Kuala Lumpur Butterfly Park, Shoes Shoes Shoes, & Malaysia snippets


Selamat sejahtera from Malaysia! Kembalilah ku ke tanahair sejak hari Selasa. 

I have returned to my homeland since Tuesday, with my Henry in tow, and any anxiety or jet lag has melted away like the nasi lemak I had for breakfast in the juices of my stomach. Yes, anxiety, I wasn't sure if I'd make it back in time for the Malaysia Tatler Ball, or to meet my five-month old niece, or in time to welcome Michiekin's baby boy into the world, or even back to Kuala Lumpur this year at all! Home Office bureaucracy and all that: in September I applied for an extension of my leave to remain in the UK so the HO held my passport and BRP, essentially grounding me in the country during a period of immigration limbo. And now you know why my last holiday abroad was Lisbon, in July! Anyway, I had some favours called in and persuaded the HO to expedite the usual eight weeks+ processing time so that I could make the flight I wanted. As planned, I landed in Kuala Lumpur mere hours after Michiekins gave birth and went straight from the airport to the hospital to welcome my godson, little baby M, into this world. And, tonight I'm going to see my cousin and visit my very first niece: her baby daughter whose birth in Summer I missed. So yes, the entire month of September and first half of October I wasn't sure if I would get my travel documents back in time to make it to Malaysia for the 21st. I only found out the weekend before and hurriedly booked flights: both for myself and for Henry. I wanted to show him my beautiful homeland and introduce him to polite Malaysian society by debuting him at this year's Malaysia Tatler Ball. For the sake of love, generosity, and girlfriend points I made the ultimate selfless sacrifice (by my personal standards that is): my comfort. Yes, comfort --- I eschewed my usual flight and endured 12 hours in economy class for Henry, because I wanted to surprise him with a plane ticket to Malaysia, but had a dilemma: I only had enough dollah for either one business-class tickets (last minute flights are expensive) or two economy tickets...so economy it had to be. As luck would have it Sheena was on the same flight so the three of us got a row to ourselves. Anyway, this paragraph is getting too long, so I'll fast forward to yesterday, our first proper day in Malaysia as Tuesday and Wednesday gave way to jet lag.

I'm on a mission to do the most touristy things in Malaysia---from K.L to Penang to Pahang to Melaka---so we started with Kuala Lumpur Butterfly park in the city. Henry likes to tell children that butter is made from butterflies, because 'they don't look like butter, so they must be called butterflies because the taste like butter. If you buy a tub of 'I can't believe it's not Butterfly!' from the supermarket, open it and moths will fly out!" Sigh. When we have children he's going to fill their heads with such nonsense. Butterflies even.










Did I mention that I accidentally bought a new camera? On Wednesday I went into a camera shop on the ground floor of Times Square, hoping to upgrade my six-year old Canon 450D with a very strict (or so I thought) budget. "Uncle, I want a Canon EF pancake lens, and I don't want to spend more than £100 (RM500!)" An hour later I walked out with a new Canon 600D, prime lens, and a filter I bought on a whim because it had a classy-looking gold rim. Ummm. It could've been worse, I could've bought a 7D. So now I'm justifying that impulse buy by taking lots of pictures of typical tourist photo fodder: flowers, butterflies, rocks, all of nature's creations.











Kuala Lumpur butterfly park is one of the city's favourite tourist attractions. Under the mesh canopy of the park a lush landscape of tropical plants and dazzling jewel-coloured flowers are home to over six thousand butterflies from more than 120 species. Waterfalls pour into ponds where koi, catfish,  and snapping turtles swim. Even the lower levels of the park, little paths under moss-covered bridges, are lined with aquariums of frogs, scorpions, and curious creatures. The humidity should be more stifling but the abundant greenery makes the heat less so, and even the flapping of the butterfly's wings against your cheek as they brazenly perch on you (especially if you're wearing bright colours) makes the littlest of breezes that you're grateful for. As you leave you cool down in an air-conditioned room with an exhibition of taxidermy butterflies and insects, as well as live bugs in tanks modelled after their natural habitat. Is it a bit morbid that after the living beauty of the butterfly park, the exhibition room of preserved insects has a distinct scent of mothballs? But I love morbid! I'm not even vaguely unnerved by the souvenir shop and its walls and rows covered in boxes of taxidermy insects.






I bought myself a box of 26 taxidermy tropical butterflies, pictures at the end of this post, promise. 


Afterward I spent a good hour getting lost in the city before finally making it to nearby Bangsar, where I treated Henry to a hearty lunch of banana leaf rice. I just realised that this order of photos,without captions, looks like a narrative of: went to see butterflies in natural habitat, killed and displayed butterflies, ate some butterflies. 


The task of cutting, cleaning, and preparing banana leaves to serve rice on.



After our lunch I went to my usual favourite boutique On A Cloudy Day and came away with a pretty Pucci dress, then went to Inside Scoop and placed an order for two takeaway boxes of their signature durian ice-cream because my cousin has been craving some even while pregnant, and then we checked out Shoes Shoes Shoes new shop on Jalan Telawi 3. 





I love these earrings but can't decide if they're too 'much' to wear to the Tatler Ball? I played it safe and bought a pair of nude mules with clear wedge heels. Oh I just realised that last sentence is a contradiction. 


Henry being street style shot by Wolfgang KL in Bangsar...already attracting so much attention and he's only been in KL for over a day. Tut.


My shopping haul from yesterday: taxidermy tropical butterflies and my Shoes Shoes Shoes mules.

Abrupt end of blog post, because I have a meeting with Malaysia Tatler now. x
October 24, 2014

Kuala Lumpur Butterfly Park, Shoes Shoes Shoes, & Malaysia snippets

Selamat sejahtera  from Malaysia!  Kembalilah ku ke tanahair sejak hari Selasa.  I have returned to my homeland since Tuesday, wi...

Bermondsey Bites : Village East


Village East is the latest addition to my list of Bermondsey Bites, joining the ranks of my favourite Bermondsey street restaurants Pizarro, Jose, and Casse Croute. Next on my to-do (or should that be to-chew?) list is Zucca but that's another review for another lunch break on a day slaving in my new South London artist studio. Anyway, Village East came highly recommended by my friend Cleo, and so on an absentminded, overcast midday I found myself wandering through the doors, expecting a cozy coffee and deli sort of brunch spot but being stunned by the vast space (booths opposite the bar and a quiet bar lounge adjacent to the main dining rooms) and eclectic, industrial-chic interiors. 





I loaded up on carbs for a hard day's work with two bread starters; caramelised onion bread with the fluffiest butter flecked with sea salt, and toast with a pot of duck pate and orange marmalade.




My favourite thing to do is to hollow out the bread rolls by pulling out the insides, then stuffing it with the butter, spreads, pates etc. from different dishes on the table. After all what is bread but a vehicle for more substantial food? That was allegedly how the sandwich was invented, when in 1762 John Montagu 4th Earl of Sandwich needed something to hold his meat with while gambling. Bread is essentially gloves...made of carbs. Carb gloves. Mmmmm. *Homer Simpson drooling sound*

For a more balanced meal, I followed the bread-fest with a vegetarian dish of autumn hash with spinach, goat's cheese, onion, and fried duck egg. Delicious, filling, and healthy I'd like to imagine.



That the food is delicious is one thing, but I also love their decor! 





x
October 23, 2014

Bermondsey Bites : Village East

Village East is the latest addition to my list of Bermondsey Bites , joining the ranks of   my favourite Bermondsey street restaurant...

East London Eats: Maison Trois Garcons


Malaysian food served in the cafe of a French lifestyle shop in trendy East London?
October 22, 2014

East London Eats: Maison Trois Garcons

Malaysian food served in the cafe of a French lifestyle shop in trendy East London?

Drinks are on the house*: the rooftop bar, Mondrian London

*not really. Two glasses of champagne and an espresso martini will set you back a not-entirely-reasonable £45.

Last night I clinked glasses with birthday boy Percy at the rooftop bar of Mondrian, a new hotel at the sea containers on the South Bank.
October 19, 2014

Drinks are on the house*: the rooftop bar, Mondrian London

*not really. Two glasses of champagne and an espresso martini will set you back a not-entirely-reasonable £45. Last night I clinked ...

Ping Pong Autumn/Winter menu

Recognising my undisputed* title of East London's Most Prolific and Illustrious Dim Sum Eating East Asian Expatriate**, Ping Pong very kindly invited me to try and review the new seasonal additions to their Autumn menu. *probably disputed **title does not exist, but should
October 17, 2014

Ping Pong Autumn/Winter menu

Recognising my undisputed* title of East London's Most Prolific and Illustrious Dim Sum Eating East Asian Expatriate **, Ping Pong ...

Frieze London 2014 : Opening Night


Yesterday evening everybody who was anybody in the art world---curators, artists, and collectors alike---descended upon Regent's Park for Frieze London and Frieze Masters.
October 15, 2014

Frieze London 2014 : Opening Night

Yesterday evening everybody who was anybody in the art world---curators, artists, and collectors alike---descended upon Regent's P...

Grey, my classic.




LIFESTYLE ESSENTIALS:
Chanel purse
Burger & Lobster Oyster card holder (gifted)
H&M 'Love' wallet, for receipts
H&M wallet, for plasters, eyedrops, etc.
Philips Citiscape headphones (I want the grey ones)



STATIONERY:
Red Valentino notebook (gifted)
Let's Blog Some Sh*t (a gift from Amber, thank you!)
Tresor Paris gold bar flash drive (gifted)
iPad mini (gifted)
iPad mini skin, Marble by Marta Olga Klara on Society 6
H&M pencil case (similar here)
Victoria's Secret name card holder 


MAKEUP:
Chanel 'Frenzy' nail polish
Chanel 'La Fascinante' lipstick
Laura Mercier 'creme de pistache' eau de toilette. The most delicious pistachio scent that will make you smell like a cake, in the best way!
Vaseline Pink Bubbly
Crabtree & Evelyn 'pomegranate' hand cream

My grey Prada Saffiano is one of my personal classics. I've seen handbags---designer, high-street, vintage---come and go through the figurative revolving doors of my wardrobe. In fact, at any given time only less than 20 out of 50 or so handbags remain in my permanent collection. The rest are either on rotation between mummy and I, or are borrowed from good friends, or destined to be given away much to the delight of my friends. But...! This hero bag, the Saffiano, is very much a fixture in my life. The grey is a classic and versatile colour; glacial in winter, transitional in autumn, unexpected in summer, pale and pretty in spring. The simple and structured shape is ingenious in all its minimality. The many compartments inside are the key to keeping the contents of my purse (all 5kg of it) organised and myself from tipping over into a hysterical breakdown every time I need to fish for lipstick or a business card. Many say that black is a true classic. I don't know if that's true for me. By now you know of the story about how I gave up wearing purple, burgundy, and black when my fortune teller told me that those were my three unlucky colours. Happily dove grey is lucky for me and so are pastels. Now I carry this baby, in a beautiful shade of taupe, on my arm safe in my superstitious mind that the colour will protect me from harm, and if not the colour at least my stupidly heavy handbag will double as an excellent weapon against unsolicited amorous gestures. x

OTHER 'WHAT'S IN MY HANDBAG' BLOG POSTS :
(as far as I can remember, anyway)

How I Fell In Love With A Lady In Red - Louis Vuitton Sofia Coppola
かげほしのバッグスワグ - Anya Hindmarch Earl Bottom Pinch
4 x The Prada, 4 x The Power - Prada Saffiano 
Notes On Style - Dior Lady
That's My Bag, Baby - Hermes Kelly
C'est mon trésor - Delfonics “Quitterie C’est Mon Trésor”



October 08, 2014

Grey, my classic.

LIFESTYLE ESSENTIALS: Chanel purse Burger & Lobster Oyster card holder (gifted) H&M 'Love' wallet, for re...

Too Much Dancing, Not Enough Fighting (ps. Happy Birthday Damo ♡)



...so said Henry when we were at Scotch to wish Damian a Happy Birthday. 
October 05, 2014

Too Much Dancing, Not Enough Fighting (ps. Happy Birthday Damo ♡)

...so said Henry when we were at Scotch to wish Damian a Happy Birthday. 

Hillarys At The Harbour


A sudden and striking realisation hit me---there are no curtains in my life. None whatsoever. It's not that there aren't any windows where I live, quite the contrary; my Shoreditch apartment has floor-to-ceiling windows strategically facing both South and East for maximum light, my Battersea Power Station apartment-to be has a sheltered balcony with glass walls that spans the length of the place, and my new artist studio has huge windows, an increasing rarity. But curtains and blinds? Hmmmm. My BPS flat isn't due for completion till 2016, so I'll cross that bridge when I come to it. I'm enjoying the natural light I get in my artist studio so curtains for that space isn't exactly high on my priority list. My Shoreditch flat? I did have in the living room these sheer drapes on a flimsy IKEA curtain wire that kept getting ripped down by drunken guests back in my party animal days, and ever since I've made do with these fabric rolling blinds (is that the term for it?) fitted into the window frames to prevent clumsy curtain-related incidents. So as far as the eyes to the home (windows) go, I've got peepers galore, but when it comes to the eyelashes to the eyes of the home (curtains) I'm as bare as a nervous obsessive-compulsive who plucks their eyelashes when stressed. 

A couple of weeks ago Hillarys invited me to preview their new  collection of Roman blinds and curtains, a collaboration with House Beautiful magazine. Over the past months the Hillarys product design team worked closely with one of the biggest and best home magazines in the UK - House Beautiful - to create an edited collection of Roman blinds and curtains. The ‘Global Textures’ range is the result of this collaboration with House Beautiful; a capsule collection of 21 fabulous fabrics across three chic colour palettes. Myself, Henry, and other bloggers were invited to see, touch, and hear all about the new collection ahead of its UK launch in the penthouse of Chelsea Harbour HotelExperts, including head of product design Sarah Quilliam and House Beautiful editor Julia Goodwin, were on hand with insider tips on the inspiration behind the collection and how to use the new fabric designs in the home as well as the trends to look out for over the coming seasons ---a feat as the creative process takes 8 months, meaning that they have to forecast the trends for the coming year.


The Hillarys & House Beautiful range of Roman blind and curtain fabrics are inspired by architecture from around the world, with damask and jacquard, and textures that bring to mind Roman arches, Portuguese tiles, and traditional textile techniques. The fabrics have a 'three-way', sitting in three colour palettes that the design team have taken great care to ensure they complement each other beautifully to make it easy to layer contrasting blinds with curtains for a eclectic yet cohesive feel. In an interview, Julia Goodwin describes the collection: "Global Textures is a clever and individual edited collection of fabrics that blend together to make it easy to create a unique and distinctive look in your room. It’s stylish but also very trend led. The different finishes - embroidery, jacquard and print - add a global accent to the designs." 


Hillarys understands the appeal of the brand to individuals and busy families who want their homes to combine inspiration with practical elements, and so for  their client's convenience will visit them at home at a time that suits them. Hillarys are very welcome to show up, unannounced, to my homes and surprise me with a total makeover. I'm especially partial to the grey range, hint hint.




I fell in love with these two mood boards; my favourite colour is grey (next to mint green and dusky rose or as I like to call it 'blush') and I love jacquards, damasks, and chevrons. Even though I don't especially like bright pink nor purple (purple used to be my favourite colour until I learnt that it was my unlucky colour, so I've since conditioned myself to dislike it) I found myself quite drawn to it, I think they especially compliment the yellows in House Beautiful & Hillarys' carefully curated colour palette.








I am especially enamoured with the 'faded ombre' look of these two fabrics. Hillarys & House Beautiful fabrics are designed to be fade-resistant as possible, undergoing intense testing involving being blasted constantly with light to imitate the effects of sun exposure. Even so, the fabrics are lined, giving it fade-resistance akin to the leather seats of a BMW if I'm not mistaken. 





Henry doing his signature 'yawning cat' and pretending to be a cat just emerging from a nap behind the curtains.

Until then I hadn't even thought of curtains, so busy have I been with decorating three different properties (my Shoreditch flat, my studio, Henry's flat), planning a fourth (my Battersea one), and possibly buying a fifth in South London (my mother offered me a Bermondsey apartment to make my travelling to the studio easier). Even now Henry's living room has a gorgeous heavy duty rail that we spent a good two hours to install, but no curtains. And don't even get me started on my own apartment! Inevitably Henry will be needing coverings for the windows, as will we both should we ever get a place together, and I can safely say that Hillarys & House Beautiful's grey palette and ombre damask curtains are on our shopping list. Discover the range here. x 

October 04, 2014

Hillarys At The Harbour

A sudden and striking realisation hit me---there are no curtains in my life. None whatsoever. It's not that there aren't any w...

The House of Peroni October 2014 launch


Yesterday evening I attended The House Of Peroni launch of their October residency at the townhouse, 64, Lincoln's Inn Fields. 
October 03, 2014

The House of Peroni October 2014 launch

Yesterday evening I attended The House Of Peroni launch of their October residency at the townhouse, 64, Lincoln's Inn Fields. 

Bermondsey Bites : Casse-Croûte


I have returned to Bermondsey!
October 02, 2014

Bermondsey Bites : Casse-Croûte

I have returned to Bermondsey!