Sunday, 16 September 2018

YOUTUBE | MY MICROBLADING EXPERIENCE + VLOG

I got my brows microbladed and I filmed the process! Did it hurt? Do I regret it? I also answer these questions and talk about my experience and healing process.

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Sunday, 9 September 2018

MY TOP 15 PLACES TO INSTAGRAM IN LONDON

There's nowhere else I'd rather be living in this world than London. Such a diverse and beautiful city full of creativity, but sometimes it can be all to easy to fall into the humdrum of every day routine, and bow your head down as you breeze walk, especially when your commute takes you past the same high-rise apartment blocks and familiar streets.  I'm definitely guilty of this, but things do take on a completely different perspective if you merely just look up, and much more recently I have gone out of my way to take different routes and discover new places. I also find a lot of inspiration from following London travel and food accounts on instagram, plus my best friend is equal parts an avid foodie and photographer so I'm grateful that she often drags me to visit new locations. I've had a couple of questions from you guys about how I find cute locations in London to photograph and what my top places to instagram would be if you were planning on visiting and I can't believe it's taken me this long to compile this list together. I've narrowed it down to 15 spots and categorised them so hopefully it will be easier for you to plan for your next visit to the city. Without further adieu, these are my top 15 places to instagram in London:

THE CUTE CAFES AND FLORAL DISPLAYS

1. Saint Aymes | 59 Connaught St, London W2 2BB
There's not much a blogger loves more than a pretty coffee and cake situation to take a flatlay of and a gorgeous flower wall to pose in front of so Saint Aymes have very kindly catered to our needs. This cafe looks like a place Wes Anderson dreamt up and will tickle your sweet tooth with their trademark Unicorn Lattes and plenty of edible art that's almost too beautiful to eat.

2. Peggy Porschen Cakes | 116 Ebury St, Belgravia, London SW1W 9QQ
Possibly the most well known of the instagrammable cafes at the moment, Peggy's is a pink dream that not only serves cute cakes but also switches up their gorgeous floral displays every season. It does tend to get busy throughout the day and on the weekends, so best to come on a weekday and if you want a completely people free shot, be an early bird arrive five minutes before it opens.

3. Les Senteurs | 1 Elizabeth St, Belgravia, London SW1W 9PJ
Not a cafe but whilst you're at it, Peggy Porchen sits right in the corner of Ebury St and Elizabeth St, the latter being an instagrammer's dream street lined with adjacent cafes and shops, each with their own different floral decorations. Les Senteurs perfumery is one of my particular favourites with a magnificent tree (changes every season as well) that spans across their pretty blue shopfront.

4. Dominique Ansel Bakery | 17-21 Elizabeth St,  Belgravia, London SW1W 9RP
Down the street is my favourite place for desserts (though they also serve savoury food). Their menu changes seasonally but every single time I've been there, I've been blown away by the presentation and taste of their dishes. Definitely try their Blooming Hot Chocolate (permanent menu) which is fun to watch as the flower shaped marshmallow on top opens up quite like those flowering tea balls, and if you visit on a warmer day, I'm totally obsessed with their watermelon soft serve (served in a real watermelon wedge with dark chocolate seeds, need I say more?) Of course there's a vast floral display over the entrance and also a flower wall inside.

5. Moyses Stevens Flowers | 53 Elizabeth St, Belgravia, London SW1W 9PP
Right next to Les Senteurs is my favourite florist. You'll probably see me running around with a bouquet of flowers in hand most of the time and when I get them from Moyses, it would just be rude not to take a snap inside with the floral ceiling as well.

THE RAINBOW HOUSES OF NOTTING HILL

6. Hillgate Place, London W8
Basically every other street in the Notting Hill area is full of houses in a rainbow spectrum of different colours so pick your fancy but one of my particular favourite is Hillgate Place. In the springtime, most of the ones with foliage on their front will transform into clouds of purple wisteria.

7.  Sézane | 233 Westbourne Grove, Notting Hill W11 2SE
French clothing brand Sézane (I'm wearing their blouse here) have recently opened their first London store and it's located in Notting Hill. There's just such a lovely contrast between their crisp white storefront and flower lined square windows so whether you're out shopping or just window shopping, be sure to grab a quick snap outside their store.

8. Wild at Heart | 222 Westbourne Grove, Notting Hill W11 2SE
Right opposite Sézane is another beautiful florist. Admittedly I've never bought a bouquet from them before but only because they're a bit further away from where I live and I always fear they will wilt on my tube commute. Their arrangements are so aesthetically pleasing though and I love their turquoise bricks.


THE TYPICAL TOURIST SPOTS FROM A DIFFERENT PERSPECTIVE

9. One New Change | 1 New Change, London EC4M 9AF
The elevator to the top floor of One New Change shopping centre takes you to a lovely viewing platform for St Paul's cathedral if you've previously struggled to get that dome roof into your frame.

10. St Pancras Renaissance Hotel | Euston Road, London NW1 2AR
Right next to St Pancras International is this hotel that bears a striking resemblance to Hogwarts. You might also be able to sneak in and grab a photo on their grand carpeted staircase inside.

11. Red telephone boxes | Broad Court, Covent Garden WC2B
Of course there are plenty of these iconic London telephone boxes scattered all over the city but there are five of them sitting neatly in a row in a rather secluded alley in Covent Garden and you know what that means, less people in the shot!

THE COOL GRAFFITI WALLS

12. Shoreditch | London E1 
Shoreditch is home to many awesome graffiti walls, some spanning several stories high. They get painted over regularly so do take a walk around and keep your eye out for any particular ones you may like. I'm gonna cheat a little and give you two addresses of permanent ones here, the first one being the rainbow facade of the Doughnut Time just outside Old St tube station (233a Old St, EC1V 9HE), and the second one are the infamous angel wings outside Redemption Bar (I really rate the raw vegan food this bar does too) on 320 Old St, EC1V 9DR.

JUNGLE WITHIN A CONCRETE JUNGLE

13. St Dunstan-in-the-East | St Dunstan's Hill, London EC3R 5DD
There's no aesthetic I love more than abandoned places overgrown with greenery so St Dunstan-in-the-East is possibly my ultimate favourite out of all these locations. It was once a church that got destroyed in WWII so now the ruins encase a public garden. I feel like not many people know this spot because it's in the centre of a business area and entirely hidden from the main road but it's the most beautiful surprise when you stumble upon it.

14. Kew Gardens | Richmond TW9 3AE
This is the largest botanical garden in London and currently houses over 30 000 living plants. It's a little further from the city centre but if you catch the tube, only a train line away so there's really no excuse not to visit. You'll definitely need an entire day to see everything as the gardens are so vast with many different areas inside. My favourites are the Palm House, the water lilies and the rose garden.

15. Greenwich park | London SE10 8XJ
Greenwich is quite a popular tourist location what with the GMT and the filming location for a number of famous movies but the park comes alive in the springtime and is the best place to photograph cherry blossoms in London.

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Sunday, 2 September 2018

SAYONARA SUMMER!


Totally confused by all the people saying, "Those of you who wished the sun away, hope you're happy now!" I am indeed, thank you very much. What did you expect? This is actually what I'd been wishing for all along. I've been feeling 99% more productive and awake in the cooler weather and I'm not even sad about packing away all my summer dresses whilst looking back at these photos. Rainbow dresses are going to be swapped with rainbow jumpers and I'm so excited to layer again, I'm truly in my element during autumn. Before that though, a look at one of my favourite summer dresses this year. It boasts vertical rainbow stripes that are super flattering against the body and a bardot neckline that has thick straps so you can still wear a regular bra! Round of applause please. ASOS have come out with so many different prints in this style of dress (remember my lemon one?) and the price point is so great that you don't feel guilty about owning more than one. Perfect if you're going on holiday soon and I've seen that it's still quite warm in other parts of Europe too. These photos were taken at Crossrail Place Roof Garden in Canary Wharf, admittedly an office district that I don't venture out to all that often except when visiting a friend, but this roof garden is such an oasis and many business men and women come to eat and take a breather on their lunch break. The open air area is filled with real birdsong during the day and it's also home to two public pianos that you might've seen me tinker on in my instagram stories. Definitely one of my favourite places to hang out and photograph in London. 

ASOS dress / Valentino shoes / Cult Gaia bag / Lucy Williams x Missoma necklace

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Wednesday, 29 August 2018

THEATRE | THE KING AND I STARRING KEN WATANABE


My theatre streak continues and this time with a musical! I was super stoked to hear that the Tony award winning The King and I would be transferring to London after a successful stint on Broadway and that Ken Watanabe would be reprising the lead role (y'all know I'm the biggest fan of Inception). Despite this, I somehow completely missed the ticket release date and of course the good seats sold out in no time (I'm kind of short-sighted so I'd prefer to be sitting as close to the front as possible). Usually I'd then redirect myself to get day seats in similar scenarios but the London Palladium, where it's being held, don't offer them for some reason. I resigned myself to the fact that I'd have to settle with watching a recording when one day, out of the blue, my friend told me of an app called TodayTix. You can download it from the App Store and once you create an account, you're eligible for loads of special ticket offers at discounted prices as well as "rush tickets" which are a handful of seats selling for cheaper that go on sale every day for a performance that same night. I honestly thought it would be a bloodbath (who wouldn't want a front row seat for £25?) but I decided to give it a go one morning and lo and behold, I managed to checkout with a ticket for both my friend and I! Long story short: TodayTix is awesome and you should download it. I wouldn't say musicals are my favourite type of plays, primarily because I have a rather short attention span and would rather sentences not to be dragged out into melodious syllables but I do enjoy the odd one now and again (Phantom Of The Opera and Love Never Dies are my favourites because of that dark, forbidden romance aspect), and I am always all for Asian representation in popular culture, being Asian myself. I adore Mulan and not too long ago, also went to see Miss Saigon and Hamilton. Once again as I tend to do with most of my theatre outings, I went into The King and I without any prior knowledge of even the most basic of plots and settings.


The King and I tells a moving, radiant story of East meets West. It is the early 1860s when newly widowed Anna leonowens and her son, Louis, set sail from their native England for Bangkok, Siam (now Thailand). Anna, still grieving, has set her sights onna new adventure and taken a position as the schoolteacher for the royal offspring of the King of Siam. The King is determined to usher Siam into the modern world and he thinks Western education can be a part of that – yet, Anna is horrified at first by many of the traditions that he holds dear. Anna and the King struggle to find common ground. The King is largely considered to be a barbarian by rulers of the West, and he takes Anna on as an advisor, asking her to help change his image – if not his actual practice. With both keeping a firm grip on their respective traditions and values, Anna and the King teach each other about understanding, respect, and love that can transcend the greatest of differences. Beneath the fraught, fiercely opinionated, conflict-ridden surface of Anna and the King's relationship, lies quite a unique love story.


I felt so blessed to sit front row to witness this opulent production. Obviously The King and I is on a much grander scale than the previous two plays I watched and reviewed, with jaw-dropping props and costumes. I particularly enjoy watching the scene transitions when it comes to such productions, is anyone else with me on this? There's something really satisfying about watching pieces slide into place on the stage. I truly adored the story, the relationship between Anna and the King is charming and doesn't come off forced at all, something I'm inherently picky about when it comes to fictional romances. For some reason, I didn't find the songs as catchy and memorable as other musicals I've seen but Kelli O'Hara, who plays Anna, has such a gorgeous voice and any melody she sings comes out mesmerising. Ken Watanabe, on the other hand, unfortunately doesn't have a singing voice to match O'Hara but he's still fantastic as the King of Siam, he truly makes the audience understand why his character is the way he is plus he's funny to boot! Who impressed me the most out of the cast, were the children though. The youngest probably only four years old, not only were they so adorable that I kept letting out a loud "awww" every single time they were on stage, they're all so professional like how on earth do they remember their lines and cues? I loved their teacher/pupil relationship with Anna and those kids totally gave this musical a lot more heart. Also worth mentioning, I found the more dance focussed scenes absolutely amazing (particularly the ballet, Small House of Uncle Thomas), showcasing a lot of Thai culture and just so engrossing. One downside was that the pacing throughout the entire musical felt a bit odd, with a couple of high energy dance numbers sprinkled between a lot of standing around and slow singing. If you're a fan of musicals, Inception, if you're Asian, all or just one of the above, or you're just in the mood to be wowed, definitely look into catching The King and I before their run finishes in London. Don't forget to check out TodayTix for cheap tickets too!


The King and I is at the London Palladium until 29th September and tickets can be found here.

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Sunday, 26 August 2018

PALM HOUSE


It's been a while since I last visited Kew Gardens but every time I return, it's like the magic never wears off. If you've never been, Kew is basically a large botanical garden in southwest London (close to Richmond) that's home to over 30 000 plant species. It feels like such an oasis in the heart of the city and like stepping into a different world. One of my favourite attractions here is the Palm House, a large Victorian glasshouse acclimatised to grow all manner of tropical and subtropical greenery. Last time I shot a couple of photos downstairs so I thought I'd attempt to find some new angles on the upper floor, completely forgetting that an enclosed all-glass building in the middle of summer is naturally going to get very hot and humid. So much so that my camera lens kept fogging up every thirty seconds and my curls dropped in half that time. But I'm pleased with these shots we got! The winding spiral staircase to the top viewing platform is just so pretty, and surrounded by the towering palms, makes me feel like I'm climbing my way to a wonderland that perhaps someone like Alice could get lost in. Wearing an old Topshop dress and my trusty rose gold ASOS heels.

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