All posts filed under ‘Journal

One Olive – Floral design

A friend asked me the other day where I get the nice flowers I keep offering her {This post is for you Zori!}.
Well, I should mention that flowers are amongst the beautiful things that I love. They are naturally well-designed I would say. Roses, daisies, orchids, I love them all. But peonies are my favourite ones! Where do I get them? Most of the time at the Wet Market, but also at my favourite flower boutique One Olive!
It’s the most quirky and unique floral shop that I know in Singapore. Their space is small, but I always get lost in between the well-selected collection of wonderful plants, flowers and other cute antique objects. Impossible not to fall in love with! Also, they create and design flower bouquets I would die for! Looking for a special gift? What are you waiting for?

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Yoga Inc. – your future favourite Yoga spot in Singapore

There is no day that I want to miss my Yoga practice and therefore I try to come as often as possible to Yoga Inc. If you are also in the mood to try a huge range of hot (Bikram) and non-hot classes (Flow, Hatha, Yin Yang, Prenatal Yoga) with lovely and helpful teachers in an inspirational environment, then you should join me at this hidden gem in Geylang!

Things I love about Yoga Inc.

It’s spacious thanks the the high ceiling and big windows!

No air-con and great ceiling-fans!

The personal and home-like character of the place. At many corners, you will find nice and cute Yoga illustrations by Ashley, studio-owner and the face behind bitterstickgirl {And it’s sweet to be nicely welcomed by her at the reception and chat with her about anything you want!}.

Lovely teachers who helped me to do Yoga more gracefully!

This is my teacher Jing, join her for her energizing classes!

Things I love to do at Yoga Inc.

Talking to Ah Bui while he’s not listening! {A dog of unknown age and breed adopted by the studio-owner}

Checking my weight before class to boost my motivation! 🙂

Sweating and enjoying the view at the same time:

Having a rest at this corner:

Practicing handstand while no one is watching…

Calming down my thirst with a drink after class {Fresh coconut and ice-cream are available as well!}.

Looking for some new Yoga gear in the shop corner.

What do I do after Yoga Inc.?

I visit this place.

With heart and soul – By Myself

– By Myself: Hard to find, hard to forget –

 

It’s been a while since I came back to Bangkok. This time, I wanted to visit some places and designers that I’ve read about before. By Myself was definitely in my top 5.

I knew the shop was located in warehouse 5 in the famous Asiatique in Bangkok. But firstly, I could hardly imagine the size of the place (it was gigantic!), consisting of 9 warehouses which in turn offers different sois (“streets” in Thai) with uncountable souvenir shops (which were not my target) and a few designer places (which were my targets!). Secondly, our lack of understanding in the way the warehouses were arranged made it almost impossible to locate warehouse 5 easily. After walking up and down, and making wrong turns into various alleyways, I finally found number 5017 – the boutique of By Myself.

Tanawat (“Ouu”) Kuansuwan working in his boutique and atelier

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Bangkok’s hidden charm

– The charm of Bangkok – 

What is your strongest impression when walking on Bangkok’s street? The heat and humidity that you’re struggling with? The crowds of people that you’re trying to get through? The spicy fragrances around each corner? Or simply, like myself, you are just impressed by the city’s architectural charm?

It’s not the magnificent temples or monuments I’m thinking about, it’s the chaos and randomness of the buildings and constructions, the thousand-fold of shapes and silhouettes twining into other shapes and silhouettes everywhere that struck me from the very first second.

While high rise buildings can be seen just alongside an old temple, modern shopping malls are sitting next to old teak houses. Tree roots just covered some offsite buildings. Electric cables twisting together like tangled cords. And not to forget the grandiose shape of the Sky Train rails dominating, stretching throughout the city like a gigantic vein. Everything seems to be interconnected with everything else, somehow communicating at its own pace.

One can really argue about whether these bustling interactions of buildings, houses, sites and nature are too busy, too tiring or too oppressing or not. But it’s hard to simply pass by without being astonished.

Bangkok is a city with many faces and I suppose each of us has a different association with the city. I assemble some of my photographic impressions about Bangkok in this compilation of BKK street scenes.

Share with me your feeling and impressions about BKK. Leave a comment!

Thank you!

Forever green – BsaB

– Go for green fragrances – Go for BsaB –

Being an allergic, I am generally quite sensitive to chemical fragrances. During my college time, one of my best friends was a real fanatic incense stick fan and she always filled her room with a thick cloud of some Indian or Tibetan reminiscent fragrances. Visiting her at home, I was constantly confronted with some heavy burning eyes, an itchy-skin sensation and heavy-headed feeling.

Of course, she was one of those “excessive users” and I’m also not crying all the time just by inhaling some aromas. But from time to time, I still have a slight allergic reaction simply by entering a boutique with home fragrance diffusers and candles. My eyes will turn red and my skin starts to have a weird tickling sensation that tells me that I should leave soon.

Despite my allergies, I still want my home to be airy and sweet-smelling and that’s why I still rely on aroma diffusers and candles. However, I’m careful about their ingredients and sources and definitely the effects they are causing on me. In this regard, discovering BsaB was pure bliss.

Dedicated to nature and environment, BsaB created a holistic concept, making products which are healthy for people, good for the environment and at the same time beautiful.

BsaB – Boutique at Terminal 21 in Bangkok

BsaB’s aspect of “health”

The company uses only 100% natural and premium ingredients from Thailand, Europe, US and Australia, e.g. 100% pure soy wax or beeswax for candles, 100% pure cotton wicks, 100% aromatherapy essential oil for scents. I highly appreciate the fact that no artificial and chemical additives or fillers can be found in the products, e.g. wicks are without metal center or stabilizers.

It is known that soy or beeswax candles are longer-lasting and longer-burning than paraffin based candles. In addition to this economic aspect, don’t forget that you are not inhaling toxic aromas which can clearly cause allergic reactions.

Which one to choose? They all smell way too good!

 “Aqua” – Still smells way too good!

BsaB’s aspect of “green”

I was really surprised by the fact that my beautifully-scented (!!!) candle could be used in multiple ways. Once liquid, I dipped into the warm wax to pick a little amount out and used it as a massage cream on my arms. Enriched by Vitamin E, the wax indeed had a humidifying effect. My skin instantly felt softer, had a great but natural smell and most importantly for me, NO allergic reactions!

Beside this small example to illustrate BsaB’s “green” commitment, I like the way BsaB is taking care of their packaging too. Recycled papers, bio-degradable plastics, even 100% natural and biodegradable soy ink is used in the packaging process.

Dipping into the wax candle – still with a pleasant fragrance – and a humidifying effect

Earth-friendly and hand-made packaging: recycled papers, bio-degradable plastic and natural soy ink

BsaB’s aesthetics

With a nature reminiscent and minimalistic design, like the scented cube below, BsaB has completely convinced me. I can’t wait to get other scents!

Simple and minimalistic reminiscent design

Soy wax filler – “Martinique”

More infos in one click

A hobbit house you will love – Cincinati

– A hobbit house with things you will love – 

Have you ever been to a shop whose ceiling was so low that you could not stand tall, but you were so happy being in this place that you didn’t notice that you had been bending over for almost an hour, amazed by all the things you saw? Your neck was stiff and in pain when you left this place, but you were still happy?

Can you spot Cincinati’s entrance amongst other tube houses?

Everyone who has been to Saigon knows that in Vietnam, it is very usual to see “tube-houses”, very long in depth, but astonishingly narrow. This was the people’s response to the property tax rule which targeted sites facing the street. The narrower the house was, the less tax one must pay.

Cincinati is located in the heart of Saigon in one of the houses that you can say is narrower than a narrow house could be. The shop starts right where its entrance is: a small corridor with beautiful leather bags hanging on the wall, inviting me to go further until I reached the landing.

Collage stairs

View from shop entrance.

The stairs took me to another level of the site with the main part of the store. But since it was originally not the second floor, but only the mezzanine, my head could reach the ceiling. Although you cannot say that I’m a tall person, I could not stand upright.

It was astonishingly funny to see my 7-foot friend almost crouching on the floor when he was looking at the objects, like a giant sniffing his goods. And there were really lots of goods to sniff out in this tiny place: all kinds of travel bags, hand bags, purses, iPad and iPhone covers, business card holders and other travel gear. One section was dedicated to shoe lovers as well.

I must say that although I needed only a purse, my concentration was also very much distracted by other products. And I didn’t at all expect that amount of variety and quality in such a tiny place. My joy was pleasantly unexpected.

As for my friend, he obviously enjoyed being a giant in this place. First bending and crouching over the objects, he had before long traced out his solution in a large, comfortable sofa in one room’s corner (as if the shop owner had predicted this kind of situation).

He collected 5 or 6 objects at once, then took them to his sofa to have an easy sit. Seeing him inspecting and validating item for item himself, I realised what a real leather fanatic he was.

We both agreed that this place was a heaven for all leather fans coming to Saigon, because not only was everything 100% crafted leather, but it was also well-designed and carefully finished with small details.

But have a look at their collection and decide which one is your favourite!

Beautiful details – embossed Logo

Corner

Beautiful details – “stitched” look border

Social engagement – Doitung

– Going with the flow – 

 

Probably as everyone else during vacation, I was searching for gifts to offer my friend back home.  And of course,  I wanted something unique, something personal, related to the country and its people. I like my gifts to say something, tell a story. But finding nice and unique things is sometimes just hard.

My gift-tour in Bangkok’s night market, recommended by every tourist guide, turned out to be a fiasco. And we didn’t want to wast the the little amount of time we had left in Bangkok with more and more sterile souvenir shops.

In the next day, we simply went for our favorite ritual : drinking a coffee while watching people passing by, living their lives. Just that.
And we walked in a Cafe called “Doitung”. The cafe was nice, clean, well designed, but above all it had a bunch of really nicely designed objects to sell (mostly house ware at that point).

The designs were a very interesting balance of elegant minimalism and tribal patterns, including some very figurative references to the hmongs ! “Amazing finds” – I just thought!

Postcards and greeting cards made of Doitung’s Mulberry Paper – very soft and resilient at the same time

Accompagnied prospects and flyers explained that Doitung Cafe was a part of a bigger social project started by the Mother queen herself, which aims to help ethnic minorities in the former Golden Triangle gaining a better standard of life.

Moved by their founding story and impressed by the great design of the products, I found what would be a perfect gift for my friend back home.

After being told that  Doitung had a Lifestyle shop in Bangkok, at Siam Discovery Center, we couldn’t wait to get there.

The shop itself came with hundreds of amazing products ranging from house ware, to jewellery to clothing and stationary items. All hand-made, all designed and crafted with great care. And it all felt fair.

Below are some of my everyday pouches. The motives are inspired by Northern Thai tribes, printed on soft canvas. I’m having them for 2 years now and due to their resilient design, it doesn’t feel like they’re washed out, although I put them many times in the washing machine.

I also found a great silver bracelet and ear-rings. The designs are again pretty minimalistic, well balanced and offered these unique imperfections that one can only find in handmade products.
Look at that !

Doitung does real design, which is quite rare when it comes to brands producing heritage/cultural influenced products. These are often poorly designed and cliche. Instead, the brand does not only produce aesthetically pleasing looking items, but make also stunning design. Behind all, there is a real sense of trying to infuse as much elegance as possible.

I like the pretty well digested Scandinavian influences and finely crafted objects. The potteries are truly amazing, great visual balance, very practical. Some of their stuff is cute, some is just pure and elegant.

I can’t neglect that Doitung is one of my favourite brands ever, being a holistic social project overall. People involved in the project are provided with education and assistance to create their own economic and social foundation.

Impressing and environement-friendly: degradable flower pots using vetiver grass and clay