. I was a little stunned that I fitted everything, including a spare duffel, into my tiny unexpanded luggage, which was a shocking 12.7kg when weighed at the bag drop-- contrary to all the times when I make the limit by the skin of my teeth or try to smile my way through. As I hugged D goodbye, The Chocolate Robber appeared from nowhere and tore up the stairs into the flat, so the busy man has some other feline company* whilst rushing on his projects.

At 630pm on Friday, I landed in Changi airport after a most comfortable flight due to ample legroom as I managed to secure front-row seats by the exit. I also literally conked off the moment I sat down, and had to be awoken by the kind lady next to me lest I missed my meals-- most strange behaviour exhibited by myself given how I love being wide-awake and bushy-tailed whilst flying. As they opened the airplane windows after our 'night flight' and served us breakfast an hour before landing, the sun was shining in the sky and I couldn't help smiling to myself. Zipped through the automatic customs for citizens in the gorgeous Changi Airport**, and boy did it feel good to be home! After picking up more presents for my father at Duty Free, I spied my luggage on the conveyor belt, ran towards it, and then my brother mysteriously appeared out of nowhere whilst my parents were smiling. Oh yes, I'm home. And I couldn't be happier, although a part of me does wish D could be here too***.  Then there's been food, food and more food, with loads of Chinese New Year goodies everywhere and me going, "Slow down, I can't eat everything at once!" Haha. I happily unveiled dresses and lipsticks for my mother which she was happily trying on, and hugged my cats who were meowing away to some most lyrical chorus whilst dancing around the room, true to their elegant nature.

This morning I showed up unannounced at the SPCA (where I spent six years of my Saturday mornings/afternoons) and it was awesome to meet up with my friends there and see their delighted faces, whilst giving as many hugs as I could to all the gorgeous animals there. This post was half-written whilst I was in Brighton, and I'm filling it up as I lie on my bed and hug my familiar pillows, whilst reminding myself to buy fatter pillows back in Brighton. . .

*Since he thinks I am a cat. 
**The airport is so pretty and with so many shops and food that people go to the airport for fun
*** Even though I kinda think that if he goes house-visiting with me during Chinese New Year, everybody will think I'm married and won't give me red packets (containing money)-- oh the perks of being young and unmarried!


I always feel an inexplicable sense of restlessness on Sunday evenings. Actually, I start getting bored and then restless if I'm indoors between 730pm and 10pm everyday, before getting either insanely productive or wildly creative. No idea why, but the restlessness then degenerates into sleepiness; and the problem is intensified on Sundays. It's been this way since I was a wee child. So this Sunday, I found my fake fringe. Rather than to look in the mirror and snip off my bangs the way I did back in August, I played with a fake fringe instead, which I bought to pretend to be a stranger when D was due to visit in Cambridge one Friday. Set a location to meet, wait from the bookstore opposite and ambush. Okay, I play too many jokes on people but can't help that. Anyhows, I decided to sweep the bangs sideways and Play Pretend again. This time, continuing on my weekend theme of Russian Spy a.k.a. Evelyn Salt. No idea why but it keeps running through my head. Huge fur collar over the existing slip I was wearing, pale pink lipgloss, and vintage perforated white leather gloves later, I was feeling it. "Are you playing dress up?" he went, all amused, "I saw you prancing in front of the mirror!". Fine. I thought he was busy writing music and didn't notice, all happy with new toys. So I put on more clothes and we went for a walk, telling D I am his new girlfriend (since he insists I look different again), still feeling like a Russian Spy. It must be something in the stars.

The other shots here are that of the Full Moon nights. I love to light a few candles-- this time I've got a big red 'bomb' candle from Habitat and vanilla-scented tealights. You have to love sales, or you'd go broke from purchasing candles. Pillar candles at the end of their lives are good 'tealight holders', whilst the flat gets scented with a mixture of frankincense, black pepper, ylang ylang and sage.



This was another of D's Breakfasts on Wednesday before I left. He's always asking if I have to go to work "so I can cook you breakfast". These basil mushrooms were wicked. I feel very very very lucky because it is one thing for a man to treat you to fancy meals, and it is another for him to prepare them himself :) Although he loves to joke that I'm with him because he can cook since I'm a greedy girl.

The night before I left, he even went out in the cold to get extra ingredients so he could do the lamb Moroccan-style. I had no idea he was planning on something so elaborate, because he was dead exhausted from working so hard. There was roasted lamb marinated with Middle Eastern spices served on a bed of cous cous with dried fruit, dressed with spiced Greek yoghurt. On the side was a three bean, tomato, shallot, spring onion and white onion salad drizzled with olive oil and lemon juice; as well as a dollop of humus to go with the pita bread.

Off to bed now. .  Hopefully we'll see a Singapore post up within the next few days. . I do suspect I might be so busy over here I'd end up conking off when for days when I get back to the UK! Catch up with your blogs soon, and thank you as always for stopping by xxx

i saw three ships come sailing by

I'm just about to fly back to Singapore and this is a timed post. I'm guessing that by now, I've taken the 2-hour ride to Heathrow, checked in three hours early, and then am waiting to sit on the 13-hour flight back. My second leg of the return ticket was expiring soon, and after the ordeal last December, I finally got the passport back and stopped feeling like an alien. So one more big expenditure (why are flights so expensive!) but I'll be home for Chinese New Year-- a time of warmth and festivities, and not to mention awesome food. 2009/10 was the first time I spent CNY and Christmas away from home, so I'm really glad to go back this time. Presents were bought on Monday (I think they're all gonna love it) as compared to the last round when it was hasty and I didn't buy things for many people. Funny how being caught in a sort of financial bind can make you slightly more generous, but it's for the people I love. These pictures were taken on my last trip back in April-- a 1.5 week trip that I extended to 3+ weeks because my students were sweet enough to ask me to teach them despite the brevity of the vacation. As usual, Lulu was the mastermind behind these gorgeous shots, taken on the beach near her sister's seaside house which we stayed over at, with many fond memories of us studying for our political sociology paper there, a PJ party and loads of camwhoring. The dress was new, purchased when us four went on an impromptu shopping trip after a Rice Table session and slightly traumatised by lecherous-looking people who took our photos without permission at dinner; but we picked up pretty summer dresses after that before embarking on a mad Durian Fest by the roadside and a crazy night of non-stop yakking. Lulu and I were left by the next day after lunch and threading, and I can't wait to see her again. It was a little strange how my hair was oddly straight that morning, and I did not pack a belt into my overnighter bag, making the look a little not me, and what Lulu called "Pocahontas".

I hope I'll be able to blog from Singapore, or at least put in a few filler posts in the meantime! See you soon xxx

lethal weaponous silver dancing nails

You must be bored of my shelves and dresser and miscellaneous Lair exploits by now, so this will probably be one of the last few! I think I've finally gotten my glass shelves downstairs sorted out-- isn't it funny how upon looking back you feel that the old iterations look terrible? Anyhows I suppose all these take time to build up. The dresser stands like this for now, with a white resin bust and two white hands bearing my rings. Like Penny showed us here, my dresser in my tiny flat is actually a chest of drawers, but I love it nonetheless. I am still thinking something's missing here. I continue to peruse the gorgeous options Penny picked out, and hope I will soon be satisfied with the dresser!


I am really loving the shelves downstairs right now. They look and feel right :)



The velvet bust finally arrived so I could shift my candles to flank the gold mirror. It was slightly smaller than I expected, but I love the character it exudes. AND, I found the Thai Dancing Nails hiding in my mini vintage trunk by my bedside. I bought them when I first moved to the UK, convinced by Lulu and loving the sensuality behind them. Unfortunately, D thinks they are dangerous and weaponous. He thinks I keep buying weapons. But they are too beautiful to not display. So I got myself another black resin hand, stuck the nails on them, and voila. Pleased as punch, and purring like a mad cat.


how to make everyone drool over your winter coat

 original images via here and here

I used to fantasise about winter coats all the time. The Best Friend and I would nip into Zara, try on all sorts of coats and drool. Whilst knowing that my limit would be buying sharp workwear when I was a student, or fuzzy cardigans in tropical Singapore, it would be massively insane for me to splurge on trench coats. Not even for vacations. Perhaps just a simple coat or a puffer jacket. Then in the dizzying chain of events between March and October 2009 where I received my acceptance letter and subsequently prepared to ship myself off, I assembled a 'starter kit' of trench coats. That collection, of course, expanded in the first two months when I landed in the UK. One year later, I think I am slightly wiser about Dressing Up The Winter Coat-- THE piece de resistance of your outfit. Because sometimes, you never remove it, nobody really gets to see what's beneath. So, puff up your shiny plume, dress yourself up and amp out the outer beauty ;) 

original images via here, here and here

Not all coats fit properly. Sometimes we find such irresistibly-beautiful ones in thrift stores or via other miscellaneous sources online but they might be that tad too big. Here's the belt to the rescue-- for a nipped waist, and a more flattering fit. Besides, not all of us look good in straight-cut clothes so the belt feels like sweet salvation. The best belts for coats, to me, are chain belts. They hook on and off easily, rather than having to deal with buckles. For a starter kit, a gold one and a silver one would suffice to match colour palettes and jewelry. And, the best thing about these belts is that they can be found easily in vintage or charity stores.

the vampiress' tale


Sometimes I wonder how bad can I get. These shots were taken eons ago, on the day I caved in to expensive haircuts in the UK and snipped off part of my thick locks since they were driving me crazy. The hair stylist (a really nice girl!) decided to give me a volumising-cum-straightening blowdry, which I had to take photographs of, because it's not everyday that my hair is straight. Walking back from the pub, I told D I wanted Vampire Shots, because of The Vampire Lipstick (also seen here). So he directed me to the dilapidated-looking estate (well, it looks like that in the dark), turned on the flash, took about ten shots and ran off before anyone could see us. Today I decided to atone for my badness and am hence posting another one, complete with some story I conjured. I've been awake for 17 hours, and am about to run off for the weekend. Happy weekend everybody xxx

Henne red cashmere coat; Dolce & Gabanna shoes; thrifted mini skirt; Mango top; no brand black tights; Diva ring; Marble Ink black leather bag.

stylish blogger award- thank you! x

The lovely Dora of Vintage Passions Just Like Mine and Josceline of Succeeding at Failing conferred upon me my second blog award.
Here's what I have to do:
1)Thank and link back to the person who awarded you this award.
2)Share 7 things about yourself
3)Award 10 recently discovered great bloggers.
4)Contact these bloggers and tell them about the award

Let's see, seven things about myself:


 Ms K & myself since 2004

I love cats-- it is in my blood. Whilst you often see The Chocolate Robber (here and here) in my posts, the main feline love of my life is Ms K, my black-and-white beauty with the expressive face and the large puppy eyes. She who loves to scream in photos as though she is abused, watch out for me from the study windows upstairs and run to the door like my loyal dog, and must be stroked and talked to in order for her to eat her food. Here's what I wrote about her a while back:

" I have four family cats back in Singers. This is my absolute favourite, not because of her colour or the fact that her facial and hind markings are perfectly symmetrical (I'd only realised months after adopting her, which makes it even sweeter, kinda like how happy I was when I realised D is actually a cordon-bleu chef masquerading as a designer) but because there was that something in her. I met her on the first day of volunteer duties at the SPCA and I knew she would be my cat. But, my father is vehemently anti-cats. Week by week, every other cat got adopted, but magically, this cat somehow never got chosen. Which was rather mysterious because she was the best-looking cat there (seriously! and there were loads of ugly cats). 13 months later, I finally convinced The Mother to engage in a smuggling mission with me (needed her to sign the papers because I was underaged). Execute first, face the music later-- 先斩后奏. And one stormy Monday morning on the 27th September 2004, Ms K went home with us in a taxi, to the backdrop of howling winds and merciless rains. And beyond everything else of what a wonderful (sometimes snobbish, sometimes loving) cat she is, She Who Looks More Soft Toy Than A Soft Toy has a crazy knack for shoes that I find both amusing and endearing. When I walk in with a new paperbag nestling a box of shoes, she will wake up and charge towards me, knocking things over (she never does that normally) and paw the bag. She'll sniff the shoes with glazed eyes and look a little high as she marks her territory (and brands her seal of approval) on them. I've never met cats like that before. So sometimes I miss her reaction whenever I buy new shoes here. Luckily for me, D shares in my shoexcitement too."

26 August 2008

three hours of beautification

Yesterday was an intense brain-draining day. After I was done with work, I was rushing a report out for a client last night, and ended up finishing at 7am. This meant that instead of sleeping tonight five hours after I awoke, I put on some jazz, lit the flat with candles, scenting it with ylang ylang, sage and black pepper, and kicked back to relax. Then I looked at the mess that I had made over the past few weeks-- deliveries since preprepre-Christmas that had just arrived recently due to snow delays, laundry hanging around the bathroom, the kitchen that looked like a bomb had just exploded in it. I shifted to Chambermaid mode*. And then I decided, it was time to kick off my decoration plans. I had pledged to stop buying stuff for the house pre-Christmas until finances start improving**. All I had were four new white feather boas, inspired by the restaurant we went to during New Year's Eve. With all the ideas ticking about in my head all the time, I rubbed my hands in glee and started shifting stuff around the house.

 *My mother would be so proud. D was shocked that all my life I have magically evaded housework so I had to clarify that my (younger) brother knows housework, just that I started to earn and therefore paid him to do my share. "I am going to have words with your mother" he said, instead of offering to mop the floor when I admitted I have no idea how to do it and called the dustpan "small sweeping device". To which I sheepishly admitted, "I thought that when I grew up I would have maids" and he burst out laughing. In my defense, though, in the past year I have learned how to sweep the floor, wash dishes, change the sheets, do the laundry, etcetera amen. Vast improvement. Oh God, why am I justifying. 

 **But seeing that I will be a student for the next N years, it is hard to imagine just when.

The three-way gold mirror came downstairs. I got it from a Gumtree ad***, and picked it up the day I moved. It has since been cleaned and the horrible sticker removed. And ooh, I found a use for my Egyptian beaded headpiece I got from my bellydancing class back in Singapore. My teacher always brought back so many beautiful things from Egypt, every lesson I couldn't resist but buy something. . Those were the days.
***To this day, The Best Friend still thinks I am lying when I insisted it is £10 only. 


I  always feel like Cleopatra in that headpiece :)

creationism in black and white


I feel the urge to create coming back, beyond the card I illustrated for my cousin's wedding (which she used as part of her wedding presentation!) and the Tearing Wax Candle Holders I made. This is a welcome move as I had a dry spell for an entire year apart from a few random sketches where my pen surreptitiously moved inside my notebook pages. I got reminded of the long pair of gloves I studded sometime back in Singapore in preparation for Cambridge life (yeah right, more like I was being vain), and a set of photographs that showcased them. . 

The emphasis being on the accessories here-- a faux fur collar and long black leather gloves. It's so hard to find huge dangerous-looking studs back in Singapore. Of course there was Ebay UK and US, but delivery charges were a bit insane for a tiny packet, I decided to practice extreme delay of gratification. I was so happy to find a children's Stud Your T-Shirt With Mickey Mouse set in a 7-11 store whilst waiting for my friend to pick me up from the bus interchange. Of course, I wasn't planning on having a silver Mickey silhouette on my tee, but I love buying crafting materials knowing I will use them someday* . And so when I found these gloves from m)phosis on major discount, I knew I was going to get Stud Happy with them.

Back to The Look-- bold eyes did the trick here, together with juicy coral lips (see first picture of this post for a better idea).

*Imagine when you decide to make necklaces in the middle of the night you have to source online and wait for delivery till they come?

Studding is done both at the base and then it radiates upwards from the base of your thumb towards your index finger to simulate a ring. Jewelry and accessories-- purrfect for greedy souls like myself.

Finally, I arrived in the UK. Ebay delivery fees were £2 instead of £20. So I ordered myself a large packet of mixed studs. But I had no urge to create anything in Cambridge. Actually I had little urge for many things there. So the studs sat in my Craft Boxes, together with the millions of things that needed repairs involving hot glue guns, wires and pliers. Last night I remembered how I used to create stuff whilst watching the telly. You see, I stopped watching tv back in 2007 or 2008, apart from the occasional drama when I was sitting with my family whilst having dinner. They always say that family dinners with the tv is bad for your family as it reduces the dynamics, but in my family, everybody talks, laughs, discusses and gets distracted, telly time involves a lot of interaction. Okay, why am I talking about that now. It was scary that so much time gets eaten up with television. Say, you start at 7pm and then you end at midnight. And then you watch all the US drama serials freshly broadcasted on the internet for another few hours (I've never had cable before-- people think I'm poor for that lol), you have no more time left. Plus I also started working very very hard.

Quite possibly because yesterday was Epiphany, I had my own epiphany that our Stargate Atlantis marathons** were . . tv! And that I had ordered new soft leather gloves. . and that I had so many things I wanted to create. . and that I had finished up loads of work earlier before Christmas just so I could craft. Then The Bad Unjust Apocalyptic News hit. Then there was the holiday season. Then. . The Epiphany. 

**I am going to become Fashion Blog That Mentions Stargate The Most. 

So I crept into my storage cupboards and pulled out my tools. And assembled together likely designs. Finally I decided to Be Greedy. Et voila, asymmetrical gloves! Complete with a 'ring' on the right side. Because you should Be Greedy.

And whilst we are at it, I also created this ruffled collar|necklace back in Singapore. Made of ruched black fabric, a silver chain across its center hooks it into place. I just realised it's perfect with the many turtlenecks one can wear this winter season. The photography is terrible, but it's the middle of the night and the light upstairs leaves much to be desired. .

Instead of sleeping last night after doing up my gloves, I starred at my many necklaces hanging in my bedroom. Many of which, were sort of nice but not really my type. Sometimes snapped up during massive sales because I loved certain elements, at other times out of impulse. But as my style evolves, loads of them no longer cut it for me. Together with bits of broken jewelry in my craft boxes, ribbons, lace and other materials classified under 'Will Come In Useful Some Day', I laid many pieces on the floor, hung some up on hangers, and started to play around.

This was a ring that I hardly wear anymore, but love the design still. And therefore decided to incorporate it, together with a lace bow and a vintage brooch from my mother's box. I remember that box since my childhood-- a small rectangular wooden box from India with beautiful carvings and shiny bits on top. In it contained some beautiful brooches, of which she gave me a few. Whenever I think of The Mother Vs. Yours Truly, I think of her as stylish, polished and classy and myself as chameleonic, sometimes a bit cheap in terms of taste (i.e. high-street ripoffs) and then I hang my head down in shame like Tom Dooley. Whilst striving to improve myself, of which I do believe (and not in a delusional sense) that considerable advancement has been attained.

Definitely loving this creation of mine :)

Technically, this is not a creation, but rather some inspiration that struck me like a bolt of lightning. These two necklaces would be awesome layered together.

And my final piece of the past 24 hours-- an asymmetrical layered necklace. The curved silver bits came from a multiple tiered piece that was a little too delicate for my liking, so I decided to make it a little chunkier. As I assembled together chain links, pearls, silver cords and the large black mirrored gem (of which I modified the border from gold to silver), I started grinning to myself. This piece evokes the ornaments and embellishments that early humans in ancient settlements would wear to demarcate the social class they belonged to-- markers of differentiation that are deep within one's primal origins. Also, that today's symbols for vanity in accessorising has got much deeper roots. And hence I christened it Upper Echelons.

Hope you've enjoyed this post. . Thank you for the New Year wishes . . and I definitely hope to meet at least some of you this year! xxx

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