Tuesday, 30 September 2014

Dressing for an Autumn wedding.

On Saturday, Henry and I attended our first wedding together---is that a relationship milestone?---in Coventry.

Thursday, 25 September 2014

Top 10 Asia Feature + 20 Random Facts about my boyfriend

I'm in a Top 10 Asia magazine feature 'The Charming and The Inspiring' alongside absolute beauties Serena C, Datin Reiss Tiara, Elizabeth Shen-Lyn Lee, Nadia Heng, and Rebecca Saw.

Monday, 22 September 2014

My multitasking dining room/ home office + Shop the look

Hands up if you, like me, have the privilege of working from home. Yes, I see you, you, and you over there. Hands up if you're a city-dweller who knows all too well the challenge of making a small apartment a multitasking space to live and work in. Even now I'm typing this sitting on my bedroom floor, my back propped against the bed frame, so that my housemate and her friend can enjoy the dining room (which incidentally is also the living room, oh I can't wait to have my own study!). Of all the rooms in my London apartment the dining area is the one that works the hardest. Ever since I bought my first apartment four years ago, that little space (really a corner in the living room) has seen duty as a dining room and my home office. All of that is changing when I finally get the keys to my studio and move all my extra furniture there---I am currently have one Ghost chair too many---but for now this humble little nook in my apartment multitasks as the space where I dine and work from home. The furnishings are mostly IKEA and decorated with some vintage, prints sourced from Society 6, Etsy, and both independent galleries and museums alike---I love museum gift shops for home decor, posters, and gifts!---and accessories from H&M Home. For the sake of my sanity living in such a small flat I keep the common areas clean and white and restrict my questionable taste (gothic kitsch, anyone?) to my bedroom. If for whatever reason you want to replicate the look of my dining room or if anything takes your fancy, I've made a collage with shopping links to the very same furnishings and accessories that currently occupy my hardworking, humble little dining room/home office, below.

Friday, 19 September 2014

Selfridges goes to the movies: Everyman Cinema at Selfridges launch

Yesterday Luxy and I had the pleasure of attending the launch of Everyman Cinema at Selfridges. I'm well enough acquainted with Everyman Cinema at 'Power of Summer', Battersea Power Station having attended twice (the first time I got the date wrong, the second time I was an hour late for the movie) and having rolled around the furniture as per the suggestion of the chairman himself. This inception of Everyman Cinema at Selfridges is quite different from its predecessor. At Battersea Power Station edition cinema goers felt 'one with the night', sitting in the open air on beanbags (or in elevated pods, as I did) wearing headphones, watching a giant screen backdropped by the iconic Power Station chimneys, scaffolding, and cranes. By contrast, the Selfridges experience was very much a 'boutique experience' befitting a boutique cinema brand such as Everyman Cinema. An exclusive collaboration, it's the first department store-based cinema the UK has seen, screening both national releases and a regularly updated and curated themed film programme. 

Thursday, 18 September 2014

East London Eats: Lyle's

There is for me a time and place for being an intrepid gastronomical gadabout. Usually I save my food treks for vacations in more exotic locales but as much I aspire to lead the sort of life of leisure that reads: Eat. Swim. Sleep. Read. Repeat. the rather sobering truth is that I'm no longer the lush I used to be. Now you're just some lady of leisure that I used to know, some lady-y-y... Digressing. In the interest of being informative in the way of East London's gastronomical offerings, I wholly and unselfishly make it a point to try a new eatery once a week in Shoreditch, Dalston, any postcode that starts with an E. Representin', innit. So far I've offered my opinion on Typing Room and Well & Bucket in Bethnal Green, and DF/ Mexico on Brick Lane but somehow always forget to take my camera to Rotorino's, never mind that's a blog post for another day. In the meanwhile here's one of my locals, Lyle's in Shoreditch.

Wednesday, 17 September 2014

Posh Twat vs. Vicious Chav (aka when Henry kicked a thug's arse untilthe police arrived)

Happy Humpday! Here's to overcoming the proverbial hill that is the first half of the week and anticipating the approach of the weekend. Has anything especially eventful happened to you thus far? 

Myself, I had the most dramatic Tuesday. This week I went away to the idyllic seaside town of Leigh-on-Sea with Henry hoping the fresh air would clear my chest infection. Upon my return from a relaxing few days by the beach I witnessed a kerfuffle on the train platform back to London. An angry thug, topless save for a couple of tattoos on his chest and wrist, was roaming the platform, shouting, screaming, looking for a fight, harassing and attacking people. Stupidly, the brainless idiot tried to pick a fight with Henry probably thinking 'this posh twat dresses nice and has a bird with 'im, he ain't going to do nuthin' innit'. How wrong he was, as he soon found out. 

Case file: 'Posh twat who dresses nice' Please note how large his head (and fists!) are. It's the size of a watermelon.

Henry told him, repeatedly, very politely I must stress, to go away and stop perplexing everyone's tranquility and BOOM, the little reprobate threw a swing at Henry. And missed. After several more admonitions to 'Go away you little brat and stop trying to fight me' from Henry it was clear the little thug wasn't used to people standing up to him and telling him to step down, so he tried to save face by aggravating Henry into fighting. Henry rolled his eyes and let the aggressor hit him a few times out of sportsmanship (wasted on the little savage, if he can't even be bothered to wear a top when in public surely he doesn't understand basic social niceties) but when the little thug started shouting racist remarks and lunging at me Henry started to take the situation quite seriously. 

It was clear that the little chav wasn't leaving without a fight when he aimed a kicked at Henry's face but fell over instead. Henry laughed and said 'Go home, you're making a fool of yourself' and the thug tackled him and tried to throw Henry on to the train tracks 'I'm gonna 'ave you on the tracks. The train's comin'. You're dead!". Now, my Henry is a man who despite his size, training, and choice of quotes (Friday night's fight night!) prefers defusing fights than getting into one but when attempted murder is involved, all bets are off. Threatening to kill my boyfriend? No amount of Hail Marys with the hideous rosary tattooed around the ruffian's neck (or was it wrist?) will absolve you of that sin, you absolute piece of sh*t. The whole time the thug is trashing around like a freshly caught fish and Henry was actually concerned for the attacker's safety, pulling him away from the train tracks even as the lowlife is trying to have Henry thrown onto the path of an incoming train.

At some point in the struggle, Henry jabbed the rascal with a swift uppercut and broke the would-be murderer's nose. The scumbag is swaying on the train platform with blood streaming down his face and down his naked front. The only visible damage Henry has sustained is to his crisp white shirt, now splattered with the thug's blood. Up to this point everyone on the platform was either watching silently or filming on their phones. A lady on the other side of the platform was calling the police, as was the woman who works in the ticket hall. Henry gave the broken-nosed idiot too much credit when he gave the fool a cigarette and said, politely, "If you have half a brain, you'd leave now. Your nose is broken, you can't even hit me, and the police are on the way. Just take this cigarette, go, and go see a doctor about your nose." Good manners are absolutely wasted on people like that! The dirtbag turns his attention to the woman opposite the platform and starts shouting extremely racially-charged abuse (can't type it here, even thinking it makes me ill) at her for 'callin' the feds' on him. Then someone else spoke up. A quiet schoolboy, still in his uniform, walked right up to the angry wretch who is now smoking on the train platform, swaggering and trying (but failing) to regain some lost dignity as blood gushes out his nose. The brave schoolboy who was no older than 15 tells him to 'stop being racist, there's no need to disrespect my race and her (the woman opposite who called the police) race'. People on our train platform start speaking up and yell at him to leave. 

Finally taking a hint that his presence was unwanted, the broken-nosed twat skulked off still smoking the cigarette Henry gave him by way of placating, but not before shouting obscenities at everyone present. Henry stepped outside for a cigarette, as it should be lawfully done. All was seemingly back to order when the ticket-office lady poked her head out and trembled "He's coming back, and I can't get hold of British Transport Police! Can you please stand guard and don't let him back in?" Henry puffs himself up to his full size (6'1", large head emphasised by long hair on top and short on the sides, quite broad shoulders) up like a sheriff in a Western and blocks the entrance to the train station. For whatever reason the scumbag's addled brain concocted, he thought it was a good idea to come back and start another fight with a man who he obviously was no match for on a train platform with at least two more people willing to stand up to him. So the little ruffian comes back, more incensed than ever, and is jabbing his fingers into my boyfriend's sizeable chest and trying to reenter the train station. Naturally he can't get around Henry's shoulders blocking the door. Henry's shouting authoritatively at the thug "You're not coming back to harass anyone, GO!" 

Thankfully the British Transport Police arrived at that point. The thug legs it (itself resisting arrest, clever move young man, go ahead and dig yourself a little deeper) and as he runs threw away what looked like a little white bag (drugs?) before being headed off, arrested, and hauled away. Henry and I went back on the platform, receiving appreciative and congratulatory pats on the back and we boarded our train back to London thinking that that was the last of a reasonably dramatic evening. I was quite looking forward to enjoying my book and chocolate bar when the train was halted, and British Transport Police came on board looking for us. We got off at the next stop and spent the rest of our evening giving a statement to a very sympathetic police officer.

Officer, to Henry: "Are you alright? Have you sustained any injuries? How do you feel about this incident, are you distressed etc.?"
Henry holds up the mink he's wearing around his neck---"It's fine, I'm a tough man. These were the last two guys who messed with me"---and waves their flattened furry faces at the officer.

Like so.

Eventually we got back to London very late as giving a police statement is, as some of you may have personally experienced, quite a long and detailed process necessarily in the facilitation of keeping law and order. Henry had to give over his blood-splattered shirt for forensic examination. I think the officer was expecting Henry to go to the bathroom and remove it but Henry just whipped it off and bellowed "Any excuse to get naked! But this time it's different, this time I'm being asked to strip!" and the illustrious hairs on Henry's bare chest ruffled splendidly with mock indignation. As it stands, the offending thug in question is being held in police custody and when he's fit to be interviewed the trial process will begin, probably with him being stupid enough to deny everything even though we have witnesses, CCTV recordings, and possibly coming soon to Youtube a video entitled "Posh twat vs. vicious chav". 

This sort of thing, that is aggressive people looking to start a fight, happens a lot in the city (but rarely in quiet seaside towns where we were, which made it all the more unexpected). Most of the time people don't make eye contact nor say anything hoping that the aggressors get bored and move on. And they usually do. In my experience if you refuse to engage these ruffians in their attempts at provocation they get bored and bugger off to take their pollutive presence elsewhere. Perhaps this is why thugs like these get away with it, because they've become accustomed to not being challenged. I don't blame the people who look away when trouble-makers try and get their attention by shouting and swaggering. In fact, I prefer to ignore them rather than rise to it which would excite them. But in this case the reprobate actually started getting violent and outright threatened to kill. Oh, and did I mention that halfway through the fight the thug made out that he had a knife? He put his hands down his trousers (which made him look ridiculous, I wanted to say 'Stop touching yourself in public, you are in the presence of women and children!') and shouted 'I have a knife, I'm going to get it out and stab you!' to which Henry rolled his eyes and said 'You don't have a knife, if you did you'd have used it by now, and probably accidentally stabbed yourself in the leg with it.' 

I'm sure I speak for a lot of people when I say I wish I was confident enough to be the first one to intervene when someone is physically threatening another. But in fact I'm not, because I'm not brave enough to confront a violent, unpredictable thug with nothing to lose and who could very well be carrying a concealed weapon that could end my life. I just thank my lucky stars that I have Henry. In a world full of sociopaths and psychopaths who come in all shapes and sizes (I can't decide if it's the clever, subtle ones or the obvious ones who are more dangerous) I have never felt safer knowing that I have this courageous, principled, loving man who has sworn that he would never let any harm come to me. If I've taken anything away from this, it's not that I'm a braver person for it, but perhaps Henry has inspired me to be less afraid to take a stand when my fellow man is endangered.

If you're wondering about the gorgeous jacket Henry is wearing in the photo above, it's available to buy from his shop Regimental on ASOS.

It's a 1970's British Army Royal Artillery, Warrant Officer's 'Mess dress' tunic with large red lapels bearing Royal Horse Artillery regimental badges. The jacket is going for £50. I can't promise that wearing it will make you strong enough to restrain thugs until the police arrive, but it will certainly make you look smart at your next soiree or even whilst drinking Umbongo at The Ritz (a story for another day).

More new things on Regimental. 

Genuine British Army woodland camouflage jacket as seen on Henry (ASOH?) - £25. 

Modelled by my lovely housemate Priska, vintage Austrian Military (ha! She's German) olive green army shirt - only £10, Urban Outfitters would probably sell the same thing for £30! and grey German Army (we're really running with her heritage here!) medic cap - £15. For all your vintage military and accessory needs consider Regimental on ASOS and please 'like' Regimental on Facebook.

Now if you will excuse me, I have to return a phone call to the police, shoot more gorgeous new stock for Regimental (sheepskin coats, Harris Tweeds and waxed jackets just in time for autumn!), and hopefully have another peaceful day devoid of rascals and rapscallions. 


Monday, 15 September 2014

An Illustrated Roman Holiday for The House of Peroni by Jasiminne Yip

My illustration series 'An Illustrated Roman Holiday' commissioned by The House of Peroni is up on their website! I've been a supporter of The House of Peroni ever since its launch last year (and my boyfriend has been a supporter ie. great drinker of Peroni itself, haha) and blogged about The House launch in May.  Their website is an online showcase of the very best of the Italian New Wave in features, fashion shoots and articles that celebrate the vivacious spirit at the heart of Peroni Nastro Azzurro. The editor is a friend and one of the loveliest people I know, so when Ava asked if I would like to contribute to The House of Peroni with more or less and open brief I said Sì per favore. There, now you know why I went to Rome and The Vatican City, it was all in the name of research. 

You can see more of my feature on The House of Peroni website. An Illustrated Roman Holiday is also on my work website Jasiminne Yip Illustration which I urge you to peruse, should you be so inclined, and also add to your bookmark folder. I've got some exciting new projects in the works and I'm not the most tight-lipped person in the world when it comes to keeping mum about my work, so chances are if you 'Like' my Facebook page and follow me on Tumblr you might just catch me let something slip. Here's my indiscretion of the day; I had a chest infection over the weekend (and still do!) so I've been keeping busy with preparing for the move to my new studio. I've said enough, so I leave you to peruse these links at your leisure. Have a happy and illustrious week ahead. x 

Friday, 12 September 2014

Late Night with Rufus Wainwright (!), Prom 74 at Royal Albert Hall

Last night my emotions were running high when Henry and I spent an evening, or rather a 'Late Night with Rufus Wainwright' as he closed the BBC Proms at Royal Albert Hall. Rufus Wainwright, to put it simply, made my life bearable as an teenager. I was a fifteen year old with peers who simply couldn't comprehend my eschewing contemporary pop for classical compositions and my love of sweeping arias that in my mind expressed the sort of exquisite angst that I imagined to suffer. I sound like a savant, but I imagine that most young people of that age think themselves to be the greatest sufferer in a world of injustice and outcast in a society full of people 'who just doesn't get' them. Anyway! As a teenager growing up in Malaysia discovering music beyond the stuff fed to us by radio was an expensive and tedious endeavour---music on the internet wasn't what it was then. I remember Youtube being new and unchartered territory at the time and Spotify didn't exist yet---so trying and buying CDs at the music store (themselves offering a limited selection in Kuala Lumpur) was really the only way to discovering new artists and bands. It was a life-changing moment when, in 2001, I chanced upon Rufus Wainwright's second album in Kinokuniya in Singapore. Entranced by his illustrious mutton chops he sported in his cover photo and the song titles of tracks alluding themes of antiquity and classics, I parted with a CD of Poses tucked inside my red fetching leather jacket

And so begun a descend into a grandiose celebration of melancholy. I sighed with Wainwright as he longed for the beautiful Greek boy in Greek Song, imagined myself as The Consort to his master the Rebel Prince, and fantasised taking long, languid strolls of fashionable navel-gazing to Poses. Craving more I sought out his eponymous debut album and fell hard into his 'popera' world of tragic heroines, heartbreak, and demons. His classical compositions, wine-drenched nasal drawl, and vulnerable vibrato would comfort me throughout my painfully awkward teenage years and into adulthood. I used to trawl Limewire (remember that?) searching for fileshares of his songs and downloaded his many contributions to movie soundtracks (I love Stairway to Paradise, Hallelujah, and Complainte de la Butte which incidentally was the first French song I taught myself to sing). I collected his albums in CD form and eventually graduated to iTune when I bought my first (and only!) iTunes album Rufus Does Judy at Carnegie Hall. 

To put it simply, Rufus Wainwright's music was my constant companion throughout many years of (imagined or exaggerated in my young, angst-ridden mind) my unbearable darkness of being. So to finally hear him perform live after more than ten years of being in love with his music was, to put it simply, an experience. Bathed in the glow of the Royal Albert Hall, I shuddered with ecstasy, held back tears, soared with emotion, and sung (under my breath) to Cigarettes and Chocolate Milk accompanied by the instrumentals of Britten Sinfonia.

I was only feet away from Rufus and although I was on the 'wrong side' of the stalls I had an amazing view of his floppy hair, expressive gestures, and the starfish brooch he wore, a gift from Helena Bonham Carter. Oh, and I could also read the sheet music from where I sat and knew which songs he'd sing next because I could see the titles on the sheets!

Henry knows Wainwright's more recent songs, covers, and movie soundtracks whereas I was all about 'vintage Rufus' but nonetheless we both tremendously enjoyed his medley of showbiz tunes, newer songs from his latest album, arias from his opera sung by soprano Deborah Voigt, and of course classics from Poses.

To roaring applause and demands of an encore Wainwright came back to serenade us all with Somewhere Over The Rainbow.

It was a very emotional, uplighting, and exhilarating evening. Even as I type this now the gooseflesh and hair on my arms won't go away, and I won't be forgetting about this experience anytime soon.  Should you endeavour to discover Rufus Wainwright's 'baroque pop' for the first time may I suggest starting with the album Poses, seconding with his debut album, and then following with Want One and Want Two? Should all the melancholy be too straining, change the pace with his upbeat cover of Judy Garland at Carnegie Hall. Now if you will excuse me, I'm off to listen to all his albums back-to-back. Such an indulgence. x

ps. I'm very tempted to watch him in Hyde Park tomorrow with Earth, Wind and Fire. Should I? Should I?
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