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

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 ).

A tour of a luxury residential development – One Park Drive in Canary Wharf.

There is so much more to Canary Wharf than meets the eye. I’ve always thought it was just a financial hub with large banks and offices.

My perception have since changed following a visit to the area.

There is a real buzz in the air. The restaurants are amazing, there are many creative events, and don’t get me started on the shopping choices. Above all, it is a local community too.

There is a palpable sense of economic and social regeneration in the more deprived surrounding areas. Their ‘Making Sustainability Real’ report made interesting reading, particularly on how they have tackled problems with initiatives to help their local community and environment. I was interested to find out that Canary Wharf had reclaimed 23 acres of land – Wood Wharf.

Wood wharf is being master planned by Allies and Morrison Architects. It will soon welcome in 3600 new homes, 380000 sq ft of retail space, 8 acres of public spaces, plazas and parks.

There will also be boutique malls,public art, an NHS surgery and a primary school.

Wood wharf has now reached a prominent milestone in its development with the installation of Water Street bridge, which connects the original Canary Wharf estate to the new district. Last week, I got to see the progress being made on One Park Drive, one of Canary Wharf’s landmark residential building in Wood Wharf. One Park Drive Canary Wharf One Park drive is positioned at the head of the dock and is designed by renown architects Herzog & de Meuron who also designed the Bird’s Nest stadium in Beijing, China.

It will have 58 storeys and 483 apartments. Since the launch in May 2017, over 60% of the development have already been sold. The development will include state of the art amenities designed by GA Design. The reception, concierge, lounge, library and cinema are located on the ground floor. There will be an exclusive health club, including a 20 metre pool, gym, studio space and spa with stunning park views from the first floor. One Park Drive offers three typologies of apartments : the Loft, Cluster and Bay. I’ve labelled the photo to give you an idea.

Each apartment has a balcony offering generous views over the surrounding docklands and across London. Here is one of the Cluster apartments. The interiors have been designed by Goddard Littlefair. The Cluster apartments comprise one bedroom. There was certainly no shortage of storage with a wall of cupboards.

I love how mirrors were used to make the corridor seem wider. This kitchen within the open planned space of the Cluster apartment is just so elegant.

I particularly like how the doors can be folded into slots when opened. That’s such a clever idea for small space living. This is the kitchen in one of the Bay apartments. The Bay apartments usually have 2 bedrooms. This is the larger one. This is the second bedroom. Again, there are ample wardrobe space and clever use of mirrors. Here is a Loft apartment designed by Bowler James Brindley. Here’s another view. The Loft apartments have wraparound terraces with beautiful views of the outdoor green spaces and waterfront. Sliding doors acting as walls can be slid back to create a larger sense of space and to maximise lighting.

How cool is this feature? If you want privacy, then simply slide shut the doors and cloud up the glass panels with a flick of a button. I haven’t shown you all the bathrooms in the apartments, but believe me they are spectacular.

I particularly adore this cylindrical shower room sandwiched between a luxury dressing room and a stylish bathroom. Here is one of the terrace spaces of the Loft apartments.

It’s great to have a large outdoor space in an apartment don’t you think?

Everything about this set up is lovely. I can see our family sitting there in the Summer.

Behind the table is a gorgeous terracotta cladding that also adorns the building.

So, what do you think? I’m seriously tempted. I can’t wait to go back to see One Park drive when it’s all completed.

( All photography are by Geraldine Tan, editor of Little Big Bell. The blog post is not a sponsored piece. All opinions are my own).

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