21 December 2017

Madrid in photos (& Recommendations)

We all know that Winter has it's perks, but with it comes an array of downsides. It's not only the season for cute party dresses, hot chocolate and barrel loads of chocolate, but also the one for hot water bottles, copious amounts of Lemsip, and truck loads of cough medicine. So if you've been wondering where I've been for the past week, I'd have to say, buried under a pile of blankets, with the blinds closed. Yep it wasn't pretty. I'd love to say I'm one of those people who takes illness in their stride and still manages to go to the gym, do 100 different things, and still somehow look like an absolute God, but I'm really not. My reality is more, stay in bed, binge on Netflix and... well... moan a lot till it passes. So anyway, I'm sorry for the lack of posting, but I'm starting to feel a lot better and will *hopefully* be back to my regular uploading schedule from now on. 

11 December 2017

My Designs - The SC Dress

If you know me in person (which most of you probably don't) you'll know that I love the smart casual look. I'm that girl who went to school dressed in little collared shirts, blazers and black heeled boots. So when I feel like sketching, my designs usually have this as a common theme. My most recent design is in complete parallel with this idea. A simple black and white, skater style, pinafore dress. I thought it would go perfectly paired with a little white collared shirt (which ironically was in the wash when I was taking the photos) underneath, and black tights. Blending the smart, the shirt, and the casual, the skater style dress, together seamlessly.  

8 December 2017

The Liebster Award

Image from

So I'm incredibly happy to say that I recently got nominated for the Liebster award!

I'm not going to lie, until recently I had never really heard of the Liebster award. It was kind of just one of those posts that I saw going around but never really paid much attention to (oops my bad). But after actually taking the time to research it, I began to realise how great the concept is, and am very pleased and honoured to have been nominated. So if, like me, you're a total Liebster noob, I'm going to put a quick explanation of what it is before getting into it. 

5 December 2017

A lesson in fear

Fear is a funny thing. It's what stops you from making stupid decisions, like getting into a dodgy cab or jumping off moving trains. I guess in some ways it goes hand in hand with common sense, or is common sense derived from fear? I mean, if you had no fear of getting hit by a car, would common sense still make you cross at a zebra crossing? Surely common sense is built from experiences and the emotional responses they evoke. For example, some might argue that knowing not to plunge head first into boiling hot water is common sense, but is this only because of previous experience suggesting that the outcome would be getting burnt? So in this case, common sense would actually fuelled by the fear of pain (from burning). Honestly it's all a little confusing, too many questions and not enough time. All I know is that fear plays a massive role in our psyche, whether you choose to notice it or not, it is usually one of the driving forces behind your actions. 

2 December 2017

Top 10 things to do in Amsterdam on a budget (& Where to stay)

After many months of "are we actually going?" and "do I have enough money to go?" it was finally decided that my friend and I would take a four day trip to Amsterdam. We also arranged to meet two other friends in Amsterdam who were inter-railing at the time. As most of us were poor students, luxury hotels and fancy dinners were pretty much completely off the table. But in spite of being broke, we managed to have the best time. So without further ado, these are my top 10 things to do in Amsterdam on a budget (& where to stay). 

The Meninger Hostel (City West) 

From the outside this place looks, well... pretty dodge to be frank. It's true it kind of looks like a run down car park or old hotel from the outside but, looks aside, this place was actually perfect! The interior is modern, colourful and has an upbeat vibe. Not to mention, the rooms were almost as good as a hotel! Super clean, tidy and had everything you needed (they even provided towels!). We were in a room of seven which consisted of 2 bunk beds, a double bed and a single. There was a small sink and modern shower. As we were saving, this mostly meant cooking in the communal kitchen area, which was spacious and mostly clean. The only real problem we had was that one of the cooking rings was broken but hey, it's a hostel you can't have everything. 

The Hostel is literally right next door to the Sloterdijk train station, which connects directly to the airport and city. We mostly to the bus to the centre (20 mins) but there are also tram and metro links in the station. At 22 euros a night, it wasn't necessarily the cheapest hostel, but definitely was the best value for money. 

The first thing I learnt in Amsterdam was book Anne Frank tickets WELL in advance. I actually can't say this enough. It was something I had been dreaming about seeing for years, but because we didn't know just how popular it is, we ended up missing out. I know several people who have been and have said it was one of the most eye opening museums they've been to. The last time I looked it was booked up for months, so I might even suggest booking your trip around available slots... 

After a certain time it is possible to queue for tickets, but I wouldn't recommend it. When we went to queue it spanned almost 2 blocks and was over 2 hours wait! 

Amsterdam is well known for it's beautiful canals, and honestly the best way to see them is either by bike or boat. I would highy recommend pedal boats as it's not only super fun (and also kind of adrenaline rushy when you realise you're going backwards up a one way canal) but also on the cheaper side. Some boat companies offer longer rides and even food & drinks, but these can be up to 50 euros! We used a company called Stromma which has 3 location points in Amsterdam and is very affordable. There are however many different hire companies along the canal, so I wouldn't worry too much about booking in advance. 

3. Biking 

As I mentioned before, biking is the other great way to see Amsterdam. Amsterdam is made for bikes, in fact instead of looking for cars when you cross the road, it's probably more likely you'll be looking for bikes. Being as clumsy as I am, it's actually a miracle I made it back alive without being run over by a bike. I can't actually remember where exactly we hired our biked from, but there are tons of bike rental places around. I don't think a trip to Amsterdam would be complete without renting bikes (+ think of all the lovely insta ops!) 

4. Van Gogh Museum & the Amsterdam sign

As we were on a budget and a pretty tight time schedule, we ended up picking just one museum. By recommendation from my dutch neighbours (who lived in Amsterdam most of their lives), we ended up going to the Van Gogh museum and it was definitely worth it. I'm usually not big into art museums, I personally prefer the natural history or science ones, but I was definitely taken by this. It was quite magical to see paintings I had only ever seen in movies and books in real life. I would recommend buying tickets online as the queue for buying at the door is usually massive. 

Right outside of the museum is a space called 'Museumplein' which houses the famous red Amsterdam sign. This is obviously a must see, however just be aware that it is always crowded. I went there thinking I could get the perfect photo and ended up with one including about 16 kids, a dog and every type of tourist known to man.  

5. Vondelpark 

While I wouldn't spend the whole day exploring the park, it is a lovely picnic stop. It's located a bit outside of the centre so I would recommend buying food at a shop before heading out, but otherwise it's perfect for a calm lunch. Unfortunately we ended up going while it was raining, which probably wasn't the best time to go but, believe it or not, huddling under a tree eating soggy sandwiches can actually be quite fun in Amsterdam. Needless to say, it's probably better to check the weather forecast first and, you know, not be an idiot... 

6. De 9 Straatjes 

Although this is on my list, you're technically not going to be able to avoid 'De 9 straatjes.' It's located in the centre and consists of 9 beautiful shopping streets. It's the perfect place to buy little gifts and quirky cards. Honestly, one of the prettiest places I've ever shopped before and well worth a visit. 

7. Red light district 

I don't think you can really go to Amsterdam and not go here. Curiosity isn't a sin, if you want to go just go. I actually found it really interesting and quite overwhelming to see this in real life. It's one of those things that you imagine, but never really understand the extent to which it occurs until you visit. It's safe to say visiting once was definitely enough for me. 

This is completely random but if you want somewhere fun to go before you go out in the evening (if you go out) then I would recommend GlowGolf. It's basically just a really trippy version of mini golf, where you get to wear very attractive 3D glasses and pretend to be a great golfer. 

Hands down the best place to eat out. On one of our final days we treated ourselves to dinner out at Market 33. It's kind of like a posher Camden Market, with loads of different food stalls and one giant eating area. It's always packed out so be prepared to wait around for a table to free up or to share one with others. 

10. Cheeeeese!

I'm a huge fan of cheese. I live in France how could I not be? So when I realised that Amsterdam is actually famous for cheese too I was over the (cheese) moon and whats more, you can get it 100% free. Every cheese shop has loads of little samples, and with there being a cheese shop every 100m you can practically eat enough to suffice for lunch. I actually remember spending one lunchtime going into every cheese shop we saw just to sample all the different flavours of cheese. Now that I think about it, maybe the free cheese was the real reason our trip was so budget friendly. Other than the fact it was free, it was also delicious. They had everything from siracha to pepper flavoured, it was pretty impressive. 

Have you ever been to Amsterdam? I'd love to hear your thoughts! Leave them below.

Follow me on twitter  & bloglovin' to stay updated

28 November 2017

"You know you can't wear heels on a trek, right?" - Preconceived judgement

"You know you can't wear heels on a trek, right?" - My Duke of Edinburgh assessor the first time she saw me, 2016. 

I always try and live by the rule never judge a book by it's cover. To me this means getting to know someone before making judgements, and not solely basing them on appearance. I think it's important to understand that, while fashion is a way of expression, it in no way tells you everything about a person. From the snide comments about other kids outfit choices at school, to the assumption that I only care about makeup and clothes by my driving instructor, I've come to learn, in my short 19 years of life, that reserving judgement isn't practised by everyone. Personally, I've never really understood preconceived judgement. Why do tattoos seem to equal bad grades, glasses intelligence and short skirts promiscuity? Why do we judge before we know? 

Until recently, I hadn't really given this subject much thought as I never believed it really effected me. But when my auntie said something along the lines of "do you always wear red lipstick?" and gave me a look of what I can only assume was disapproval, it got me thinking to all the times it has happened to me. The one that really stood out, was when I was 16 and just about to start my Duke of Edinburgh bronze award hike. For those of you who don't know, The Duke of Edinburgh award is a programme for young adults and teens, consisting of a number of hours of community service, and a 2-4 day hike depending on which award you're doing. For the hike, a member of the DofE programme would be flown over to judge participation and award the certificate. It just so happened, that our assessor happened to be one of the most judgemental people in the universe (okay maybe that's a little ott, but you get the point). When she met me the day before the hike it was as if all she could see were my high heeled boots and skirt which, granted, would probably not have fared well on a hike, but were fine considering it was a meeting to discuss hiking routes. From that moment she would constantly throw in little mocking comments about my outfit and even at one point likened me to a girl who carried two full bags of makeup (which is also fine, but not me). I distinctly remember sitting at the dinner table and her actually addressing me as 'Alice' (said girl mentioned above) several times. At the time I was surprised that this women who knew nothing about me, and who was supposed to be encouraging me, had judged me so quickly. I even remember questioning whether I was sending out the wrong message with my clothes. Being the young, quiet, 16 year old girl I went home and did nothing about it, but now looking back I realise just how wrong this lady was.     

I find it shocking that a lady who was supposed to inspire me to get outdoors and try new things, managed to do complete opposite due to a silly preconceived judgement. Although I did end up doing the hike, I was constantly aware of what the assessor had said and her ingrained judgement. The only good thing I can say from my experience with preconceived judgement is how, if anything, it's made me stronger and more confident in myself.  I can happily say that my high heeled, short skirt wearing self now knows that my choice of attire doesn't effect or alter me as person, despite what others may say. It doesn't stop me from wondering what life would be like if we lived in a kinder, more open world where there was less preconceived judgement. 

I would also just like to point out that I am obviously not perfect or exempt from judging. I know there have definitely been times when my 'rule' has slipped, these are just some of my thoughts on the subject. I also know that preconceived judgement links strongly with racism, sexism... but this post is mainly to do with fashion. 

What are your experiences with preconceived judgement? I would love to hear your thoughts.

If you enjoyed the post don't forget to follow me on bloglovin' and twitter!

24 November 2017

The dark side of fast fashion & Attempting to buy ethical

After researching several brands and also watching the program The True Cost on Netflix, I've decided to look further into ethical and recycled fashion. Although it comes with obvious benefits, for example, a wider range of choices allowing for a larger customer reach, fast-fashion definitely has an unavoidable dark side. With many of the high street and high end brands changing their clothing collections more than twice a season, it brings to question, is this a sustainable market? The simple answer is no. Not only is this unsustainable, but also extremely unethical. 

Ever picked up a 5£ t-shirt or jacket and thought wow what a bargain? or noticed that the perfect white shirt you'd been dreaming of for so long from Zara, is also sold at H&M for almost half the price? Yep me too. I used to be one of those people who searched relentlessly for a good deal, going into several shops just to save a measly 2£. It's clear that this is a business ploy to gain popularity and increase sales, but how do they do it? Turns out undercutting other shop prices is easy, but not without consequences. 
  1. Cheaper materials - Changing from natural fibres to synthetic fibres. Synthetic fibres are usually oil based which involves delving into our non-renewable energy sources,  while also contributing massively to pollution. 
  2. Lower cost labour - Spending less on the manufacturing of the clothing means that it can be sold for a cheaper cost without effecting profit margins. Clothing manufacturing companies (sweat shops) are usually told they must make certain amounts of clothes on an extremely low budget. Knowing that most potential employers are doing the same (in order to undercut) and not wanting to lose current employers to other sweat shops, this usually results in spending less money on wages and working conditions. Leading to catastrophes like the Bangladeshi factory collapse in 2013 which killed around 1,134 people, most being women and children. 
It's easy to stop there and think that's the end. Eh, it's only effecting countries and people far away right? That's no concern to me. But that's far from the end. Have you ever thought about what you do with your clothing after you've finished with them? Perhaps, you've only had a dress for a year and worn it once before realising that, oops, you've put on a few pounds and it doesn't fit anymore. Or maybe it's your favourite denim skirt that you've worn to death and it's so rugged you've started to look like the lead singer for a rock band. Either way, some of your clothing has ended up in the bin or, more likely, the charity shop. Naively, I used to believe that sending my clothes to the charity shop meant that they wouldn't get exported and dumped overseas, but that isn't the case. A 2015 study estimated that only 10-30% of clothing given to charity shops in the UK were sold, whereas the rest were exported for landfill. Approximately 140 million pounds of clothing is exported to landfill each year in the UK (2015). While initially being angry at this statistic and the charity shops, I've learnt that it isn't their fault. It would be unrealistic to assume charity shops can keep up with the hoards of clothing coming in and, honestly, they shouldn't have to. So while fast-fashion may not effect you in the direct, "I work in a sweatshop", way, it is pretty safe to say the pollution it creates will. 

It wasn't that I was completely oblivious to the use of sweatshops and cheap labour before, but more that I preferred to blissfully attempt to ignore it. I was one of those people who tried to make up for buying cheap by occasionally buying something off the ethically sourced rail or giving more to charity (but as I now know this also doesn't help very much). It sounds awful to say, right? Meera, you let children as young as 10 work insufferable hours in dingy, unclean spaces that you wouldn't even step foot in, just so you could parade around in a new fluffy jumper or show off your new velvet Christmas dress. Disgusting. But it's so easy to instantly condemn others for their choices without taking into account our own. For example, what are you wearing right now? Do you know where it came from? I ask sitting in my flowery non-ethically sourced Primark pyjamas. Right now you're probably questioning why i'm even writing this, I mean Meera, you're basically sitting wrapped in probably the biggest fast-fashion offender in the world. And to that I say, it's not about my past choices but about my future ones

Now, don't get me wrong, I know it isn't practical for everyone to suddenly stop shopping at their favourite store or immediately switch out their beautiful 20£ gingham scarf for an almost identical ethically sourced one double the price, but even small changes go a long way. I've decided that I'm going to try and shop more ethically, looking more into vintage, recycled and small sustainable brands. I'm not going to instantly throw out all my non-ethically sourced clothing or completely avoid ever going into any high-street store again, but I am going to attempt to cut down and try out new ways of sustainable buying. 

I'd love to hear your thoughts on fast-fashion. Leave them below! 

22 November 2017

Vintage - The preppy dress

As i'm going to discuss in my next blog post, I have recently been trying out ethical and sustainable shopping. This mainly means switching from big high street brands to vintage, recycled and small local businesses. So when my auntie suggested she show me some of the vintage shops in Islington, London, I pretty much jumped at the chance. Initially, I didn't expect much as I've found that most vintage clothing comes in slightly larger sizes, making it hard for me to find good-fitting clothing. However, after checking out some of the vintage shops on the main street and on Camden Passage I found that some of the shops actually had some beautiful, petite fitting pieces. My favourite by far was a cute little shop called 'Fat Faced Cat,' located on Camden Passage. I thought their collection of clothing was just perfect, not to mention the lovely staff and warm atmosphere. As soon as I walked in, I noticed a simple pink checked dress and fell in love. The material is amazing quality and the colours really stood out to me. I'll definitely be back very soon! 

Coat - Stradivarius

Boots - Bershka
Socks - H&M

Do you know any good vintage shops? 
Follow me on twitter  & bloglovin' to stay updated

20 November 2017

Guest Post - Road-tripping the UK & Where to stop

A lovely little guest post by Lady A (Alix)

Now, you may not know that I don't currently drive (though I'm working on it!) and this would mean that poor Liam would have to drive us all the way there and back, and it just wasn't fair on him. His family desperately wanted us to go though, so I came up with an idea. I suggested that we make it a two week road trip up and down the UK, with our mid-way point being the Pitlochry wedding date. After discussing the logistics a bit more, looking at prices of B&B's and where we'd like to stop along the way, we decided to go for it. We'd not been on holiday in a long time and it seemed like a great way to experience new things in the UK.

We decided to stop at the following places:
  • Derbyshire - Castleton and Ladybower Reservoir
  • Lake District - Thirlmere, Ullswater and Keswick
  • Galloway Forest Park -  Red Deer Range, Loch Doon and Carsphairn 
  • Pitlochry - Pitlochry Dam, Queens View, Atholl Palace (where the wedding was held) 
  • Rothbury - near Northumberland National Park
  • Newcastle - Angel of the North, visit my partners family
  • Pickering - Dalby Forest, Whitby 
  • Nottingham - Cat CafĂ© (Liam surprised me by driving here on the last day, I was thrilled!)
Each day we had either a B&B booked or a Travelodge, and the idea was that Liam wouldn't have to drive for more than roughly 2 hours a day to get to the next stop. It broke up the 16 hour journey and meant that we got to visit some of the most beautiful places in the UK. 

To keep this from being an essay, I decided that I should talk about my favourite stop on the whole trip. Don't get me wrong, I loved everywhere we visited and have been privileged enough to see some of the most beautiful scenery in the whole country, but the one place that really stood out to me was our visit to Galloway Forest. 

People who have travelled the UK know that most of the time if you visit a national park, you have to walk miles to see the waterfall or caves or climb to the tippity top of the mountain. Our expectations were the same for Galloway. There were waterfalls we wanted to see and the Glen of the Bar and the Red Deer Range, and we had our walking boots ready as we had done the whole trip, expecting miles of trekking, hunting down these wonderful things we'd heard about. 

We could not have been more wrong. To our absolute surprise, it turns out everything was just.. there. Literally there. You wanted to see the deer, here they are practically at the side of the road, feeding hut open and ready to say hi. Waterfalls, everywhere. We stopped at Grey Mare's Tail Burn which was literally at the side of the road. Glen of the Bar was again, at the side of the road. We spent nearly our whole time just driving up and down the A712 looking at all these places we expected to have to really hunt down. We even found a wild goat park, again, at the side of the road, looking for any nibbles you had to spare. To prove just how "there" everything was, they even have forest drives specifically designed to take you past all of these wonderful places. Unfortunately, because we went in March, the drives were mainly closed off due to flooding, but we still saw so much on the roads that were open.

Galloway Forest is also recognised as a "Dark Sky Discovery Site", announced on the 16th November 2009 in the International Year of Astronomy, the Forestry Commission Scotland established part of Galloway Forest Park as the first Dark Sky Park in the UK. The Scottish Dark Sky Observatory is nearby, having recently opened a Planetarium and regularly holding events to attend. We stayed in a stunning B&B called The Knowe in Carsphairn (absolutely recommend, Karen is the nicest person I have ever met and her shortbread is incredible), just 11 miles from the observatory, and honestly, I was so excited about seeing the stars. Sadly, the weather was poor the day we visited and it rained during the night, meaning we never saw the beautiful dark skies. 

We did go and see where the observatory was though, and ended up having a little stroll around Loch Doon which was beautiful. It should come as no surprise to you that I would recommend visiting Galloway Forest in a heartbeat. I'm desperate to visit again (I didn't want to leave!) and really hope that Liam and I can book a longer stay in the warmer months so we get to experience all of the things we missed due to the weather. It really is an absolutely stunning place, and I can't rave about it enough!

A x

About the author: 
Hi, I’m Lady A, also known as Alix, a 23 year old beauty blogger from the UK. While my blog is predominantly beauty based, you’ll also find I post about a lot of other things too! You can follow me on Instagram and Twitter @AllLadyA and find my blog at allladya.com.

If you enjoyed the post don't forget to check out 'Lady A.' If you would like to be featured just message me on twitter about your ideas.

17 November 2017

Current Favourites

I was planning on doing an October favourites, but time has gone by so quickly and it's suddenly already mid November. Honestly, I have no idea where time goes, wasn't last week June? Anyway seeing as It's probably long overdue, here are my October/mid November favourites. 

1. Ollie and Olivia make up brushes 
I've been  using the same eco-tools make up brushes for probably 5 years now (oops), so when I bought these Ollie and Olivia brushes I was very much in need. I love the white and gold combo, and think the italic writing is beautiful (I know i'm a little weird). On top of the beautiful design and amazing blending ability, the whole set was only 15£ from target! 

2. Benefit Roller Lash Mascara and Nars sheer glow concealer
I've tried several concealers and always found they never have the right shade for me. The Nars concealer not only blends perfectly and has great coverage but also has a good range of shades. The Benefit roller lash mascara is just perfect in all ways. My biggest pet-peeve is clumpy eyelashes and this mascara is one of the best for curling and separating lashes. 

Although these are current favourites I will unfortunately not be repurchasing either as they aren't completely cruelty-free. 

3. 'Man vs Mind, Everyday Psychology Explained' by Daniel C Richardson
If you're interested in Psychology or how the brain works this is the perfect book. I picked this up in London and read the whole thing on the 2 hour train ride to Oxford to visit my friend. It can sound a bit daunting if you've never read any Psychology books before, but it's simple and easy to understand. Richardson explains things in a way that anyone could understand. There are also some stellar drawings and funny anecdotes. 

4. Thoughts and Reflections, a line a day journal
Basically just a question a day for 4 years. I've found it quite a calming and reflective task to do at the end of the day. Plus I love looking back at things I used to like doing/reading/wearing. Also can we just take a moment to appreciate how beautiful it is... 

5. New Scientist October edition
I love reading about new discoveries and whats going on in the world from a scientific perspective. While I found this whole magazine interesting, I especially enjoyed the article entitled "In what? we trust" which explained the cognitive mechanisms behind trust. If you like this sort of thing I would definitely recommend getting a copy, or if you even if you don't get one anyway (trust me, it'll make you sound pretty damn smart). 

What have you been loving recently?

Also I just got twitter. I'm a major technology noob so I don't know how to use it, but if you want to follow me it's @Meera_ltt . (I'll probably follow you back)

15 November 2017

Vintage - The fuzzy pink jumper dress

Aside from the odd glorious moment of sunshine, I think it's pretty safe to say that winter is definitely on its way. I literally woke up the other day, threw on some ripped jeans and a t shirt, only to walk 2 steps outside before turning straight back to add on about 50 layers, my hat and a scarf. It's finally the perfect time of year for giant cosy jumpers and hot chocolate movie nights. So while I was frantically searching through my closet for potential winter clothes, I came across this vintage oversized jumper dress. If i'm honest It was definitely one of those, 'shit I actually own this' moments, but i'm glad I found it. 

I found this vintage jumper dress a while back and assume it's 1990's (though don't quote me on that), it's a beautiful warm fuzzy knit with a wide neck. The main reason I loved this jumper, was the colour, although it's majority pink, it also has blue, yellow and grey thread mixed in. Combined it softens the pink ever so slightly. I also love that it can be worn without a belt or with and look equally as good. Personally I prefer the belted look as it creates slightly more shape and means the dress doesn't drown me as much, sometimes it can be hard to find a jumper dress that doesn't make me look like a walking winter duvet. I think it would go perfectly paired with over the knee boots or socks. 

The only real downside is the material, although super chunky and warm, it's made of a slightly itchy wool. I like the unkempt, slightly messy effect this makes, but in terms of wearing it for long periods... not sure I could handle the itch. 

Do you like vintage? 
*Yep there's actually nothing in the mug.

13 November 2017

7 things I learnt about travelling in Singapore

Universal Studios Singapore
1. Never go to the restaurants in the shopping malls. 

Strange as it may sound, this is pretty much the very first thing I learnt when I arrived in Singapore. Considering it was our last day together, me and a group of friends decided to treat ourselves to one of the many (and I mean many) restaurants in one of the swanky Singaporean shopping malls. After trailing around for what seemed like hours, trying to find one that catered for vegetarians, I ended up just deciding to get a Subway after the meal. Although I didn't know it at the time, I had effectively just dodged a massive 50$sd bullet. Everyone settled on a fairly fancy, but seemingly reasonably priced at 25$sd, all you can eat sushi restaurant. It was all very high tech and efficient, with what seemed like a never-ending menu and multiple platters being rolled out in seconds. Needless to say, the Ipad menu was basically the perfect over ordering machine. It was only at the very end, when everyone was gulping down their final Californian sushi roll and lazily licking up the soy sauce residue, that they realised that the 5$sd over-order charge was probably the least of their worries. The bargain original price of 25$sd had suddenly morphed into a huge 50$sd each. All I can remember is the unanimous "shit this can't be right," turns out it was, we had all just blissfully neglected to notice the +++ next to the price. Yep, not just one plus... three. 

After a few days I noticed this was a pretty common occurrence in Singaporean restaurants, especially those in the shopping malls. If you do want to eat in a mall I would recommend the food halls which serve a huge variety of different foods at a reasonable price. Of course if you want really cheap, good food, I would definitely check out the hawker food stalls.  

2. Gardens by the Bay is best at night

It probably comes as no shock that Gardens by the Bay is one of my recommendations, being an essential tourist attraction it's definitely one of the most recommended places to go in Singapore. However as much as I loved the gardens in the daytime (although, I also found they burnt a giant hole in my pocket), I found the real excitement came at nighttime. The light show is completely free and starts at 7:45pm. It is quite honestly magical, almost like stepping into another world. You can also choose to buy a walkway pass to be on the trees while they light up, as I was conserving money I didn't get a chance to do this, but I imagine it would be amazing. I would recommend getting there early as it gets crowded quickly and you'll want to get a good view. Being an idiot I spent so much time trying, and failing miserably, to get photos and video footage which also resulted in a very blurred Polaroid of one sad measly pink light in a sea of black. It's fair to say, I wish I'd just sat down and really watched the damn show.   

3. Little India is the place for cheap great food...

As I mentioned before I wouldn't really recommend central Singapore for cheap food, but the areas around are definitely cheaper and have pretty great food. I found that Little India had a great selection of hawkers, food markets and even restaurants to choose from. One street stall was selling freshly made chapatis, aloo and dahl all for around 3$sd! I was pretty sceptical at first, with the equipment looking a little rusty and some of the curries merging into one odd looking greenish gloop, but after trying it I was instantly impressed. I didn't even get any tummy problems afterwards, which, let me tell you, is the trademark of a good hawker/street stall. 

I also found that the Little India area was much cheaper in terms of shops and hotels/hostels. Rather than staying in a dodgy hotel in the red light district (and then only being told by your taxi driver as you're pulling up to the derelict looking building), I would suggest checking this area out instead. They also have tons of cheap gold/silver jewellery stores and sell some interesting tropical fruits in the shops. It is definitely the place to go for food and interesting exotic souvenirs. 

4. ... but also some awful restaurants, check reviews before going to a restaurant. 

That being said, Little India also has it's fair share of shitty restaurants. For our last Contiki Group dinner we all went to this little Indian restaurant. We immediately noticed something was wrong when the one waiter, led us up the narrow dingy staircase to the top floor of the four story building... 2 floors away from the kitchen. And before you ask, no there wasn't a lift and nope it was just him serving 25 people. When we arrived the room had several suspicious looking stains on the floor and an even stranger scratching noise coming from above, this was accompanied by some awful load tinny music. Despite one of the group getting up to turn the music down several times the waiter insisted on it being at ear drum breaking levels, so loud at some points I wasn't sure whether I was at a shitty rave or a restaurant. The high spirits from the promising menu were instantly dampened by the 3 hour wait for our food to be cooked, plated and carried single dish by single dish up the 2 flights of stairs. And even then about half of our group didn't get their food, they were basically left to eat a plate of freshly cooked air. Don't get me wrong, i'm not heartless, if I hadn't known the waiter was also the owner I would probably have felt sorry for him. This paired with our continuous pleas to have at least two waiters, made me realise that we were basically in the perfect restaurant for Kitchen Nightmares. 

Basically just make sure you check restaurant reviews first. 

Universal studios Singapore
5. Hands down cleanest underground I've ever been on. 

It looked like someone had meticulously polished every surface continuously for the past five years. Even the trains seemed to glow. Not to mention there was actually people in charge of getting people on and off the trains safely. 

6. Hostels on the quay are nice, but very noisy. 

We stayed in a lovely hostel called '5 Footway Inn' right on the Quay. Aside from the strange slightly pee smelling entrance located in front of a fish restaurant it was surprisingly nice. It had a large room with a line of apple macs and a rooftop bar. If you don't mind lots of noise I would definitely recommend this hostel and others on the quay.  

7. Taxis are fairly cheap & the drivers always have great stories.

With the immaculate underground I don't even know why you'd want to take a taxi, but I was surprised to find that most people do take taxis. After taking one I realised why, they're so cheap! Not only that but the drivers have absolutely stellar stories, one of my drivers told me about how once he snuck in some chewing gum and felt like a total badass. Another one explained how he was called to take a lone 6 year old about 2 hours across town, which is another thing, Singapore feels so safe. I think I could happily roam around at 3 in the morning and still feel safe, it actually has one of the lowest crime rates in the world. 

✈ Next Australia


Sorry for the lack of photos, I only realised afterwards that I hardly took any!

10 November 2017

My Designs - Sketch Friday

A few days ago I was sketching a few designs and decided that I might as well share them on here too. I've only recently started sketching & drawing again, so they definitely aren't perfect, but I thought this would be a good way to track my progress over time. 

This one is mainly inspired by Taylor Swifts pink and orange co-ord she wore to the Grammy Awards. I love the deep pleats, in a heavy satin or silk, and sheer panelling on the top half. There is also an interesting mix between traditional evening gown, e.g. long skirt and pearl rimmed high neck, and modern wear, e.g. cropped sleeveless top, deep plunging sheer panelling and co-ord style.

Here I wanted to contrast street style and more traditional 'girly' style. For example the currently popular ripped mum jeans and cropped jumpers, vs the pom pom and knee high socks trend. I like the juxtaposition between the distressed jeans and the more formal sheer shirt in the first sketch. In the second sketch the varying styles are more toned down, the loose fitting boyfriend style jumper with the playful pom poms, furry ears and frilly socks. 

I have to start by saying I love 1950's fashion, so much so part of me wishes I was born in the 50's just so I could wear all the pretty, full skirted, butterfly sleeved dresses. I cheated slightly with this one as it was part copied from a photo I found on the internet, but I just couldn't help it. I'm a sucker for bright colours and big patterns, which is reflected perfectly in this floral dress. I am also drawn to the fit of this dress, I love the cinched waist and giant skirt. 

Meera's Blog © . Design by FCD.