Hello from Brighton! I reached home yesterday after a long-haul flight, a take-off delay and a series of rather distressing events. Nevertheless, I bought myself two nice tins of hot chocolate from Whittard before stepping back into a most comforting flat, and D made me amazing enchilladas. Complete with lovely memories of the ten busy days in Singapore, I say, screw the bad. Or let the bad screw itself. Being in Unpacking Mode got me busy organising the flat again (makes me wonder if I might be unknowingly Virgo sometimes!), starting with errr, organising my teas and then The Dresser upstairs (last seen here). I can finally, safely, and proudly say it's now complete! And looking rather much like My Garden of Earthly Delights.
I used to approach many things in a rather utilitarian style, especially when it comes to furnishings. Perhaps due to a general lack of proper budget as a student, the only thing I really cared dressing up was myself. And other people, whenever hired to style them or give them complete makeovers. Or when starring at them and blurting out "This __ would look perfect on you!" Sure, I dreamed of beautiful rooms catered to my own taste, but somehow never managed to execute it. My dorm room in Cambridge was utilitarian too, with some attempt at spicing it up with monochrome vintage print-outs all over the walls. My first (real) own home at Brighton has given me the opportunity to learn how to furnish a place, and from the start I did believe that my dresser would be quite plain and simple-- just a chest of drawers with a top where I'd store my stuff. Then Sarah (of Cloud of Secrets) kept blowing me away with her delightful aesthetics. The way she stores, arranges and displays her beautiful possessions wheedled its way into my subconscious and made me start to rethink everything. It said, "Hey, it's not just about beautifying yourself and other people! It's the little things! Even the way you store your earrings!" Perusing Apartment Therapy almost everyday made me realise how much I always dreamed of storing everything beautifully, and that I was not the only one in this world with childhood fantasies of having a refrigerator with uniform and beautiful storage even-- that the innards of a drawer or a cupboard are as important as the outside, because what is the point of having pristine appearances and being chaotic and disorganised and unable to find your stuff?* I love to pull drawers open and see everything beautifully organised.
So I kept rerererereading Penny's post on her dressing table, her inspirations and her tips, and had to do something about mine. I wanted mine to be decadent, a place to display my beloved trinkets, and with pieces that evoke a smile in me when I look at them. Two days before leaving for Singapore, I found a Chinese store in Brighton with loads of oriental pieces. At the entrance, however, were buckets full of glorious faux fur. At reasonable prices! I ended up staying for half an hour (as compared to my normal five-minute-Grab-And-Go), chatted with the lady there, and went home with a few new pieces. Then I headed to my favourite vintage consignment store Snooper's Paradise and came out feeling like I was floating. . . Back in Singapore, I rounded up some more goodies from home (a.k.a. the things that I left that The Mother wouldn't use) and had fun manifesting The Dressing Table Of My Erstwhile-Unknown Dreams in a state of flow**. . .
*This philosophy also applies to the way I see life too. Inner cultivation as key, before outward appearances, even if I happily apply my mascara everyday.
**a.k.a. my favourite way to function
I bought myself two vintage martini glasses and a cut crystal vase over at Snooper's Paradise, and decided to fill them up with pearls-- which are too pretty to be left hanging on my wire drawers. The Indian bangle has been with me since I was two years old, and I still wear it today, whilst I picked up the vintage brooch from Singapore that my mother gave me eons ago. I love how its tassels stream down from the glass. The rose corsage was made by me whilst I was studying for my A-Levels economics paper-- oh how do I succumb to distractions all the time! I wear it pinned onto the straps of tank tops for that extra oomph, and putting it on display will remind me to use it. Rather than hide amongst all my other paraphernalia, only to be discovered with great relish every few months whenever I dig into my possessions.
The pearl brooch was a gift from Lulu's mother for me to use during formal dinners at Cambridge. Whilst that never happened, I did wear it for Kris' graduation. The grey-feathered headpiece was picked out by D during a recent Shopping Expedition, and the white lace piece is my mother's, recently brought back, for pinning onto low v-necklines for that tantalising combination of seductive lace with alleged modesty.
I added more fake flowers that I normally wear in my hair to the pink feathers adorning the vase from D's mother, and the painted jewelry holder was given by my mother during this trip.
nicknamedchristened the perforated white leather gloves draping over the white resin bust as Molestation, adorned with a gold necklace I wear very often. I love the simplicity of the concentric circles. The white orchids were given to me by my mother when I was about two years old. They are actually made of real orchids, plated with gold and paint. I found it back in 2009 in a box of jewelry my mother gave me to play with as a child, and hauled them to the UK, using some faded pieces for jewelry creation, and breathing new life into the other beautiful pieces. Wearing it during my holiday back this round made my mother exclaim, "Hey! I forgot about that! I wore that during my honeymoon", and we had a good laugh about The Jewelry Collection she gave me as a wee toddler. And the beautiful large pearl earrings that I wore here? From my lovely friend Vee who handed them to me during dinner, telling me, "I know you always stock up on Diva when you come back, so I'm helping you with it!"
The bronze snake is actually the last piece of a arm cuff I saw in Diva, and bought it. Because it's too large, I wear it around my neck instead. Hanging down my mirror, I imagine how the mythical snake in Genesis might have tempted Eve whilst slithering down the tree bearing The Forbidden Fruit. And hence the name The Garden of Earthly Delights. The green chinoiserie purses were just brought back from Singapore too-- they belonged to my late maternal grandmother, who had so many little purses and stuff. I think I picked the larger one up from her house as a child-- something she wanted to throw but somehow I liked it too much so I brought it home. Even though it continues to be as ink-stained and tattered as it was twenty years back, it channels memories and I will learn how to restore it or at least mend the rips. The shiny circular green thing next to the purses is a very large ring. The biggest I have owned to date.
The gold bird with the glittery body, and feathery tail is the counterpart to my fuchsia bird on the shelves downstairs. It was sitting too sadly on my table back in Singapore so I put it in a bag, hoped it was well-cushioned and she now perches proudly on the grey-and-white fur lining my dresser top. The heart shaped trays are from the same box The Best Friend gave me my 21st Birthday Cookie Cake in on the cruise-- whenever I see it I remember those days :) As seen from the first picture in this post, I also have a gold snake cuff and a leopard cuff accompanying the pretty gold bird. Complete with rings of rabbits, snakes, Satyrs, rams, and lions on the white resin hands, I think this is one crazy dresser after my own heart!
This brooch was recently brought back too. I remember ordering it from a blog shop in Singapore back in 2005. They had limited quantities of each creation and I loved how this felt like some emerald queen of the sea.
The bedside has finally been done up too! White faux fur from the same shop line the side of the bed, together with hats that I just brought back-- white for me, black for D's. I also recently found the incense burner in the symbol of the Tao, a constant reminder to seek Balance in my Path, whilst opium scents the room. D asked me why there was the transparent "NARS" card on his side. I told him it means he is a Narcissist, because when he first saw my NARS blush he said, "NARS stands for Narcissist isn't it, and appeals to all narcissistic peacocks". And I had to correct him that it is Francois Nar's surname.
This silver box contained my first ever Stila purchase. I was in junior college back then, and saved up quite a bit to get it, as Stila is very expensive in Singapore. I am still enamoured by their illustrations and the whimsical nature of their product packaging. This box contains cubby-holes, which is perfect for storing four different chain belts that I own-- two are my mother's, one is my late paternal grandmother's waist belt (practically an antique!), and another a charm belt from Guess? Standing behind it is a leopard-print vanity that Lulu gave me for my 22nd birthday-- she popped down specially to my neighbourhood whilst I was perming my hair just to give me that :) Just like the way she surprised me with a glorious 50s-style dress in the mail for my 24th birthday.
The border between the bedside and the staircase. Here you can see my jewelry box, a stash of books kept partly-organised in a damask-print letter holder, a Moroccan scarf hiding a suitcase, and a pretty pink wool jumper with a ruffled collar and pearl buttons from the lovely Dora. I have yet to wear it, as I am waiting for a day with amazing weather where I can showcase it in its full glory. And that proud hat with weaves of chiffon and suede? Also from Snooper's Paradise-- something I had to get!