Travel I: Singapore

Let me preface this series of posts with a little bit of my life story: my dad is an expat Kiwi, living in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. My parents have been married nearly 30 years, but are currently in a 7-year LDR, which is set to finish at the end of this year when my mum moves over here to finally live with him. This whole thing started when he took a job offer in Suva, Fiji, when I was 12. The schooling system there was dismal, so my two brothers and I stayed in Christchurch to finish our educations. When the coup got serious in Fiji, dad moved to Sydney, where he stayed until the end of last year when he moved to Vietnam. One of the perks of being an expat is a travel allowance for your family, which is how my big brother James and I were able to make it here.

So, onto the adventures! I'm sure blog readers and real-life friends alike were sick of my ash-cloud-related freakouts, but they were warranted, as our Jetstar (shudder) flight on Monday was cancelled because of it. Thankfully we re-booked on a slightly better airline, one that can afford both nice staff and proper navigational equipment, and made it to Singapore only a day late.

(The view from our hotel room, out onto THE most RIDICULOUS building I've ever seen. Who in their right mind would stay in this?!)

(The boardwalk-type area where we had dinner late on our first night)

(We came back to our hotel room to find these cute little cards, warning us of the stifling heat to follow the next day.)

(Hotel breakfasts!! When I am rich, famous, et al., I'm going to have a full-time employee to cook me eggs.)

(Chilling in front of Miu Miu on Orchard Rd, which is the fanciest shopping district in Singapore, pretending like I could ever afford anything there. I'm wearing a dress that I coveted for ages until Christie agreed to sell it to me, thrifted Chucks, my old leather satchel and a boater which was a gift.)
(As my dad is a ~frequent stayer~ sort of thing at this hotel, we got access to a fancy little lounge with unlimited Moet and tasty things. Vintage cheddar, chevre, brie, crudites and pesto- basically my dream meal right here.)

(James and I looking tired, sweaty and jetlagged, all of which we were significantly.)

(Anybody who knows me well, knows I am obsessed with Reese's products. You can't really buy them in New Zealand, so this store was a dream for me!)
This is kinda a boring entry, especially for a travel one, because we didn't really get up to a lot in Singapore. We were only there for one day, and so tired from travel that we couldn't be bothered doing much. This morning we flew into Ho Chi Minh City, and I write this from my dad's apartment. It's strange here, because of the whole communist thing it's absolutely impossible to access Facebook, yet blogs are allowed! I would've thought blogging would be far more dangerous to the regime but hey, what do I know.

But real-life friends, if you're reading this- please email me, even if just about how cold it is in Chch! My address is in the side-bar, and I'm so keen to catch up with all of you. The heat here is so intense that I can only be active for a few hours out of every day, so I have a bit of downtime to talk to y'all. Time for a swim... dying.


Blue velvet

(Wearing a vintage velvet dress from Trademe, vintage school satchel stolen from the costume cupboard, Goldenponies oxfords, a thrifted woolen beret, misc belt and tights and a vintage rose brooch that was a gift from my friend Alex)

My brother and I went for a jaunt around some historical Canterbury homes today, and I wore this amazing vintage dress that I got for cheap on Trademe. Its label says it's 'A Rayana Production' and made in NZ, but I can't find any info on that make at all despite having a couple of dresses in my wardrobe by them, all of similar eras. There are lots of great vintage Kiwi clothing labels that I frequently come across in thrift stores, but the internet seems devoid of information on most of them which is such a shame. Anyway, I can't go past anything velvet and electric blue, but my only gripe with this dress is that the previous owner cut it short and did a truly terrible job of hemming it!

I also went thrifting this morning with my friend Steven and found woolen berets in baby blue, as seen above, and mustard yellow. This brings my beret collection to a veritable rainbow, and on chilly days like today I can barely stand to leave the house without one. Finally, today I handed in my final piece of assessment for the semester, and now only an ash cloud stands between me and drinking pina coladas by the pool in Ho Chi Minh City. Sigh.



My adaptor arrived for my new lens, which meant today after we went thrifting my brother Will had the onerous task of trying it out for the first time. He snapped these for me featuring my weird new hat, I'm not so sure about it but for $2 I couldn't say no!

I can't believe how big it is compared to my little baby M4/3 pancake lens! But I sure do love it. However, now that one of my travel fears has abated another has (re-)appeared- the dreaded ash cloud. If I can't get out of the country due to some bloody miniscule particles in the atmosphere, I'm gonna be mighty pissed.

P.S. Isn't this coat amazing? I'm not sure if I've written about it on here before. My boyfriend found it for me in the kids' section of a thrift store when we were in Sydney last year, and although the sleeves are far too short and I can't button it up, it's my favourite coat ever. Not bad for $12.


Plaid and bows

(Wearing a vintage 1950s dress from Etsy, thrifted beaded 1950s cardigan, 1960s t-bar shoes from Emporium Vintage, and cane handbag from Two Squirrels Vintage)

I bought this gorgeous dress on Etsy for a pittance a couple of weeks ago, and it arrived this morning. I couldn't wait to wear it, but I'll let you in on a secret: I'm wearing it backwards. The buttons and bow are meant to go at the back, but I think they're too cute to be wasted on it! I also can't decide if I want to take it up a couple of inches or leave it at its current length- any thoughts?

Thank you all so much for your kind words and support in my last post. It's really nice to know that the blogging community have your back in times of need! It's funny how accustomed we've all become to having time off work, university, and normal life because of the quakes. This is the third time since September 4th last year that I've found myself in limbo, and it's getting a bit tedious. There's only so much time one can spend sitting around home, studying for exams that may never happen and bracing yourself every time you feel a little tremor. I'm sure other Christchurch bloggers are feeling the same, it's a strange time for all of us.

Oh, I did get a new lens for my camera though. A Canon 50mm f/1.8 at a tiny price, from a family friend whose camera shop in the CBD has been badly damaged. Unfortunately it doesn't fit directly on my camera, which is an Olympus Pen EPL-1, so I have to wait in anticipation for the adaptor to arrive from Hong Kong. Don't you hate waiting for the post? Especially when you know it's something good. I'm just hoping it arrives before I head overseas next week!


Quake City once more

Just after Christie's recent reflective post on the series of Christchurch quakes, two more massive earthquakes hit us yesterday afternoon. The first was a 5.7, and the second a 6.3. Christie and I were both at home and got in contact with each other very quickly, thank god. They were both terrifying, especially in my condemned and extremely badly damaged house. I ran outside during both quakes, to hear the sound of broken glass and people screaming. We lost power along with 47,000 other households, and still have to boil our water. The earth has barely stopped moving since they hit. Thankfully the historic CBD remains closed, so although more buildings were destroyed in the tremors, only one death has been reported so far. However, the whole city is in limbo and it's a very painful and stressful time for all of us.

The remainder of this post was written yesterday morning, as I procrastinated studying for my upcoming exams. I feel a bit stupid posting it now, but I suppose life must go on.

(Wearing 1950s handpainted deer skirt from Etsy, my boyfriend's tshirt, vintage 1940s necklace that was a present from him, and Goldenponies brogues from Etsy)

This skirt is one of those things I added to my Etsy favourites list hoping that I might win lotto or something. I sorta checked back on it every so often (am I the only one who does this?), even including it in my wishlist over at Ventricular Projects. One day on my usual tour through my favourites, I noticed it had inexplicably fallen in price from $100-and-something to eighteen dollars. Probably the fastest Etsy transaction I've ever made. I adore it beyond words, although I've had trouble figuring out what to wear it with, so have resorted to this tshirt that Logan doesn't seem to have realised I've had for months now. I can't wear it when he's around in case he asks for it back!

I'm just about to head over to a friend's brand new house, where liquefaction (muddy silt that is pushed up through the earth during quakes) has seeped inside and needs digging out. You can read my post on the February 22nd earthquake here. If you would like to donate to the Red Cross effort, you can do so here.


le premier jour de l'hiver

Today was a day of coconuts and spray paint.
I went along and participated in a few fun activities set up by Gap Filler, an organisation started up by some cool people after the earthquake to fill the gaps left by demolition.
We were handed spray cans and told to add to the brightly-coloured tangle of messages and pictures covering old pieces of furniture, contribute to the love and supportive words. I felt so badass vandalizing furniture! (although my form of vandalism was a loveheart stenciled everywhere)

We went on to play coconut bowling at a makeshift bowling alley further down the street. A little different and a lot more juicy than normal bowling!

It's a strange feeling, playing games and laughing like normal when across the road, a street of abandoned boutiques and cafes lies fenced off from the public. Today I went back to the place where I was when the earthquake hit and I feel okay about it, that time and place seems a world away now. Everything has changed a lot, it doesn't feel like the same street I walked down. It's the not knowing that bites worst: will I ever get to see my school again? That thrift store? What about the place where I sat holding a new boyfriend's hand? The beautiful chapel that I sang Hallelujah in?

cream velvet dress, dollhouse
lace crop top, thrifted
coat, melbourne markets
It was a lovely sunny day with no hint of gloom. Funny, the first day of winter.

(all photos taken by Frances Martin)
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