15 September 2014

to hong kong with love...


I have a few weeks off before I start the new job so we decided to take advantage of the time and sneak in a week to Hong Kong.  The Mr could work from his office there and it left me, my mama and the little lady to enjoy the city.

I lived in HK for two years between 2008-2010 and definitely have a love affair with the city.  I have been back and forth for work since then but this was the first time in a long time that I have spent some 'off' time there.   It was so different seeing it and experiencing it with a kid in tow and I didn't get to do a lot of what we used to do.  But we did have a great week (despite the toddler sleep regression which is still ongoing..sigh) revisiting our old haunts, catch ups and playdates with friends and discovering some cool new places.   

Here are a few of my tips from our week: 

The Peak - We were spoiled with beautiful, clear (but hot!) summery weather all week so we took advantage and went for an outing up to the Peak. The little lady loved the Peak Tram and there are some great walks and playgrounds up there for the little ones.   

The Star Ferry - I always love taking the star ferry when I am in HK - it's such a great little escape from the hustle and bustle of the city.

The Markets - The Ladies Market, Wet Markets and various shopping streets dotted around town are always worth a visit. 

The Woods - new bar on Hollywood Road focusing on creating cocktails with seasonal ingredients

Fish and Meat - farm to table simple dining. Great atmosphere. 

Nantei - an old favourite and you can't go wrong with yakitori.  Their chicken wings are amazing.   

Gough Street - this was one of my favourite streets when I lived there. It has gone through a bit of a makeover and gentrification in the last few years so very different to how I remember it. Now filled with cool homewares stores, boutiques and an Agnes b cafe.  I was pleased to see that the best beef brisket noodles restaurant (just look for the queue on the corner) is still surviving.  

PMQ - urban renewal at its finest - the redevelopment of the old police married quarters is now a hub for design, fashion and food.  A great way to spend a couple of hours browsing and then have some food and a drink at Aberdeen Street Social. 

Yum cha - you can't leave Hong Kong without having lots of Yum Cha / Dim Sum.   For a traditional experience, try Luk Yu Tea house (don't let them shuffle you upstairs and make them seat you downstairs).   There is also the michelin starred Tim Ho Wan (a big call but I think their outlet in Singapore is way yummier!) and of course Maxim's at City Hall where they still wheel around all the goodies on trolleys.  There are loads of other places I didn't get to, so seek them out.  

Vickie Shoes - no HK trip for me is complete without a visit here.  I was also pleased to see that all the same staff are still there! 

Accommodation: we booked a fabulous 2 bed apartment from airbnb in mid-levels which was fantastic and a fraction of the cost of a hotel.  The fact that it was above an awesome bakery was also a plus!  I definitely recommend using airbnb if you can over hotels (it's great especially with little ones as you can get a place with more space and other useful facilities eg kitchen, washing machine etc).

There are so many other cool places I have read about but didn't get to... until next time HK.... 

Altuzarra x Target


The latest Target collaboration comes from Joseph Altuzarra, the 2014 CFDA Womenswear Designer of the Year.   The collaboration comprises of a 50 piece capsule collection all priced under $100 and features some gorgeous pieces.  

Good news for non-US residents is that an edited selection is available on net-a-porter.

Below are my picks from the collection:



13 September 2014

Fast Fashion

For those who know me well, you will know that I love fashion and being inspired by designers.  I follow certain brands and designers on instagram and regularly read high end fashion magazines and about the luxury brand industry.  There are some amazing and talented people out there creating beautiful things.

However those that know me also know that I can be pretty tight with my money.  I think it stems from being so poor when I was growing up.  Weirdly though I can justify splurging on a holiday or a really awesome restaurant but in most cases I can't bring myself to spend more than $100 on a single item of clothing.  Maybe it's because it is money spent on an experience rather than a material item... In any case it does mean I love bargain fashion and since moving to Singapore I have discovered a bunch of local online stores that sell fast and cool (and cheap) fashion.  

You will have to spend some time trawling through the sites so you really need to be in the mood.  Some of my favourites are: 

Mds Collections (international shipping is available)

I recently picked up this cool little navy jumpsuit for S$39.



The Closet Lover

I recently bought some nude leather shorts (for S$28.50) and these cool floral lace runner shorts for an absolute steal (S$24.50). 


Love Bonito (international shipping is available)

I really want this cape blazer but it is always out of stock! 


Happy Shopping! 

27 August 2014

Bang Bang

My Wednesday morning pop fix…






20 August 2014

Tory Burch tells her story

I love reading about inspiring women in the business world. Last night, I read a couple of great articles from one of my favourite publications, Fast Company, about Tory Burch and how she has built her brand and her business.  Read the articles here

In just under 10 years she has built a global lifestyle brand which will pass $1bn in revenue this year.  It is reported that the secret to her success is that her business is such a personal reflection of who she is.  I don't own anything from Tory Burch (yet) but I have visited a couple of her stores.  It really does feel like you are visiting somebody's beautiful home when you step into one of her stores.   

Another secret is being authentic and accessible.  As the article notes,  "Burch “is all about the ‘and’,” says creative director Honor Brodie, who oversees the Tory Blog and social media. “She’s a tomboy and she’s feminine. She’s an entrepreneur and a philanthropist. A mother and a sister. The person who went to Penn and studied art history and the person who loves to play tennis and the person who throws great parties. So consumers can enter the brand all different ways.”

I can totally see how this works.  There is so much competition out there and our world is getting so much smaller with technology.  Therefore, I do believe a fundamental differentiating factor for any business, for anyone wanting to succeed - is being genuine and authentic.      

14 August 2014

Love never felt so good

A bit of JT and MJ to brighten up your Thursday morning. Love this song and love the clip.  You can't help but have a little dance :) 

 

13 August 2014

The Bamboo Ceiling


Most of us have heard about glass ceilings, but what about the bamboo ceiling?

The Australian Financial Review and the Guardian both ran articles this week about "Asians" in executive corporate management after an Australian Diversity Council report was released.  The Council found that only 4.9% of the labour force of Asian heritage make it to senior executive level in Australia and only 1.9% of executives in ASX200 companies have Asian cultural origins.  Some interesting statistics. Read the full articles here and here.

There are so many different ideas thrown out about about how we can increase diversity at the higher echelons of the corporate world (eg quotas, affirmative action).  I don't know what the answer is as I don't think there is a 'one size fits all' solution.

As a young female Australian full time working mum/career woman of Vietnamese heritage, I have certainly been the subject of my fair share of stereotypes and gossip in the corporate arena.  From apparently sleeping my way around for promotion, being too young for a management role, not appearing 'executive' enough, being 'too soft' and people asking 'you're not really a lawyer are you? you don't look like a lawyer'...   I have tried not to dwell on it and rather have focused on improving and developing my skills, working my butt off and saying yes to opportunities that feel right for me.  I have also been very fortunate to have worked for supportive senior managers throughout my career who have been open to promoting me and sponsoring me based on my work and not given into the stereotypes.   They gave me a chance and so far it has worked out ok.

When we hire or promote, we often fall into the habit of hiring and promoting people around us who are similar to us.  It's a natural instinct I think.  Therefore I think one of the ways that change will happen is if we keep talking about the issues, we are all open to trying different approaches and giving different people a chance.  I think the 'buy in' needs to be there at all levels (especially senior management) in order for any change to be effective.  Some food for thought for this week's hump day...

12 August 2014

Feeling grown up with Grafunkt

Feeling grown up is buying furniture for your house that is not IKEA.

I love IKEA (and I think we will always have IKEA items in our house wherever we live) but there is something about investing a little bit more into your couch or table that makes me feel very grown up :)

We are on the hunt for a new dining table.  We bought our current table almost 5 years ago from Lush and it has served us well.   But it was floor display stock so it was cheap and the legs are now getting pretty wonky and unstable.  It also has a glass table top with sharp corners that unfortunately the little Miss has run into on the odd occasion... so we think it's time for a change before our dining table becomes a really dangerous hazard!

One of my favourite furniture stores in Singapore is Grafunkt.   It's got a very cool cosy and contemporary vibe and they stock both their own original designs and other labels.  We liked these two tables so just deciding whether to get one of them or to keep looking!



11 August 2014

Magali Pascal

I discovered Magali Pascal during our recent visit to Bali.

The brand is inspired by French elegance and combines beautiful fabrics and lace to create some absolutely luxe, ultra feminine and gorgeous pieces.   There are a couple of boutiques in Bali but the label is also available online (they can ship internationally).






08 August 2014

Potato Head and the Lokal


As we head into another weekend, I thought I would write up about two new places we visited last weekend.

Potato Head Folk 

The Mr and I spoiled ourselves to a child free sneaky Saturday date lunch and decided to check out Potato Head Folk.  Some readers may have visited Potato Head in Bali and Jakarta before. Potato Head Folk is their latest opening in Singapore.

Taking up one of the corner blocks on Keong Saik Street, Potato Head Folk has been open for a few months now.  In the past we have tried a couple of Friday/Saturday nights to get in but there was always a long queue (1 hour or longer).  Fortunately we didn't have to wait for our table at lunch and scored a table in the Three Buns Dining Kitchen on the second floor.  Really pretty painted murals adorned the walls with eclectic furniture sprinkled throughout.  They only serve burgers so I recommend it as a cool place to have a fun lunch or dinner.



The Lokal opened recently on Neil Road and it definitely feels like a cafe you would find in Australia - the decor, the tunes, the open space and kitchen and the food.   The Mr and I even commented that we felt we were back somewhere like James Street or Teneriffe.   Not surprising since the chef and one of the owners is an Aussie who used to work at Tetsuya's in Sydney.   I heard it gets super busy - we got there when it opened at 9 so we had no trouble getting table.  
Really good food and coffee.  The Mr had their popular roast beef sandwich and I ordered avocado and ricotta smashed on toast.  As you can see from the pic below (the little Miss definitely approves of their muffins) 

 

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