Tuesday, December 30, 2008

New Year/Decade (Fashion) Resolution.

I don't know what got into me today. Suddenly I realised that that the new year is just a day odd away and I am about to be in my very very late 20s. As I recalled and went through my mental checklist which I came up with when I turned 20, I must say that I am proud of myself. I have accomplished what I wanted to do in this decade except for the one terribly (recently turned) uncertain bit of having children. 

I proceeded to think of what's left of my late twenties and what I aim to accomplish in my 30s. One thing for sure, I need to clean out my wardrobe. A month back, I acquired (what I deemed as the style wake up call) a simple Winter 2006 black Lanvin dress (cheaply) through ebay. Apparently, I have no qualms of wearing past season pieces or someone else's wardrobe discard. I think it is time to start buying a couple of nice classic pieces for my wardrobe. I want to grow old gracefully, to find my signature look or style. I think the late 20s and 30s may just be the time to do that.

I am pretty sure that I don't want to be a 30 something and still dressing like a teen or in my twenties. I need to wear more tailored outfits and dress better. After all, impressions do count.

Check out the outfits that I have picked for my style inspiration for my 30s. Designers that I love are Marni, Dries Van Noten, some Martin Margiela, Phillip Lim, YSL and Lanvin.

Dries Van Noten top. Love the detailing and lovely cutting.

Marni short sleeve ruffled top. Love the drama.

Lanvin Ruched Muslin top. This could be great for a Friday.

Dries Van Noten Dress. Fine. I admit, I love Dries Van Noten so much that I had to wear his dress down the aisle.

3.1 Phillip Lim double fan dress.

Monday, December 29, 2008

The Dolder Grand Hotel, Zurich.

This is my disclaimer: I love design. If I sound upset or enraged, it is because I am passionate.

Now that this is out of the way, it is my honour to be showcasing one of the most stunning hotels that has just opened, The Dolder Grand Hotel. The lovely hotel was opened in 1899 as a Spa Hotel ("Curhaus") and was closed in 2004 for an extensive renovation. After 4 years of rest, the hotel reopened in April 2008 rejuvenated after its long beauty sleep. The hotel's renovation costs SFR420 million and it's no wonder especially when the architect was Sir Norman Foster (no introductions needed), the interior was done by United Designers (who have done quite a few notable projects like Metropolitan Hotel, London, Four Seasons Hotel, Canary Wharf) and veteran Spa planner and designer, Sylvia Sepielli. It is obvious that the owners are after the best craftsmen the universe can offer, and they have successfully put together the right team.

The restoration maintained the original appearance from 1899, and several buildings that were added in the 1920's were removed. Additionally, there were two new wings added, adjancent to the old building. Under the old foundations there were two additional floors added. Not only the architecture, but also the hotel concept went back to its origins - now it is positioned as a luxourious spa hotel (before it was marketed as just a luxury hotel).

All the bath furniture is Villeroy & Boch, with gold fittings. Everything there is designer-named (even the garbage pail is Brabantia). Main toiletries are Kerstin Florian but they have included Farfalle pure relaxation and pure vitality oils. The minibar’s champagne is Veuve Clicquot, and all the glassware, of course, is Riedel. Why would you expect anything less in a room of a luxury hotel?

Now where I am a tat upset about is the fact that in Singapore, we are about to have a new Sir Norman Foster designed hotel (sorry, I shan't name the hotel, but enough clues given to start your hunt). It is of the same concept. The old buildings marry the new annexes and together are to create the perfect union of east and west, old and new; the best definition of our Singapore heritage and roots. However, after seeing this gorgeous hotel and also because this hotel opened earlier than ours, I feel short changed. Why? The annexes of both the main buildings of the hotels are uncannily similar. Both of them have a heritage building flanked by curved, glassy annexes. What happened? Designer's block? My initial excitement to see the new hotel in Singapore has been eclipsed by disappointment.

Nevertheless, The Dolder Grand Hotel is a stunner. With such a beautiful location and well thought of creature comfort to boot, forking out SFR 540 to 3700 a night to bask in its beauty may be well worth it.

The exterior of the hotel.

View of the hotel at night.

Exterior view of the new Annex.

The lovely stone walls reflecting off the dark floors.

The lobby.


The Junior Suite.

One of the halls.

The Ballroom and it's magnificent ceiling.

Their decorative pools.

The pool at the Spa.

The Garden Restaurant.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Farnsworth House.

To me, this is the most beautiful house in the world. I love the simplicity of the steel and glass structure. I believe that good architecture takes into account the surroundings; the landscape of which the building is going to be part of. It should incorporate the beauty of the world outside into its design.

The Farnsworth House is the perfect example of this. It is built in Plano, Illinois by the Fox River. It was built in 1951 and designed by the famous German architect, Mies van der Rohe. The house is part of the National Trust for Historic Preservation. 

Why am I featuring this house (besides the fact that it is one of my favourite buildings) is that in September 2008, tropical storm Lowell, flooded the flood plains (which the house is on) by 8 feet higher than its normal water level. The house has already been elevated by 5 feet and it was not enough to stop the water from entering the house. The interiors of the house was covered in 2 feet of water. Fortunately, the employees saved the furniture by boat.

Anyway the house is opened for tours again even though light restoration work is underway. 

The Farnsworth House taken on the 18th Dec 2008. It looks beautiful in winter.

View of the House from the inside.

Look at how beautiful the trees look from the house.

The Farnsworth House in Autumn.

Chairs lined by the glass wall.

The living room of the house.

The Floods in September 2008. 

This is how the house should sit above flood waters.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Merry Christmas From Strathmore Avenue.

It's no surprise that Christmas is my favourite season of the year. Who doesn't love turkey, ham, fruitcake, log cake, or egg nog? Surely, not me.

This Christmas is very special for us. It is our first Christmas in our new home. We will be having a very small party at home with close friends pigging out in home baked turkey, glazed ham, fruitcake (complete with marzipan and royal icing), salad and pasta. I can't wait.

Enjoy your time with family and friends. Merry Christmas!

My version of a Christmas tree.

Our small Wreath.

Home made Gingerbread cookies for Friends.

This year's Design of the Wrapping of our Presents that some Friends will receive. 

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Janna Connor.

Every now and then, there comes along an amazing jeweller. Janna Connor designs easy to wear, semi-precious jewellery which are simple, whimsical and with a hint of "gypsy" charm. Her designs are inspired by her love for traveling. She holds degree in Chinese history from UCLA and has lived in Hong Kong. Impressive.

Gold Irina Necklace. I especially like this one; very delicate and pretty. This would make any girl wear her initial (or the initial of her lover) around her neck with pride. USD$ 96

Gold Thierry Necklace. A double strand necklace with a fresh water pearl, gold bead and a smokey quartz. I love smokey quartz. The colour is so mesmerizing. USD$ 159

Gold Long Etoile Necklace. As the chain is thin, from a distance, this would look as though the stars are suspended around your neck. USD$ 141

Gold Lien Stackable Rings. These come in sets of 3. This has such a raw look. Wear one, two or all three together. This is sure to draw curious questions of envy. USD$ 171 

Gold Large Tawny Earrings. I love the incorporation of nature into jewellery as well as the milky white and matt gold pairing. Long earrings are great to elongate the neck and to add drama to any outfit. USD$ 78

Gold Ohanna Earrings. These earrings will go well with a simple tank top or a little black dress. Maybe even part of a day to night outfit. USD$ 93

Gold Sarotte Earrings. This are basic earrings; a must have in every jewellery box. What makes this unique, is the colour of the stones; a very lovely mellow shade of green. USD$ 162

Gold Medium Charm Bangle. These bangles are ready and raring to go to the beach with you. They are full of St Tropez fun and would complete the bikini under a kaftan look. Just don't forget to bring a hat with you. USD$ 81 each.

Saturday, December 20, 2008


Why am I featuring a company that started from making pedal bins? It's nothing new or fascinating.  There's always the famous Brabantia or Simple Human bins to rave and rant about. So why Vipp?

Because it all started as a love story. 

The story of Vipp started in 1939 in the small Danish town of Randers. Then newlywed Marie asked her husband Holger Nielsen, who was a skilled craftsman, to create a bin for her hairdressing salon.

Holger obviously wanted to impress his new wife and used all his talent to create a functional and beautiful pedal bin for her.

The bin, which he named Vipp, was never intended to be for sale, but some of Marie's customers were so impressed with the bin that they ordered it for their husbands' surgeries and dental clinics. The rest as they say, is history.

Today, it is a family business run by Marie and Holger's youngest daughter, Jette Egelund and also her children, Kasper and Sofie. They not only sell bins but also bathroom accessories.

Vipp 15 Bin.

The Colours that are Offered.

In 2005, Vipp Collaborated with 30 Famous Designers (like Christian Lacroix, Philippe Starck, Agnes B) for Charity. Money was raised for  Handicap International.

In 2006, Vipp and the Conran Shop host an Auction in aid of Oxfam. Going under the hammer were bins decorated by Sir Terence Conran, Nicole Farhi, Karim Rashid, to name a few.

In 2006, Vipp was invited to exhibit at the Carrousel du Louvre in Paris. Chilean designer, Mauricio Clavero was invited to stage the challenging art experience. He created 36 unique Vipp bins and soap dispensers covered in Swarowski crystals, Sicis mosaics and lighting by Ambiance Lumiere.  

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Alan Waddell.

Death. Many shudder at the mere thought of it. As a friend once said, there are two things in life that are inevitable; suffering and death. It's not easy when someone you love so dearly passes on. How would you handle the pain and heal a wound that can't be seen? Alan Waddell, walked.

Alan Waddell lost his wife of 60 years in 2002. He was 88 then. He did not let age, a hip replacement (16 years ago), flat feet and aneurism (in both legs) stop him from deciding to walk all the streets of sydney in every suburb. Everyday for 2 hours, a relative would drop him at his starting point and pick him up afterwards. As he walked, his obsession grew. He started a website dedicated to his walks. He inspired many to take up walking and was also the heart foundation's spokesman for their "Walk for Life" campaign. However, in Sept this year he passed away at the age of 94. 

How do you deal with grief? Do you think you will be as inspiring? 


Monday, December 15, 2008

More Christmas Pressie Ideas.

Still pondering what to buy for a Christmas present? I have some really interesting gift ideas for you.

Paul Smith Mini Clubman Vinyl Killer.

This vinyl killer is a portable record player licensed across the globe by BMW AG in Germany.
You no longer have to spin the record, or do you even need a turntable. You just need the smallest self running record player in the world.
Instead of spinning your record, it coasts on the surface of the vinyl, gliding the neddle over and into the grooves, churning out the music from its own built in speaker. If you have your own vehicle, you can take the music wherever and whenever you go.
33RPM Only. Built in motor, amplifier and speaker.

Great for a Mini fanatic.

This teapot is crafted in stainless steel with a porcelain coaster. Beautiful for tea for one or two.

It Contains:
Hope and Greenwood black jacks 90g
Selfridges black taxi
Limited edition Tiptree medium cut marmalade 454g
Farrah's Original Harrogate Toffee in a tin 100g
Monty Python 'The Meaning of Life' DVD
Marmite 250g
Selfridges afternoon tea bags 30g
McCann's Irish Oats 793g
'Great British Wit' by Rosemarie Jarski
Cadbury's traveller chocolate bar 200g
Selfridges Christmas pudding 110g
White china cup & saucer
Colman's mustard powder in a tin 113g
Selfridges chocolate coin 90g
Selfridges Brut Premier Cru Champagne 75cl
Chocolate Monopoly board game 160g
HP Sauce 255g
Tate & Lyle limited edition golden syrup 454g
Yellow cracker with a chance to win an Anya Hindmarch handbag
Anya Hindmarch designed picnic basket.

This hamper is full of fun. Anyone or Everyone would love it. Why not, especially when it is on sale.

This is one coffee machine that is as good as it looks. The design is so iconic, and with the latest improvements made to the X1, it is worth every penny invested. It uses ground coffee instead of the pods. 

Is this the most beautiful modern camera in the world? Yes, without a doubt. The Leica Digilux can make any amateur photographer look like a pro. It's gorgeous styling and excellent features make it a dream of any photographer to have. 

So how good is it anyway? 

“The LEICA DIGILUX 3 sets a new standard in the digital mirror reflex camera segment: traditional operating controls and highly modern technical equipment are united with classical values such as precision, outstanding picture quality and a clear formal language; offering in addition the creative freedom of a digital system camera. This makes it the ideal tool for demanding reportage photography“ says Marius Eschweiler, Product Manager for digital compact cameras at Leica Camera AG.

I reckon that if you are not sure what makes a great camera? Invest in the little red dot.