Design, Interiors & Lifestyle Blog
Design, Interiors & Lifestyle Blog

An early Christmas gift guide for 2018 to prevent last minute panics

Hope you are all having a wonderful weekend. I thought I’d pop over here to do a quick Christmas gift guide for 2018.

I know what you are thinking. Why is she doing a Christmas post so early?

To be honest, I’m normally an 11th hour person, and often do things last minute. That last minute anxiety can’t be good for my health, nor anyone’s for that matter right? So, over the next couple of weeks I will be drip feeding you with gift guides (hope you don’t mind).

What I’ll show you are a carefully curated collection of gifts. Gifts that I would personally buy. Gift number 1 on my list are these cute cushions from Suki Mc Master, a super talented artist and maker based in Australia.

I already own some of her beautiful cushions and art prints.

Check out her gorgeous new collection adorning my sofa. The cushion on the left is an illustration of a Kookabara. I love her Australian animal series. I will be showing more of them on instagram soon.

This image brings me to Gift number 2A gorgeous gallery wall of art prints.

The vibrant pink “POP” print is from the super colourful design duo Quirk and Rescue.

The pink Crema Pastelera print is by Holly Maguire. Seriously, Holly is so talented. Every piece of her work makes me want to shop.

That cool red and pink roller skates print is by Disko KidsHelen, the owner of Diko Kids also sell really cute music inspired clothing for kids and adults.

That happy rainbow, No Sleep Club print and leopard print bag are by the amazing print and pattern designer, Eleanor Bowmer. So what do you think so far? Lots of Christmas ideas right? Gift number 3 Washable rugs from Lorena Canals. Their rugs are super soft, stylish and so easy to care for. Gift number 4 For the cook amongst your friends or family, I highly recommend Luiz Hara’s newly published cook book  The Japanese Larder.

I recently had the honour of being invited to one of Luiz’s dining clubs at his home.

Luiz’s food is incredible. He takes the every day Japanese ingredients that you can find in your local supermarket and show you how you can create amazing Japanese food. His recipes are easy to follow, tasty and a masterpiece. Gift number 5 and 6 are not Christmas gifts but pre-Christmas countdown surprises in the form of advent calendars.

I was so lucky to receive this incredible personalised 24 days of stationery advent box from the lovely Martha Brook. I can’t wait to show you my gifts on insta stories in December. I’m pretty sure she is going to sell out of these soon, so if I were you now, I’d pre-order them now.  Oh my goodness! I really can’t wait. Thank you Martha for making my upcoming December so packed with excitement. I feel like a little kid again. For tea lovers, how about some advent tea by Tea Revv? I can’t wait to unwrap each tea blend. How does Chilly Willy Chai, Cranberry apple and Notorious Eggnog sound?

That wraps up my Christmas gift guide for 2018 so far. There will be more coming soon.

Wishing you a wonderful weekend and week ahead.

( All photography and styling are by Geraldine Tan. The mentioned gifts were all gifted to me, but they were personally curated by me).

An afternoon in Penang – an Insider’s guide of the best things to do.

For as far back in my childhood as I can remember, we always take a family holiday in Penang.

If you are new to Penang, it is an island off the Malay Peninsula, in the Strait of Malacca.

If you are staying longer than 24 hours, then there are loads of beach resorts. We normally stay in Rasa Sayang hotel at Batu Ferringhi.

If you are only there for a short visit, I thought I’d show you my favourite places. The capital of Penang is George Town. What I love about George Town are the beautiful British colonial buildings with a Chinese twist. The colonial buildings are all scattered over George Town. I love how colourful they are. Penang street art Another fun thing you could do in George town, Penang, is the street art walk.

Ernest Zacharevic was commissioned in 2012 by the Penang Municipal Council to create a street art project in Georgetown called ‘Mirrors George Town’ in different locations of the old town.

The little children on the bicycle art by Ernest can be found in Lebuh Armenian. Nearby on Lebuh Cannon is ‘Reaching up’, also by Zacharevic. Isn’t it adorable? Strangely nostalgic too.  This “I want Bao” mural , found in Armenian street is by Ming Xiang Tai. I really love this ‘Prayer’ street art, found in Armenian Street art alley.

As yet, I am unsure who the artist is. If you like seafood, then head to the Da shu xia (Tree shade) seafood restaurant at 177C Lebuh Victoria in George Town.

You know the seafood is fresh there because, you get pick your own fish or crab from the aquarium before cooking.

Hidden inside the restaurant is this mural by an unknown artist. The tins of Milo and Ovaltine malted chocolate drinks brought back childhood memories. I’m sure you would be hungry after a busy morning of street art.

Here is a hidden gem, only known to locals for lunch. Ha! The secret is now out.

This is Mo Teng Pheow located in Jalan Masjid, off Chulia street in Penang.

This is Penang’s famous 60 year old kuih factory. Kuih are bite sized Malaysian cakes made from rice or glutinous rice, and they used to be sold by street vendors as illustrated in the mural. Penang hidden gem restaurant Behind the kuih factory lies this canteen – the secret!

Check out the decor. Love the tiles, brick wall and pops of yellow and red. At a very affordable price, you get to sample all the Malaysian classic dishes, cooked in the traditional way.

On the right hand side, you can see the colourful plate of kuih.

We ordered Nasi Lemak (my favourite dish) – coconut rice with, spiced anchovies and tamarind prawns. Then there is assam Laksa – a noodle dish with a spicy and sour fish broth, and Nasi Kuning (yellow sticky rice) with a chicken curry.

Goodness me, I’m feeling so hungry now.

Finally, hope you have enjoyed this post and will find it useful when you visit Penang in Malaysia.

There are lots to do in Penang, but I thought I’d just share my favourite from this Summer.

Have a lovely week all.

( All photography are by Geraldine Tan, editor of Little Big Bell).

Urban cabin Shared and small space living in Beijing with MINI Living’s latest Urban Cabin.

I may have missed London Design Festival this year, but I saw plenty of amazing design in Beijing, China.

After seeing the MINI LIVING Urban Cabins in London and LA, I was so excited to see their new concept for a habitable space in Beijing.

The image above is the MINI Urban cabin from London Design Festival. You can see more images here. LA Design festival This is the beautiful MINI Living Cabin showcased at L.A Design week. small space living urbanisation Here’s MINI Living’s Urban Cabin in Beijing, a collaboration with local architect Sun Dayong from Penda.

Urbanisation and the lack of housing space is becoming a huge issue. As you can imagine with China’s fast growing population, this issue is ever more pressing.

The aim of the MINI LIVING Urban Cabin projects were to address this problem by developing concepts for small space living.

According to Sun Dayong, Beijing’s population had grown to 18,777 million in 2017. The theme for this Urban Cabin was “Reflect”, a  design inspired by China’s ‘Hutong’ courtyard living format.

A Hutong combines private and public living spaces.  The MINI LIVING Urban Cabin can connect with the outside world in its open format and close off when privacy is needed.  The bed can also be pushed out as an inviting day bed. A table can rotate outwards for a shared meal. I love how the space further plays on the word “reflect” in its design. One of my favourite features was the mirrored surfaces used in both its exterior and interior. Sun Dayong used the principle of a periscope to design the “courtyard like experience” room at the centre of the Urban Cabin.

Whilst sitting on a swing, you get to experience the perspectives of people who once lived in the Hutong, seeing the public go about their daily activities from their private residences.  Looking up at the mirrors you see the changing patterns of the outdoors being reflected back. small space living kitchen ideas Small space living can’t be easy, but MINI LIVING seem to have perfected the art of doing so.

Using the concepts of ‘Pull, Fold, Rotate and Stick’, they seem to have been able to create multi-purpose use furniture and fittings for flexible living in a space just 15 square meters in size.  An example here is the wall peg board and shelving that allow adaptation and storage in a space. Walking around the inhabitable space has made me reflect on how I see myself living in the next 10 years.

Would space be still an important issue for me or would I embrace social mobility and shared space living?

What sort of accommodation do you think you’ll be living in, in 10 years’ time? Is small space living for you? Finally, I have some exciting news. MINI LIVING will be revealing the first MINI LIVING building in Shanghai early next year. I can’t wait to see it and hopefully get to show you.

( All photography are by Little Big Bell. This is a paid partnership post with MINI Living but all opinions are my own. AD ).

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