Week [0117].

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This week’s round-up comes a day early, as I’ll be spending tomorrow up in the air on my way to London, or what I call my “other, other, other” home. Of all the places I’ve lived in, I miss it the most. The city also bears a lot of memories that are very close to my heart. My flight tomorrow, though, most likely won’t be as “spacious” as depicted in this photo.

It’s time to decide where I want the next block (or longer, who knows?) of my life to play out. I’ve told myself the goal of this trip is to do/see everything I haven’t yet experienced. So I’ll be frolicking around town in the rain, visiting cafes I’ve previously missed, nibbling at new restaurants, checking out the Paul Smith show at the Design Museum, to start. I also want to check out the Festival of Imagination. But I’ll likely allow myself to visit old faves like Portebello Road and Hyde Park (in the rain, no less). Right – and I’ll be working from our London office, too!

I’m not sure why it hasn’t hit me yet that I am leaving tomorrow, and for about 3 weeks, too. But I’ll remember when I get there.

In the meantime…

One of my favourite things to style: Bookshelves.

A mixtape of sorts by Girls’ music coordinator.

52 places to go in 2014.

Classy espresso maker.

How big is your vocabulary?

Have a delightful weekend!

Photo: Up in the air, 2013.

Week [1227].

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It just occurred to me that this is the last [Week] post of 2013.

Huh.

We wrapped Issue 11 yesterday and the office is closed for a few days next week. Hooray. Time to ring in the New Year with a little time away from work stress and to think more about the “big picture” of 2014.

And it shall be big!

The year will kick off with another annual trip to my beloved London. Might be my last for awhile. I will have a few work-free days and usually I will get greedy and hop over to another country, but this year I think I just might indulge in the city a little bit. Get reacquainted with my former home. Stroll through my favourite Kensington Gardens. Have lunch at Borough Market, grab a Monmonth Coffee and do my favourite Tate Modern-Millennium Bridge-St.Paul’s Cathedral-Trafalgar Square walk. Can’t wait.

So hopefully this change of pace will give me a kick-start to the year.

And I hope you have a fantastic time ringing in 2014, because it shall be great.

In the meantime…

Heading to Hong Kong? See my must-do recommendations, commissioned  by AFAR.com.

The 100 books to read to become “well-read”.

Beat the holiday bloat with these juices.

A gender-neutral Chinese character represented by letters of the Roman alphabet? I have yet to encounter this.

This box of tea fuels both my obsession and indecisiveness perfectly.

Have a wonderful, celebratory weekend!

Photo: London, 2012. 

Dec the Halls.

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I’ve been at this blogging thing for a few months now, but it’s funny how, of all things that I’ve discussed, I rarely talk about the one thing that I love the most.

Interiors.

I have probably avoided writing about it so to selfishly avoid a bout of envy. But today I came across these two items that I MUST somehow add to my space.

How adorable is the above bookend? Balloons and books, ticking off two of my favourite things. As someone who can spend hours obsessing over styling a vignette, I could just easily pop this little guy in the corner, or among my hardcovers, and call it a day (for now).

(Additionally, this makes me want to be in New York for Frieze to see Paul McCarthy’s “Balloon Dog”.)

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Those who know me know that I have an affinity toward all things Penguin Books. Let’s discuss their publishing repertoire another time, but their design aesthetic is unbeatable. Classic yet modern, all in one. I had interned there during my time in London, and while in the end magazines still stole my heart, I still have very fond memories of working in the children’s department at the glorious Pearson office on the Strand (with the best view over the Thames, I might add.). I don’t give up hope that one day, in one way or another, that I will work with Penguin again in some capacity.

I digress.

This London town house, designed by Harriet Anstruther, could quite possibly be my dream home. The details, the fixtures, the space and light – go here to see the most amazing pop of neon pink in the form of a bar, and other clever accents. And of course, that coveted painting above the fireplace…

A girl can dream.

Images: Burke Decor,  Cosas de Palmichula.

Flâneur.

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“No one perhaps has ever felt passionately towards a lead pencil. But there are circumstances in which it can become supremely desirable to possess one; moments when we are set upon having an object, an excuse for walking half across London between tea and dinner.”

To think, I had bought my copy of Viginia Woolf’s “Street Haunting” years before I knew I would end up in London, albeit temporarily, myself. The beauty of its prose encapsulates the wonder of wandering at best.

Aside from having a personal affinity towards the word “flâneur”, for me, there’s no other way to acquaint myself with a new city than by getting lost, preferably with a camera in tow. Try it. Then get lost again. Go find spots that aren’t in the guidebooks and make them yours. Walk. Just keep walking.  Do it in your own city. I’ve been living in Shanghai for over 6 years and I’m still constantly “getting lost”.

Perhaps all writers romanticise walks. Maybe we possess an additional percentage of curiosity that enables us to look further into otherwise mundane corners and everyday crosswalks. Or that we are comfortable in solitude so that seemingly lonely walks instead become poetic inspiration.

So, go.  Writer’s block, life stress, heartbreak, boredom, whatever it may be. Go walk it off. Start at one point, in place and thought, and keep going until you’ve forgotten what your first point was at all.

 There’s an intersection waiting for you…somewhere.

Have a curious weekend.

Image: Flavorwire.

Lag.

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Hello from my temporary neighbourhood in London.

Being back has been wonderful, and luckily the weather’s been anything but typically London-wet. Chilly, sure, but bearable.

Meeting a new friend resulted in a complimentary ticket to hear the amazing London Symphony Orchestra last night, and reminded me of just why I love this city: the arts, the culture, the vibe.

I plan to start off this weekend by a stroll through Hyde Park, followed by some museum hopping. Working on the Strand means that I am greeted by Trafalgar Square each morning as I climb up to street level from Charing Cross station, and no amount of coffee can conjure up that burst of energy like the beautiful National Museum does.

Jetlag? What jetlag? I’m far too busy soaking it all in.

Photo: London, 2013.

Off.

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And off I go, on my annual Europe excursion. A quick stopover in Hong Kong first, then I’m off to my beloved London.

It will be a trip of rediscovering a city that I adore, seeing my lovely colleagues and friends, and of side trips for fresh inspiration and new ideas that I will bring back with me. These are the best kinds of souvenirs! My excitement is still slightly masked by travel stress but if history repeats itself then I’ll be walking out of Heathrow with a silly grin on my face soon enough.

I will undoubtedly be taking notes on the things that I see, old and new, and you can bet that I’ll report back here soon.

Photo: Somewhere between Shanghai and Hong Kong, 2013.

Brit.

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Let’s talk London. Mostly because I am almost always thinking about London.

My one year sojourn in the UK was a very long breath of fresh air, much needed after an editorial job that had me much too absorbed in Shanghai. Everything was new again! I didn’t know anyone. Needed to learn a new tube system, grasp the local slang and to find that certain special cafe that I could escape to. I embraced London with my arms very, very wide open. Eyes and ears and everything else quickly followed.

Euphorium Bakery became the place where I wrote most of my dissertation on globalisation and its effects on children’s book design. Monmouth Coffee, to me, still serves the best coffee – and lining up around the corner at the Borough Market branch is always worth it, because it’s usually followed by a walk over to the Tate. I even did a tour of the Highgate Cemetery, because, for whatever reason, it seemed poetic and not scary (it was still scary). I took full advantage of free admissions to museums and galleries, squealing an internal “yippee!” each time I saw the chandelier at the entrance to the V+A. I survived rainy days and a dreary winter with copious amounts of tea. I loved getting lost on purpose, and what a luxury it is to be able to say that.

And if I get into the sidetrips that I’d taken during my time there, this entry would take another form as a love letter from a forlorn ex-lover who still obsessed over memories and…wait. So anyway, I hopped on trains often, and ventured left, right, and sideways, taking in sights and snapping away on my Nikon in sweet, poetic, often Medieval towns like Brighton, Stratford-Upon-Avon, Warwick and Weymouth.

I’m lucky. After I moved back to Shanghai, London found me in the form of a job. This gives me an excuse – not only a reason – to return to London every so often. My next visit is in a few weeks and I. cannot. wait.

The question now is, how can I bring back that sense of curiosity, tap into the innate need to explore and see and do and learn, every single day?

Photo: London, 2010.