When I was younger, every birthday did give me the “Oh no I’m getting old” dread. Lately, I noticed that feeling went away.
In the past few years, I have lived more intensely than ever before. I took risks, and turned my wildest dream into reality. I learnt that I am much more capable than I give myself credit for. We all are.
I loved and lost. It was bittersweet and all sorts of amazing and heartbreaking at the same time. But most importantly, I learnt about unconditional love, and mutual generosity.
I made new friends; good ones too, when I thought I didn’t need new friends anymore. I opened myself up, and broadened my horizons. I learnt more about myself, and the person I want to be. In my family, in my career, in friendships, and in relationships.
What a difference a few years make in your 20’s, because each year is like one giant epiphany. So if this is what growing up and “getting old” is all about, then I am more than excited. I am excited to learn more, experience more, and add more adventures to my neverending story.
Played around with Photoshop for the first time in months, damn I’ve gotten rusty. Things that used to come so naturally to me; shortcut keys, and just my general “eye” for enhancing a photo, playing with curves, colours, levels, etc – it’s taking me a longer time to process now. That’s the problem with Instagram and the recent photo-filter craze – it’s become so easy. Basics are losing its importance.
And also, lack of practice, I suppose. I used to be on Photoshop at least 2 days a week, for hours on end.
I do miss my old life sometimes. All the while embracing my new one :) I shall spend a good portion of today practising with what’s left of my London pics then!
Dress Of The Year 2011 : Alexander McQueen Fall 2011 by Sarah Burton
Click here for the whole collection – it’s really some #nextlevelshit. What a pleasure it was to study the details!
I cannot stress how beautiful and blue the sky was that day!
Bath, UK was on the top of my must-visit towns while I was in London. Besides the fact that it was Charlie‘s hometown, I have heard that it was this incredibly beautiful place. We couldn’t cover all the sites in one day; but we managed to hit these three. The Fashion Museum was a bit of a let down from what I had expected, but it was interesting to see how fashion evolved through the ages. Mostly brushing up on what we already knew, but interesting nonetheless. The highlight was definitely seeing Dress Of The Year 2011, an intricate all-white ice-queen gown; Alexander McQueen Fall 2011 by Sarah Burton. While you’re at it, make sure you check out the entire collection. What a pleasure it was to stare and study the details!
It is so easy to take photos here in Bath; especially at the Roman Bath. You’re not allowed to touch the water – there are guards roaming around to make sure of that – but we snuck a quick hand-dip ’cause, you know, tell a child not to do something and all she can think of is to do it! It’s still nice and warm, a bit algae-y now though. We’d like to think it would bring us good luck.
I have a major fascination with churches, especially one as large and majestic as Bath Abbey. With its incredible architecture, high vaulted ceilings, stained glass windows; Bath Abbey even contains wall memorials and floor plaques to some important deceased people. It was sad, yet sweet; it made me think, Who would erect a monument for you? “So who’s gonna watch you die?”, sings Ben Gibbard from Death Cab. Ok anyway. Just being there, sitting in the pews, soaking up the sights and sounds of the church; it made me feel very peaceful, and closer with God. I’m also glad Bath Abbey was the first church I visited here. Little did I know I would be visiting La Sagrada Familia (Spain) and Notre Dame (France) later on, and I didn’t want the Bath Abbey to fail in comparison, or appreciate it any less.
Cordelia Lace Dress by Dressabelle, and my classic go-to, Fly-me-away necklace by ASOS
Reading…A Moveable Feast by Ernest Hemingway. It’s the famous autobiography I grabbed from the Shakespeare and Company bookstore in Paris; a bookstore which, only much later I realized, was on the cover of the book the whole time. I’m having difficulty reading this one, I find I have to focus reallyyy hard to stay in the rhythm of the book. A slight distraction and I’m lost! It’s also my first autobiography, perhaps I’m more used to the fast-paced storyline of fiction books.
Speaking of fiction, I just finished Mockingjay (last book of The Hunger Games trilogy) and I am livid. I damn-near threw the book at a wall by the end of it. It was HORRIBLE! I swear, somewhere towards the end I thought of Abed and his 7 alternate timelines theory (Community reference, please say you get it!), and somehow I was caught in the evil-timeline, reading the story where everything was going extremely, ridiculously, and UNBELIEVABLY wrong. And how could I escape and return to the normal-timeline version?! I’m not proud of it, but yes, THAT was my actual train of thought. I could go on in so much detail on what was wrong, I’ll probably need a separate blog post for that. But then I saw so many other blogs that’ve donethatalready. My own fault for attaching myself so deeply to the trilogy, I guess. :(
Listening… to Of Monsters And Men album “My Head Is An Animal” on repeat. It’s been a while since any album has made me feel so incredibly… happy! They’re all happy yet sad songs with chockfull of la-la-la’s and HEY!’s that make my soul do a little jig. ;)
Drinking… hot ginger tea. I’m obsessed with this sweet & tangy hot tea!! The perfect companion this cold rainy season.
Wanting… a new wardrobe. I’m suddenly so over all my clothes! And a watch I’ve been eyeing since December 2011.
Thinking… about how 2012 has been for me. The new year is fast approaching, and it’s time to reflect! 2012 is a year of BIG changes, and learning for me. It sounds a bit cliché, but I’ve really learnt a lot more about myself, and the person I want to be. In all matters like my career, my family, relationships; even just shaking off some bad habits.
Overcoming my fear and lifelong dream to travel Europe was a big highlight of my 2012 :) and ever since I’ve returned, I’ve preferred a slightly slower pace in life. My party-every-weekend phase is pretty much over, I much prefer having drinks & conversations with friends, or even just snuggle up at home with my hot tea and a good book/movie.
Taking a quick break from my travel posts! And I initially thought of doing the entire Euro Trip posts in chronological order, but I think for my next one I might jump straight to Tomorrowland 2012. Hopefully no one would mind, I’m pretty sure that’s the one everyone’s waiting for. We’ll see!
But that’s okay, I really enjoy my quiet morning me-times. I’ll have my shower (remember, 7 of us are sharing 1 bathroom!), do the dishes if I see any in the sink, do my laundry, and have some breakfast while catching up on the online world on Melly’s laptop. Or if it was my solo day that day, figure out what I’d like to do then.
Every morning without fail. I had a nice little routine going on :)
Milo and cereal brekkie!
I think some of my favourite days in London were the ones spent on my own. :)
There’s a certain calmness, and freedom that comes with exploring a foreign city on your own. While of course it’s always nice to have company to share the experience with; sometimes it’s also nice to go at your own pace, whether you have plans, or no plans at all, or make up your own plans as you go – without constantly having to check with someone else.
I also find that when I’m alone, I’m much more observant. There are fewer distractions, and you notice the littlest of things. I have *THE* most random, detailed memories of nothing particularly important, and they’re all on my solo days. Plus, I also find that people are more inclined to be friendlier or more helpful if they see that you’re all by yourself; than if you were with a bunch of friends.
Besides, it feels frakking good to be able to maneuver your way through the intimidating London Underground and trains all by yourself
And later on when a lady asked me for directions in the Underground, and I knew the right way! successkid.jpg
I liked my solo days so much that later on in other cities, when I was traveling with Jotes and Petrina, I made it a point to have one solo day in each city. In retrospect, some cities there was no time, or for whatever reason it didn’t happen;
but whenever I *did* have my solo days, they were never unpleasant :)
One morning while munching on some cereal, I decided to go on a Banksy hunt.
Ever since I caught wind of that Banksy vs. Robbo story some time last year, I had become obsessed. Within the span of one night, I had scoured the net for more articles and whatever I could find on the 2 famous street artists, including a one-hour documentary video. The story and controversy behind it really fascinated me, the whole graffiti vs. street art debate. (I could talk your ear off on this topic, but it would be a VERY long blogpost. Go google yourself lah! Or come discuss with me if you see me!)
Banksy’s street art can be found all over the world (similar to Fafi‘s), but most of it can be found around London and UK. It only made sense for me to go on a treasure hunt and pay homage :)
I made my way to what I figured would be the right canal to look for. But I had no effing clue how to get down there :p I was standing above the canal on a bridge. Posted this picture to Instagram (and Twitter & FB) and got some very vague pointers, walked around for a bit, then retreated to an Underground station when it started to rain. I had a short chat with a nice ticket salesman who was on his cigarette break, he didn’t seem to know who or what Banksy was :( A lady’s ticket got stuck at the turnstiles, and the man cut his cigarette break short to assist the lady. I bought myself a cup of coffee from the station’s coffee cart, the shopkeeper was nice enough to charge only 2 pounds when I didn’t have loose change for the £2.30. He didn’t know who Banksy was either, but he pointed out that there was a staircase down to the canal somewhere. Jackpot!
My memory is usually terrible. But for some reason, I seem to remember (and notice) so many seemingly uninteresting things when I’m on my solo day.
Once the rain stopped, I resumed my hunt and found a staircase leading down to the canal :) And eventually, I found it.
1. Graffiti wars: Banksy v Robbo. I can proudly cross this off my bucket list now.
I must’ve stared at the thing for like 20 minutes. It’s so surreal ok! Yet another one of my things-that-seemed-to-only-exist-in-books-&-movies-were-suddenly-right-in-front-of-me moments.
There were a couple of guys standing there staring at the piece too. They spoke in hushed tones. As if we were in an empty museum, beholding a masterpiece; so we had to be respectful and speak quietly
Team Robbo sure had his supporters.
As widespread as all the other Banksy art are, thankfully they weren’t as difficult to locate as compared to that first piece.
2. Current state of the Tesco flag piece
But widespread also meant me heading deep into a number of, let’s just say,
I soon realized I was no longer on busy, vibrant streets like Oxford, or Camden, or Brick Lane anymore. At some points I didn’t feel as… safe. On these days I thank god I wasn’t wearing anything too flashy, that made me stand out as a tourist or anything. Thankfully nothing bad happened of course, and I was probably just feeling paranoid. But still. Being aware is always better than being oblivious most of the time.
I remember for no.7, I can’t remember what neighbourhood I was in, but I had to walk off the mainroad to find that artwork. When I was done, a drunken/crazy/hobo person came stumbling out from a nearby park, mumbling something to himself, and occasionally shouting obscenities at the sky. There was a lady pushing her baby stroller with ease near me, she didn’t seem too bothered by this man. Like it was the most normal thing in the world. I simply walked away as fast as I could without running.
3. No ball games
As you can see, most if not all of his artwork is covered with perspex glass as preservation
4. Jubilee sweatshop
5. If graffiti changed anything
Greasy but hot and yummy fish n’ chips during my Banksy hunt
I found it amusing that the 2 shopkeepers (possibly owners of the small food shop) were always loud and jovial greeting us customers in and serving our food – yet in between serving customers, they were obviously upset over something; loudly discussing behind the counter amongst themselves in a foreign (middle eastern) language about something that transpired beforehand. Store politics, perhaps. I ate my lunch and studied their angry banter. At one point, the old lady customer sitting alone with her fish n’ chips suddenly piped in in the same foreign language, and the 3 of them chorused in their argument. It was pretty cool lunchtime entertainment.
One of my favourite London Underground stories was with this one elderly lady.
The train was full (as it tends to be) and I had a seat. This lady got onto the train with her family and they stood in front of me. Once the train started to move, she kept losing her balance and bumping into her husband and sons. Once she stabilized herself, she would somehow clumsily stumble again! I couldn’t help smile, she reminded me a lot of my mum quite a stout, comical, clumsy lady (sorry mum hehe).
Naturally I stood up and offered her my seat. She thanked me; and that’s all you would expect when one offers another their seat in public transportation. Right?
But when this lady thanked me, she seemed really puzzled when I took her place standing. She asked me, “Isn’t this your next stop?”
“No, but it’s alright,” I smiled.
She stood up and said, “Oh! Then, please have your seat back!”
“No no that’s okay you can have it! My stop isn’t much further anyway”
She sat back down with an “Oh… alright… thank you…” and smiled courteously.
I checked the map – 5 stops away. Err, that’s not that far I suppose.
When it finally came to my stop, the lady and her family stood up – it was their stop as well o_- When the train slowed to a stop, the lady stumbled once again and made a flustered what-the-heck-is-wrong-with-me face, which made me giggle
She looked over at me chirpily, “Now you can have the seat back!”
“Oh this is my stop actually,” I gave a sheepish smile.
“Oh…” She smiled back and gave me one last sincere “Well, thank you”. :) It gave me all kinds of warm and fuzzies.
A purple-leafed tree! @ Hyde Park
“Birds flying high… you know how i feel…”
Just another pub
Waiting for the train at King’s Cross Station
I sat on the floor leaning against the wall while waiting for my train one day. Hoping I didn’t seem too much like a hobo again.
Within 5 minutes there were 2 others who followed suit and sat on the floor like me :) *comforted*
2 of London’s famous public transports. Which I never tried…
Hiding from the cold rain & wind. With my 3 everyday companions; a sweater, an umbrella, & hot soup!
While there are plenty of happy stories and also some scary-in-that-moment stories, I still dare say that was my best day in London yet :)
It’s the thrill and adventure of discovering so many new things; all things wonderful and weird. Go to places and neighbourhoods people wouldn’t normally go to if they followed the usual tourist guides. Being able to maneuver around the London Underground all by yourself (*pats back*). Friendly exchanges with strangers,
This last picture is one of my favourites. I remember this was after I had found my 7th Banksy. It was raining, I took cover at a nearby Pret-A-Manger, and was feeling pretty darn proud of myself Drinking hot tomato soup and people-watched as the rain fell, Zee Avi’s The Story was playing in the store. Then I felt proud that our dear Malaysian-born singer made it to the Pret-A-Manger airwaves. Then I wondered what Pret-A-Manger means.
Kiehl’s has recently dubbed me their Miss Travel X Party Girl for their Leading Lady Project: Feel The Power of C!
Me and 3 other women with varying lifestyles are to test out one of Kiehl’s best sellers. Along with that, I got a crash course in skincare education when I visited their store, might do a separate post on that soon. There’s a lot of things I thought I knew but actually didn’t know!
But for now, let me introduce to you one of their star products, Kiehl’s Powerful-Strength Line-Reducing Concentrate. I call this the “Vitamin C serum”, due to its high concentration of 10.5% Vitamin C :)
(Click to enlarge!)
If you’re in your mid-20’s (like me) and are looking to get into anti-aging skincare (like me), then look no further. Anti-aging skincare sounds like a corrective measure, when really it should start early as a preventative!
And right on the bottle itself, it’s pretty much self-explanatory. This serum aims not only at reducing fine lines (wrinkles & crow’s feet, ugh!), but also improving skin texture and radiance.
The former part got my attention; since I was already starting to look into anti-aging skincare. But the latter part simply stole the show! God knows I love my travel & adventure, and parties dancing the night away. Or in this case, BOTH! But between the long flights and late nights, naturally I end up having dull, lackluster skin. I want my healthy glow back!
So if this serum is to act as my multi-purpose skin booster, I’m sold.
But what does Vitamin C have to do with all of this? What does it mean when this product boasts a high dose of 10.5% pure and stable Vitamin C?
Well, this is where it gets all scientific and technical, but basically, (as explained patiently by the Kiehl’s dermatologist – I asked A LOT of questions hehe, what I was curious! ),
there are these things called free radicals that come from your daily aggressions. Free radicals oxidize and cause skin cells to deteriorate, causing bad skin. So Vitamin C (an anti-oxidant) simply prevents oxidization and free radical damages. It also boosts the natural production of collagen, and ultimately prevents signs of aging.
And while 10.5% sounds quite small a percentage, it is very potent! The Kiehl’s formula boasts to have secured this ingredient in a stable form. Evidently, not many Vitamin C products in the market can achieve this, ie. Others may cease to remain stable after penetrating the skin’s surface. While this is getting a bit more technical, it basically means Kiehl’s has found the more effective formula :)
I’ve been using this serum for about 2 weeks now, and personally, I have noticed a slight improvement to my skin! No miracles quite yet, it’s only been 2 weeks after all, when the standard practice is to show results after 12 weeks (3 months). I actually started this product on a test basis – applying only a small quantity to my skin, then let it be for the next day; slowly increasing in application as I see fit. As with most new products especially concentrated serums, you never know how it might react with different skin types. But since there were no adverse effects for me, and I feel it goes well with the rest of my daily skincare products, I’ve decided this is definitely a keeper I owe it to my skin for all the late nights.
Sarah, Jackie, Shannon & I – last weekend @ TAG 9th Anniversary Party @ Zouk KL
Retailing at RM240 for a 50ml bottle, it’s certainly an investment worth considering. Especially if you too are looking into introducing good anti-aging skincare to your regime. My advice is to head on over to your nearest Kiehl’s store and grab some samples. They’re usually very generous with samples, so don’t be shy. Try it, don’t just take my word for it!
“In addition to consistent daily sunscreen use, applying high concentration of Vitamin C is arguably the best thing you can do for your skin.”
Got this sunscreen sample at the Kiehl’s counter. Fun-sized; perfect to take with on travels!
The day before the Swedish House Mafia @ Milton Keynes Bowl show (#SHMMKB), I found the girls huddled around our “dining table” (ie. makeshift table made out of boxes ) with a big scattered mess of nail polish & glitter, and other bits of odd stuff like sticks & sponges & newspaper clippings.
:D OMG MANI PEDI TAIMZZZ!
Jean had ordered a nail polish striper brush online, and the package arrived that morning. And of course, that meant GATHER ‘ROUND GIRLS, IT’S TIME FOR A MAKEOVAARRRRRR
Wah don’t mess. These girls got skills Level 99 ok.
The fanciest I can do is probably the classic french tip manicure, but these girls look for inspiration online, points at something that looks frackking impossible, and go “That looks easy. Let’s do that!”.
I tried persuading them to open shop at Brick Lane market, or Chic Pop or something when they come back to KL. Guys, go persuade them too!
I bought my SHMMHB tickets end of last year; waaayyy way before I had gotten my flight tickets, before I even knew for sure if I was going to Europe/UK or not. My friend Gerald and I are huge fans, and we *wished* to go. So what would be the sensible thing to do? Buy the tickets first, worry about getting there later. :p It’s also sort of as a motivational thing, I guess. To make it work, make it happen.
To be able to catch such a massive act, on their final tour, with 60,000 other die hard fans. All partying & emoing together at the same time. :) In Malaysia we rarely ever (never?) get big acts like these, let alone one of this magnitude!
Nearer to the date, the opening acts were announced, I was so stoked about Calvin Harris & Alesso!!! The event turned out spanning 2-11pm too, lolwut suddenly became an all-day festival of some sort
The party started with a bang for us, too. Driving for an hour from London to Milton Keynes, finally arriving at the (muddy) carpark, and our giant heavy MPV got stuck in the mud See, at the entrance the guard actually warned us this might happen. Said it rained the night before and our vehicle looks too heavy to brave the mud. “You’ve been warned!”
And what did we do? AIH IT’S OK WAN DON’T WORRY.
Making the most of a bad situation, pre-drinks at the carpark! ♥ While waiting for the towtruck (that never came). All that time, Alesso was already playing, and we could hear it from the carpark.
After hanging around for about 20 minutes, the guard came back to tell us the towtruck ain’t coming, and to just go on over to the party. They’ll keep an eye on our (very big, very out of place, & very stuck) vehicle YAYTHANKS!
But BOO we missed Alesso for nothing!
(Btw David Guetta & Alesso are coming down to KL this 12 October! I’m actually more excited about Alesso. He’s damn power. Don’t miss it guys!)
Walked over this staircase—
—and met this view. Whoa.
And this isn’t even 1/5th of it! It’s so massive and spread out on either sides, I’ve never seen anything like it.
Meow! Me and my cool cats, Jerry & Gerald
Evelyn, Jerry & Jolyne ♥
Dancing in the mud!
First thing’s first, get the alcohol.
The line was crazy long, as expected. Didn’t wanna ever go queue up again, so we bought the whole crate heh!
Check out the barricade in the background? We had to queue up OUTSIDE the barricade, in order to get in. Crowd control la, which is a good idea because I’ve seen how mad it can get at the drinks booth at other events.
Also I noticed we rarely ever get served glass bottles here in the UK/Europe. You order a bottle at the bar, they pour it into a plastic cup and serve it to you. Or at events like these, plastic bottles. I was told it’s ’cause parties here can get quite havoc. And you don’t want people throwing glass bottles at people, or using them in fights!
The Hatfield House gang arrived later, finally! YAY!
Stupid fat photo of me but it’s ok lah it’s one of the very few group photos we have :(
Me, Melly, Sueann, & Wit. Delson & Jean at the back with an excited white guy!
We sing, we dance, we skippy rope in the mud! ♥
Taking a break & marvelling at our masterpieces LOL
Melly in her cute polkadot poncho ’cause it was raining on and off all day!
Dark cloud rolling in. But we don’t care! Party on!
And I damn well love my poncho, wachaa!
It soon started getting dark (around 9-10pm?) and we knew the 3 main men were coming up.
The crowd was getting restless. If there’s one thing I have mad respect for the party-goers here, it’s the way they NEVER let the party lag. This 9-hour long party was never boring, never tiring; and if ever the music was a bit slow, the crowd would sing songs and chant the “Seven Nation Army” tune, just to pump themselves up The energy never dies, and the DJs don’t have to do much to keep it that way!
I noticed this here, and once more later at Tomorrowland. 3-day party and you wonder how they keep the energy constantly UP like that!
Some guy near us brought fireworks/flare torch!
Clever fella. He got onto the video, btw ;)
It was all so surreal to me. And even a bit starstruck throughout the night
It was magic. You can kinda feel that everyone felt the same way; everyone’s partying and having mad fun, yet there’s an air of sadness and melancholy about bidding them farewell. That what we’re seeing now before us, would be their last. History in the making, even. Even though I knew I was going to see them once more at Tomorrowland, but this is exclusively their show, their night.
I dunno. It was pretty crazy. x
Dumped our disgusting wellies and called it a night
AND THENNN they went and made their “Don’t You Worry Child” video, shot right at this event :D
Gila happy okay! And mad proud that I was there to witness it.
SIGH SO EMOTIONAL EVERYTIME I HEAR THIS SONG NOW
Part 3 coming soon :) yeahoo I think I’m getting my blogging rhythm back!