Travel: Best meal I’ve ever had
Someone once asked me what was the best meal I’ve ever had over dinner at an Italian restaurant in Holland Village. I really wanted to say something exotic or a stall on the street in some European country, but really, the best thing I’ve ever eaten was an appetiser of king crab in Hong Kong. It was at a French restaurant in some random building located on the top floor. It’s not the kind of place you’d stumble across. Because really who’d go up the lift in any random building just to find a restaurant?
The place is called Le Marron, a cosy French place with curtains separating tables ensuring privacy. They don’t only serve the tastiest most freshest crab legs but also romantic ambience. Read more here.
But if taking price into accounting this dish is pushed to the second best meal I ever had. Travelling around Asia beaches, I’ve eaten enough seafood that even the warning sign of eating crustacean did not put us off.
After I ended my solo trip around Thailand, Laos and Vietnam I caught up with a friend in central Vietnam. We met up at Da Nang then Nha Trang where we discovered many beautiful beaches.
We were lounging on Nha Trang’s 6km-long golden sand beach Bai Bien when street sellers walked by carrying portable grills with fresh seafood held by bamboo poles hung from their shoulders.
There right on the beach they sell all kinds of seafood from hairy crabs, scallops, humongous prawns and more. It was cheap and too delicious looking to not get them despite the sign. For only SGD 6, we’ve got all these which we ate with the most delicious creamiest lemon butter sauce.
Next Door Vintage: Singapore based online store featuring vintage clothing and accessories
If you’re looking for an alternative place to shop, follow us on Instagram (@NextDoorVintage) or like us on Facebook (NextDoorSG) to receive updates on the latest vintage arrivals. To ensure exclusivity, every unique design comes in one piece only. Nothing mass produced here for sure!
OLD IS GOLD – Get to know our Vintage Collection!
Our Vintage Collection features a range of exclusively hand picked apparels sourced from all over the world from Japan to Hong Kong in distinct styles from the 1940s to 1990s era mostly from 1960s.
Vintage and fashion lovers will be treated to a collection of unique designs made from quality fabrics. Develop a distinct sartorial style by wearing vintage that will have you stand out from the mainstream crowd who are wearing the mass-produced. Mix it up with contemporary pieces such as peplum top or four-inch heels or the good old skinny jeans.
Most of the items are in mint, near mint or very good (wearable with some flaws) condition. Some may have signs of fading and discolouration due to storage over the years. Any defects will be disclosed. But hey, that’s part of the charm – you’ll be the ONLY ONE wearing that fashionable piece of history!
A piece of vintage clothing need to have an aesthetic quality that makes it stand out. In short, the vintage products that we carry represent an era’s fashion or, more often than not, typical clothing from a particular time period that possesses a style and design that appeals to collectors and buyers.
In addition, we think our competitive prices are a mah-jor bonus!
Vintage shopping in Melbourne: Queen Victoria Night Market
If you’re visiting Melbourne for the first time, a shopping spree at Queen Victoria market is mandatory. Especially on Wednesday nights that’s when vendors selling all sort of cool things gather for the seasonal Night Market. The QVM would close during the day but as soon as the clock strikes 5, vendors bring out their wares, cooks whip up delicious dishes, crooners sing a song or two and we come out to play!
I love their night market especially because of the vintage stalls! There were probably about four to five vendors the last time I went, so no shortage of the good stuff! Squeal in delight as you’d be spoilt for choice with an amazing range of vintage bags, jackets, dresses and jewellery. Most of them very affordable. I regret not buying that chic black clasp bag which costs only $20. Boo hoo.
If you’re lucky they would have further markdowns and those digging and rummaging will be worthwhile when you unearth some great finds. I did! I got this gorgeous buttoned down very shiny blouse. It’s two size too big for me but I rolled up the sleeves and tucked into the skirt to fit me a little better.
So if you plan on visiting the QV market but short of time, just go for their night bazaar and save your day shopping at the street boutiques which we all know closed really early!
Remember the night market is held only on Wednesday for a certain period of the year. Find out more about the QVM night market here.
Read my previous post for more shopping places in Melbourne. It features the Suzuki Night Market that was held at QV several years ago.
Spot On: How to wear polka dots
Nothing repeats itself quite as much as fashion. A new trend spotted this season may have already been seen sashaying down the runway 20 years ago. Case in point the polka dots. Even I’m quite surprised its making a comeback (again) as seen in 2014 Spring Summer shows such as Dolce & Gabbana and Burberry. So how do we wear polka dots without looking like we’re heading to a costume party? We look at two stylish superstars Alexa Chung and Kirsten Dunst for inspiration!
#01: Pop It!
Pick a more masculine piece like a crisp shirt in polka dot print for a more modern look. Pair it with a ripped jeans for that androgynous look or a nice maxi skirt like Dunst did for a dressy look when there’s a special occassion. If you’re like me who prefers not-so girly/feminine outfit, pop the collar for the extra edge.
#02: Buckle Up!
Sometimes we just can’t leave the store without that vintage top we fell in love with even though its two sizes bigger. (I have tons of stuff!) But there’s always a way to make it work and the best and easiest way without going to the tailor is to wear a belt. You can get the cinched-waist look by putting on a waist belt which will help shape your silhouette and - voila - no top is too damn big for you. Plus its adds the modern touch to an otherwise all retro-esque outfit.
All polka threads from Next Door Vintage. Like us or follow our Instagram (@NextDoorVintage) for more vintage goodies.
Travelling makes me appreciate…
This post has been idling in the draft section for some time now and its about time I hit the publish button.
As mentioned in my previous post, this blog would include more topics other than fashion posts. So let’s begin with the things that I’ve started to appreciate more in life and surprisingly, Singapore, after my travels.
In the last few months, I’ve been to five countries, 15 cities. Not a big achievement - that’s only 2% of world - but it was still an eye opener making me appreciate many things even more which I’ve been taking for granted or unnoticed.
#01: Travelling makes me appreciate…our honest cab drivers.
With the exception of Singapore, Hong Kong and Bangkok, cabbing is the only option - that’s relatively safe - to get around. In Vietnam, cabs are very easy to get and its cheap too but there are a few downsides.
First we need to grab a taxi from a reliable company like Vinasun or Mai Linh. Even so, we had to watch out for fakes. I’ve learnt to never speak so much English and just name the destination hoping they won’t duped me on the fares.
At some point of time, the anxiety of taking a cab is too much and not getting one can be frustrating for me sometimes especially in congested areas like Surabaya or Jakarta cities. In such places, make sure you have small change or they will either return only part of your change or keep them all.
You wouldn’t wanna get scammed but at the same time your safety is more important especially when travelling solo. You’ll have many taxi drivers waiting for you right outside your hotel. Even if you say no to one, you’d still be chased by other cabs and motor taxis will keep on touting you along the street as you walk! This was in Nha Trang and Mui Ne, Vietnam.
For short distances, they’d usually switch on the meter but for long distance such as from Da Nang to Hoi An, Vietnam, you’d need to agree on a price. And even if it’s a short distance, some drivers would act dumb and won’t stop until you firmly say so or they’d go on a merry go round. I suspect some of the meters are rigged too.
I remember flying from Luang Prabang to Hanoi and I was worried sick about travelling in a cab alone from the airport to city because it was at night and the city was quite a distance away. Luckily I met this nice chap from Australia who was my seat mate on the plane. We decided to share a cab but not before I discreetly asked many questions and checked out his passport to make sure he’s not some psycho. The fare was quite expensive for a 45 minutes ride - about $25. I suspect the meter was rigged. I read enough scam stories to scare the shit outta me. Like how they’d work in groups and to watch out for black SUVs etc etc.
Now, each time I hand over my hard earned moolahs to the taxi uncle, the fare, albeit a tad expensive than most SEA countries, is worth every cent.
#02: Travelling makes me appreciate…clean water.
The most basic thing that’s readily available here may not be in many countries. Imagine walking in a cafe/restaurant in Singapore and asking for glasses of plain water only to be told they don’t serve water. You’ve got to buy a bottle. Free water is so common that when one place doesn’t serve, its almost immediately a set back for them. So while I was travelling, lugging around a bottle of water is a must and whenever I do buy a glass/bottle of water, I drink it to the last drop. Here, it seems we asked for water as though they are really free flowing from some magical mountain. Global warming people, global warming!
#03: Travelling makes me appreciate…the service crew.
Let’s revisit the debate on service charge vs. tips. Which do you prefer? Frankly speaking I’d prefer to tip. Well, who likes to be forced to pay a service when there’s hardly any service done?
Many places in Vietnam, Thailand, Laos and Indonesia do not implement service charge. I got the hang of tipping because people are really, really, sincerely nice and helpful. They seem to actually like working in the service line and I appreciate that. Even in developed coutries like Australia, the service people take pride in their job. I wouldn’t say I was treated like a queen but the sincere, warm hospitality makes me comfortable and welcomed. Because I wouldn’t want to be treated like royal too, its just too superficial.
After my travels, I began to notice good service and whenever I could, I’d drop a few coins in their tip box at the counter even though I had paid for service charge. I just hope its a start of a change and a support to show encouragement to service people who actually enjoys their work.
#04: Travelling makes me appreciate…our public transport.
So we complain about that five minutes delay? How about 15 minutes delay or even an entire shutdown which happens every now and then in some countries? In Hong Kong, I remember there was a delay about 15 - 25 minutes and nobody seems to be bothered by it. Except us pampered Singaporeans.
Crowded train? Did you guys watched the video on how the transport officers pushed the passengers into the cabin?? That was insane! In case you’ve not seen it, here’s the video.
When travelling overseas, I try to use public transport as much as possible for the experience. I wanted to try the ones in Jakarta but I was warned multiple times not too. So since cabbing is cheap, that was out of the question. Taking buses in Bangkok was relatively easy, and costs about a dollar. But I did that only once, since their train system is already so convenient. And when I was too tired (lazy) to walk from one end of the soi to the other, I’d flag a motortaxi - very convenient during traffic jams and cost only 60 cents. Although being a pillion on a speeding kapcai with no helmet can be quite dangerous.
I take pride at how handicapped accessible and elderly friendly our transport system is. In Hong Kong, we spent ages at the train station scrambling around trying to find the lift as we were with our luggages. And it took forever with the long queues and slow lifts.
Although in most places cabs are cheap, sometimes getting them is a nightmare. And that’s when buses and trains come in handy. In Laos, I moved around taking the small motorbike (different from Bangkok’s motortaxi I mentioned above - this one is sorta tuk tuk) and everytime I had to find one I had to negotiate a price. It’s tiring having to do that every. single. time.
#05: Travelling makes me appreciate…how small Singapore is.
We complain there’s nothing to do here, nowhere to go. But now, I love the fact that my boyfriend’s place is 10 minutes away. The city is 15 minutes away. And I love even more that I can be at the airport in just 15 minutes. Nothing beats getting to your destination in record time. No such thing as 12-hour bus ride, 4-hour car drive or 1-hour cab ride.
Nowhere to go? Just get on the plane already!
I thought of migrating. Which Singaporean has not? I’ve done my fair share of complaining about the system here. But I have to admit, it does have the best mix of everything. Modernity and the cheap things. I see that it can be worse in other country and I wouldn’t want that. Of course there are many downside but the upside seems to outweight them.
Travelling makes me appreciate…Singapore (a little more). Yeah, shocker huh.
It’s 2014 and I’m changing gear. Less you’ll see #ootd and #wiwt posts, more you’ll see are #travel #wanderlust posts. But I’ll still be posting them on my IG (rockoholichic).
Now that travel season is over, I’m finally sitting down and will slowly give this place a new look. I have so much to share and too many photos captured during my course of travelling, so I’m gonna upload them here soon. (They’re taking up too much space in my iPhone and MacBook! Sheessh…)
I know this space has been abandoned for far too long. But I’m not ready to leave it yet… #SorryNotSorry, I guess you’ll have to see more of me. ;)
Instead of adding a pop of colour like normal people do, I’m slowly introducing nudes and neutrals to my outfits. Now that I’m over the all white outfit which didn’t last long for obvious reason, I’m thinking of doing the all nude combo. Not too sure if this would work. But that pair of Jeffrey Campbell Favor or Bond sandals that I’ve been eyeing would look pretty good on my shoe shelf…And on my feet of course. Hmm.
Wearing thrifted necklace and top, Asos pants, New Look wedges.
Game on: Sport the look
Somehow I’ve become allergic to heavy lifting and anything that involves massive amount of footwork (although I was once a captain of a team playing a certain type of ball sport). But when it comes to athletic-inspired fashion trends like side-striped trousers, I’m all for it. Especially those with cuffed hems. Sweat pants, leggings and any (hideous looking) sports wear are no doubt comfortable, which they are supposed to be. After all that rummaging and digging, I found these pants at Bysi sale. They are not only the perfect example of this micro trend but also very comfy. Plus I got them 50% off and paid only 30 bucks. Score! Check out their sale. Worth spending your moolah there.
Wearing Asos top // Kate Hill necklace // Bysi pants // Zara heels
A case of the blues
I’ve never worn jeans so much in my life until recently. What was once the most avoided article of clothing in my wardrobe is now being overly abused lovingly. Simply because it was too… simple? And outrageously too hot to wear it here all the time. But I did a 180 and am now shopping for jeans in every shade of blue - the more destroyed the better. Finding the perfect fit is a bitch though.
L to R: Nastygal, Topshop, Nastygal
By the way, time to ditch those Boyfriend jeans. Ex Boyfriend jeans are so hot right now. Like I said, the more damaged the better.
Wearing Cotton On top // Topshop jeans // Lovisa necklace // Alexander Wang bag // Zara heels