Summer Essentials: Embroidered Tops

Friday, 24 April 2015
summer tops

1. Vanessa Bruno Athé Charles embroidered top £225
2. Madewell Lace Mix top  $88
3. Mango Open trim lace blouse  £24.99
4. Zara lace top  £39.99
5. Vanessa Bruno Athé chambray top  £148 (available in white £130)
6. Vanessa Bruno Costa Rica linen top  £375

summer outfits

1.  Madewell Biltmore panama hat  $58
2.  Madewell Lace Mix top  $88
3.  Mango ripped shorts  £29.99
4.  Valia Gabriel Lia sandals  £110
5.  Miu Miu sunglasses  $415
6.  Vanessa Bruno Athé Charlenn dress  £360  (in U.S here)
7.  Castaner Rita espadrille sandals  £155
8.  Mango medium denim shirt  £19.99  (in U.S here)
9.  J.Crew vintage hiking shorts  £65
10. Adidas Stan Smith sneakers  (in U.S here)

My obsession for embroidered cotton voile tops began when I bought my very first from Isabel Marant. Since then, I've been slowly adding a few more to my rather meager collection. I've put my two Love Sam tops through the ringer last year, having worn them all summer. They've been washed more times than I can remember and have held up incredibly well.

My personal style verged on tomboy-androgynous so these pretty frilly lace tops add a touch of femininity that's missing from my wardrobe. The tissue thin cotton fabric are airy enough to combat the stifling hot summer months.

You may not believe this but I do not own a single denim shirt. This is something I hope to remedy fairly soon. Denim cutoffs are my staple but I'd like to get a couple more options like these  J.Crew military and Mango ripped black shorts. Thankfully, the prices are fairly decent. I'm also looking to replace my beat up panama hat but finding one in extra small size is a pain in the a$$. I've got a tiny head.....(and small feet. Argh! What luck!) so please give me a holler if you happen to see a proper straw panama hat in size 53 or 54cm. So.....what's on your summer must have list?  

Postcard from Paris Part 2

Monday, 20 April 2015
stgermain-buildings tuilleries-1 st-germain-walking st-germain

How do I condense an entire week of Paris into two posts? Easy. I'll bombard all my readers with twenty million photos of food. I had good intentions of doing more fashion orientated activities but this fell wayward when I got distracted with.......f-o-o-d. This will explain why I have two chins instead of one. #dietbeginsNOW.

The glorious sunshine continued in Paris. The temperature spiked from a freezing 12˚C to 16˚C during the week we were there. Thankfully, I came prepared with two sets of clothes (winter and spring) which meant I didn't pack as lightly as I normally do. But hey ho, who am I to complain about having endless sunshine?

L'entrecote-dining L'entrecote-1

We were half starved at one point when we missed the traditional 12-2pm lunch deadline in Paris. Thankfully, the kind folks at Le Relais de L'Entrecôte was open. The steak was still as sublimely tender as I'd remembered and the special sauce special as before (anything doused in butter tastes great) which we mopped up with slices of baguette. We lucked out with a wonderful waitress who kept a cheerful demeanor and didn't bat an eyelid when I butchered the entire French language to bits. Conversations died a natural death because we were too busy chomping down our incredible meal.

Le Relais de L'Entrecôte 
20 Rue Saint-Benoît
75006 Paris
Metro: St Germain

icecream cousins2

Kids and bribery go hand in hand. Want an ice cream? Clean your room. Want a ride on the carousel? No whinging. In short, bribery ROCKS.

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I literally stumbled upon this little jewel of a restaurant on my way from the metro station to our rented apartment in Montparnasse. It's nestled amongst rows of shops off the main street, miles away from the well beaten tourists traps. The staff were unbelievably kind even though kids are not normally part of their usual clientele and happily translated the menu when my French failed me. A smattering of English, French and plenty of sign language ensued....... Surprisingly, we understood each other.  They brought out complimentary appetizers (tuna crostini and olives) and drinks which were inhaled in a few quick minutes. The lightly flavored gnocchi and crisp spring asparagus went down a treat. My pork fricassee was so tender and well flavored, the meat literally melted in my mouth.  I wasn't so keen about their odd tasting rice pudding/cake/salted caramel concoction. On the other hand, everyone fought over the creme brûlée......... (the kids won).

C'est Mon Plaisir
53, Rue Didot
75014 Paris
Metro: Plaisance

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Lil L was so excited about the prospect of having a proper mom-daughter date in Paris. We strolled and people watched in St Germain before popping into Le Bon Marché to check out the food hall. Lots of oohing and aahing over the delectable patisserie display. Yes......we're both food obsessed. Next stop...the new shoe department where we played shoe critics.

Lunch was at Rose Bakery, a place where chic Parisians convened. I had the best cauliflower soup EVER (and I don't even like cauliflower). I wished I had the courage to ask for the recipe. Lil L was in squid heaven. Her passion for seafood knows no boundaries. We were dying to try out the dazzling display of cakes but we simply could not take another bite.

Rose Bakery
Le Bon Marché
24 Rue de Sèvres 
75007 Paris
Metro: Sèvres – Babylone

laduree laduree2

We explored the little streets of St Germain and poked our heads into little boutiques for an ogle. I managed to burn off enough calories to have my next meal. It was so warm that we decided to nip into Ladurée for an ice cream. Notice the lack of chantilly cream on top of our large bowl of rose ice cream and raspberry sorbet? I would've had to run from one end of the Seine to the other to burn THAT off or grow a third chin. Neither option is appealing.

Kids are so easy to please but I guess it's the adults that make it complicated. It wasn't the Eiffel tower nor Sacre Coeur that Lil L remembered. It was the day spent with me giggling uncontrollably over the silliest things, sharing an ice cream at Laduree, jumping on a trampoline at the Tuilleries, making a video on her iPad with her cousins and the date that we had that is seared into her memory bank permanently.

21 Rue Bonaparte
75006 Paris
Metro: Saint-Germain-des-Prés

merci-bookstore merci-cafe1 merci-cafe2 merci-cafe3 merci-cafe4

Just so you know.....I did the clichéd thing and took gazillion of photos of the red Fiat in front of Merci's front entrance. I'm amazed the staff and customers at Merci cafe didn't roll their eyes when I took yet another million photos of my coffee and cake......... I'm Asian...I take photos of anything and everything.

111 boulevard Beaumarchais
Métro : Saint-Sébastien - Froissart

Outfit: Rick Owens leather jacket, Zadig & Voltaire sweater and Zara jeans.

I was thrilled to finally catch up with Grace after we bonded over the Sisterhood of the Traveling Jacket project last year. We were grateful to be able to sit down face to face to have a meaningful conversation despite living in opposite ends of the world.

Carin, Hana and Grace were incredulous when they found out that I pretty much lugged all the ingredients for our dinner from the U.K. I'd invited them over to our rather spacious Paris apartment in Montparnasse for a combination of traditional southern Chinese and Korean meal. There were 4 photographers in the apartment but none of us managed to snap a photo........ These days, I'm all in favor of dining at home with friends so that we can chill, take our time with our meal while the kids run around and knock themselves out with whatever games they want to play with.

eiffel tower-1 eiffel tower-night

I've made close to a dozen trips to Paris over the years. I don't tend to romanticize Paris nor do I have my blinders on because if you scratch below the surface of any seemingly perfect city, you'll find problems abound, be it bureaucracy, unemployment or lack of customer service. Despite my rather shocking grasp of French, I've been truly blessed with a warm welcome and kindness from strangers and friends alike in Paris each time I've been back. To all the Parisians that I've met over the last ten years, thank you for your gracious hospitality.

Postcard from Paris Part 1

Wednesday, 15 April 2015
sacre coeur-view sacre coeur-view3 clock sacre coeur sacre coeur at night

I'm baaaaaaaack!! After a whole month of internet drought, I finally have wi-fi at home. No more running around town trying to find wi-fi or pouring copious amounts of coffee down my throat just to use the internet at a cafe and then bouncing about like a hyperactive Jack Russell terrier after over-caffeinating myself.

I was in Paris for a week and only just got home, along with a souvenir - a nasty cold. We were lucky enough to have incredibly sunny weather while we were there. Yes, it was freezing for the first 3 days but after that, I couldn't peel my thick winter coats fast enough when the temperature rose to 16˚C.

Traveling with 3 kids and 2 other adults was a different kettle of fish this time, particularly when my brother and his wife decided to embark on their version of The Amazing Race. After 2 exhausting days of running around like crazy tourists, I dropped out of the race and caught up with friends instead.

strawberrytart macarons paris-cafe scene

I was blown away AND thrilled to bits when Kayin suggested that she and her boyfriend would drive from Holland to Paris to see me. Yes, 4.5 hours on the road just so that we could finally meet each other face to face after years of online communication. Words can't describe how touched I was by the effort she and her lovely boyfriend went to. The 3 of us chatted non stop and bade a reluctant goodbye later that evening. Kayin's one of those rare individuals who is innately kind, exceedingly gracious and even more beautiful in person.

creperie-1 creperie-2

Lil L and I were taken to a rather well known crêperie at Montmartre by a lovely Parisian friend of mine, A (remember her from the Landmark afternoon tea post?) Poor A had to put up with me croaking through the entire meal as my cold grew progressively worse. Crêperie Brocéliande is a tiny hole in the wall restaurant but extremely popular so do book if you're planning to have dinner there. The prices for gluten free buckwheat galettes start from 5.50€.  I decided to go slightly unconventional and chose smoked duck fillets with a smattering of caramelized onions and topped with a slice of foie gras. It was divine.

ootd-LilE2 ootd-LilL3 outfit-1
Outfit: Helmut Lang coat, Uniqlo sweater, Zara jeans, Topshop boots, Miu Miu sunglasses, Hermes belt and Louis Vuitton Speedy Bandouliere 35cm.

Just in case you're wondering how I managed to give birth to a half grown child......the adorable little girl with the pink polka dot bag is my niece. The two cousins were attached at the hip throughout the entire trip and hated to be separated. There are a ton of different photos and anecdotes on my Instagram feed for those of you who use the app. Part 2 coming up soon!

Crêperie Brocéliande
15 rue des Trois Frères
Metro: Abbesses
Phone: +33 1 42 233134 

Styling a Chanel jacket & £10 designer denim cutoffs

Tuesday, 31 March 2015

20150331_124230_1 purple chanel jacket

As you probably gather by now, I don't do colors nor overly feminine clothes all too well. It's like getting a rapper to dress in a tuxedo and sing a ballad. Not that I walk around wearing heavy chains with tattoos  all over my body..... Over the years, my style gradually evolved, perhaps influenced by the French more nonchalant and perfection-is-boring attitude which suits me to a T. I still can't style my hair to save my life so the "tousled" (read: I can't be arsed brushing my hair) look is right up my alley. I'm drawn to slightly ripped clothes and half tucked shirts. I guess you could say, there's a continual a slant towards androgynous, contemporary and edgier clothes.

On the flip side, there's my love for Chanel jackets. Sophisticated and posh. Two words that can't be used to describe someone like me who's a whiz at spilling anything and everything onto my clothes. I somehow managed to get my hands on a aubergine Chanel jacket complete with glittery gold and silver pinstripes. Shudder..... At a first glance, I was befuddled. How do I even wear it without looking like I'm heading out to a posh luncheon?

However, the fit....oh my....the jacket fits my body like a dream. There's something to be said for handmade jackets, particularly Chanel's. It gave me shoulders (I have droopy narrow shoulders), added curves to my body when I have none (anyone dealing with fluctuating body weight like me??).  After a few tweaks, I decided to try the tweed jacket with ripped jeans, a slouchy Alexander Wang t-shirt and tone it down a notch by pairing it with simple ankle strap heels from Marni.

I had a look around all the denim cutoffs on offer at the High St stores. It was either too ripped, too short, too high waisted etc etc etc. I trawled eBay for my favorite 7FAM boyfriend jeans and............ Lo and behold.......£10! Bargain! I'm a menace with scissors and ended up with jagged edges but what the heck, perfection is boring. I bought these Josefina jeans a little big as I prefer the slouchy look.

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I thought I'd pop these snapshots of Winchester in to give fashion a bit of a rest after the lengthy spiel. I'm dying to toss my winter clothes. Spring seems so far away when all we're having is intermittent sunshine and wind strong enough to blow me away. I hope everyone has awesome plans for the Easter break.


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