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 ).

The Warehouse hotel singapore A stylish design boutique hotel to stay in Singapore – The Warehouse hotel.

I have just returned from my Summer holidays to Asia. We were in Singapore for 3 nights and stayed at The Warehouse Hotel, which had only just opened in January 2017.

I adore the heritage look, and this building from 1895 is not only beautiful, but steep in history. This is the preserved original façade of the building. the Warehouse hotel It sits along the banks of the Singapore river, opposite Robertson Quay with its bustling food and drinks scene. The Warehouse hotel lobby The interior of the hotel is testament to the hotel’s interesting and colourful past.

It started life as a Spice warehouse, sitting conveniently along the river trading route, and the light installation and pulleys were designed to compliment that history.

This space has since changed hands to being to being a distillery ( its shady past) and a cool disco. The vibe of the hotel is distinctly industrial with a midcentury modern feel, incorporating lots of design elements in the lighting, furniture and decor. Check out those plush and comfortable brown leather sofas and gorgeous midcentury olive green chairs. There are a total of 37 rooms in the hotel with 6 distinct room types. The rooms all have different layouts but with a relative uniform look, in terms of colours and materials.

The upstairs bedrooms are brighter and lighter, with higher ceilings compared to the ones downstairs. The smooth cement walls that surround the rooms were the original masonry walls, and adds a luxury industrial feel.

Love the black metal frame doors, reminiscent of the on trend Crittall doors. I love how all the design elements are put together, from this beautiful vintage black leather chair, ceramic mug, to the freestanding brass Flos ICS light in the corner.

I must admit, I was super excited to see the Flos lamp, as I have recently installed a similar Flos ICS S2 light in my bedroom. Feast your eyes on this sleek and modern Bang and Olufsen Beoplay A2 sound system which graced every bed side.

We drank filtered water from stylish refillable glass bottles rather than plastic, a little step to help the environment. Even the kettle is so cool. I have my eyes set on this Hario Coffee Drip Electric kettle.

The Papa Palheta drip coffee was superb. There is an on site restaurant called Pó. The decor is distinctively Asian, and their signature dish there is the tantalisingly good Popiah.

Popiah is a spring roll which you make yourself from condiments and specially cooked ingredients like crabs, prawns and pork.

I grew up in Malaysia eating Popiah and I can hand to heart say that it tasted just like what my grandmother used to make for us at home.

The fresh coconuts you can see in the zinc bucket above was for breakfast. The coolest feature of the hotel, after the lobby, is the glass infinity pool on the rooftop.

It has beautiful pink and white tiles and a lovely view of Singapore. It’s so cool to swim and be able to look out under water. Meet Lady Luck, one of Warehouse hotel’s classic and complimentary cocktails for guests, made of citrus vodka, roselle gin, honeybush, pineapple shrub, ginger, coconut and lemon oleo saccharum.

It was so fun to sip cocktails by the poolside.

If swimming is not your thing, then you could borrow the hotel’s Tokyo bikes to cycle along the river.

Finally, to add, I stayed at the Warehouse hotel with my family and it was truly enjoyable for all. In fact, all the design elements make me want to go shopping.I definitely recommend it as a place to stay in Singapore.

( All photography are by Little |Big Bell, except for the bedroom photos which are from the Warehouse hotel. We were offered a few nights free stay. The review is based on my own independent opinion. I sought out the hotel because I have heard great things and love the design elements.)

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