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

Christmas gift guide number 2 – featuring ACQUA DI PARMA.

I am back with the second series of my Christmas gift guide.

Again, I’ll be showing you my favourites. These are the gifts that I covet and I’m truly excited to share with you.

I’ve been a total fan of ACQUA DI PARMA for many years now ( possibly more than 10 years!).

It’s a scent that reminds me of the luxurious warmth of the Italian Riviera, and it transports me to an elegant era of Hollywood starlets, think Grace Kelly and Audrey Hepburn.

As you can see, I have quite a collection on my desk. I’m absolutely loving the classic yellow packaging. ACQUA DI PARMA Colonia is the iconic ACQUA DI PARMA fragrance.

It has been described as the Italian sun captured in the “frutti d’oro” of lemon, bergamot and orange.

It has a harmonious heart of lavender, rosemary, verbena and damask rose, followed by warm woody vetiver, sandal and patchouli.

Check out the gorgeous limited edition packaging, a collaboration with British artist Clym Evernden. ACQUA DI PARMA was created in 1916 by Baron Carlo Magnani after his travels in Paris, London and New York.

In 1950, Colonia became an international success, when Hollywood actors, invited to Italy by the grand masters of Italian cinema discovered its fragrant notes.

Feast your eyes on the perfumed soaps above. I love the pink packaging. It’s such stunning gift and the scent is just divine.  I’ve been spraying on my ACQUA DI PARMA Colonia all day. The zesty notes of Citrus has really made me feel so fresh and uplifted.

It’s a Unisex fragrance, so is a great gift for the man in your life. The bonus, dare I say, is that you can use it too.

If you haven’t smelled it before, then I urge you to go try a sample. You will be hooked. It will totally transport you to somewhere warm and luxurious.

It might even make you secretly pretend you’re a Hollywood star, like I did. ( I can’t believe I’ve just told you that!) Can you believe they do scented drawer liners too? I can’t wait to use them.

Doesn’t my desk look like a happy place with all those pops of yellow? Onto Gift number 2 – more art prints.

I’m currently in the process of filling the walls by my stairs with art prints. I’ve decided to do this slowly, filling the walls with my favourite artwork and colour palette.

I made a start this morning with these 4 gorgeous prints. The large red and pink Hi prrint is by Gayle Mansfield, the “We are family” print is by Disko kids, and the pink and green prints are by Holly McGuire. What do you think of my wall so far?

I will be sharing my progress as I add more pieces over the next few weeks. Last but not least is this beautiful “ The Joy of Watercolor” book sent to me by my friend Emma Block. The illustrations in the book are so beautiful and there is a step by step guide to help you paint like a pro. This would be the perfect gift for the creative art lover amongst your friends or family.

So, that concludes the second series of my Christmas gift guide. There will be more to come and I can’t wait to show you.

Have a lovely evening or day.

( All styling and photography are by Geraldine Tan, editor of Little Big Bell. I have featured gifts sent to me, and there was no commitment to post or share them).

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).

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