Books read – 2014

Jan – Mar

1. Enid Blyton: The Biography – Barbara Stoney

2. Claudine at School – Colette (Quite an entertaining read but I don’t think I’ll read the rest of the series as I don’t find Claudine a likeable character.)

3. An Omelette and a Glass of Wine – Elizabeth David (She writes about food with such class. )

4. The Picnic: A History – Walter Levy (Did not enjoy this as much as I did for Breakfast: a History , but thanks to this book, I discovered the next two which were featured because they have picnics central to the plot.)

5. The Bad Seed – William March (So good I finished it in one night!! And it was a weekday night too.)

6. Picnic at Hanging Rock – Joan Lindsay (Now I want to watch the film!)

7. Think Like a Cat: How to Raise a Well-Adjusted Cat–Not a Sour Puss – Pam Johnson-Bennett 

8. Ministry of moral panic : stories – Amanda Lee Koe (She has talent. Her characters seem so real, they could be your HDB neighbour. This is one of my favourite stories in the collection, The King of Caldecott Hill.)


Where do I keep my books?

Storage is very important for my husband and I, because we are both great collectors and have amassed much books, cds, records, magazines, dvds, and assorted paraphernalia between us, amongst other odds and ends along the way. Ours is a 3-room flat, so space is a premium. Hence for our home renovation, getting more storage was a key priority.


Here is what I had to move from my parents’ place. My life’s collection of books, music and film.


Our nice books and some of my vintage bits and bobs are displayed in two bookcases in our living room. The bookcases were on sale from Scanteak ($199 each, down from $399. Bargain!!!). This is where I have my vintage book collection.

vintage books

Vintage Puffins and Enid Blytons!

living room

Another view of the living room book cases. The bookcases face the main door, so our neighbours can peek at our library when we leave the door open. This also gives us privacy, so neighbours can’t peek at us watching TV.

study cabinets

Flushed against one wall of our study are 2 massive storage cabinets and an old IKEA bookcase. Each of us has one storage cabinet. They are not pretty, but they are very practical as they are almost floor to ceiling. They were built to measure because you can’t find such huge and sturdy cabinets in shops.

storage in study

This is my storage cabinet. It fits all my records at the bottom, my stationery at the top, and I have 3 shelves of books. It may not look like much, but the shelves are actually pretty deep. Hence I can have my books triple stacked. I left 2 shelves empty to make room for future books.

maths cabinet

The IKEA bookcase in the corner of the study is all husband’s. This is where he keeps his Maths books and and teaching material.

cd cabinet

Thankfully almost all of our CDs fit in this dresser we bought from Scanteak. It holds approx 600 cds. I still have 2 boxes of CDs in excess, so I might place them in my storage cabinet for the time being.

kitchen shelf

We have a mini bookshelf in the kitchen too! This is where we display our favourite cookbooks, husband’s glass bottle collection and keep essentials like the house keys.

bedroom shelf

And lastly, my bookshelf by my side of the bed. It also doubles up as a bedside table where I can charge my phone.

With so much “clutter” and it’s accompanying dust, our home is certainly not minimalist or Home & Decor standard, but that doesn’t matter. I’m living surrounded by all our books, with bookcases in every room… that is my idea of happiness.

New discoveries

3 of the bands I already love have released new albums in recent months – She and Him, Camera Obscura, and Saturday Looks Good To Me. But I haven’t bought any of them yet. And no, I haven’t downloaded them either.

For each album, something was just holding me back, and I wasn’t sure what it was. Granted, they had a couple of nice tracks on each, the sort that I wanted to replay over again. Eg. She and Him’s I Could Have Been Your Girl. I worried I was losing my music obsession or morphing into a responsible adult.

Thankfully that wasn’t the case, because yesterday I finally discovered something that compelled me to buy buy buy. Adam Green & Binki Shapiro released this record in January 2013. Overall, it reminds me of slightly smokey, mysterious duets of the 60s – Serge Gainsbourg/ Jane Birkin, Lee Hazlewood/ Nancy Sinatra. Especially this track:

And this sounds like it could have been taken straight of an Ace Records obscure 60s girls compilation:

Zooey Deschanel is still a girl crush of mine, but I have to admit that Adam Green & Binki Shapiro’s record just sounds so much more authentic and heartfelt than She & Him’s Volume 3.

Vintage photos at Malacca

Over the Vesak Day long weekend, we went to Malacca with my parents. Malacca is not the same as it used to be, when I first took a coach ride there with my mum, in 2006. Then, genuine antique stores (the sort where everything is messy and you have to dig your way for gems) were still around Jonker Street. Now, it’s a street that caters to tourists. This is also reflected in the costlier pricing! Oh well. Such is progress. Thankfully, I still have my vinyl buys from the 2006 trip (most of which were local 60s records) to remind me of the glory days.

This time around, I only bought 4 vintage photos. It’s been so long since I last bought any vintage photos, but I am so pleased with these 4. One simple reason – they feature a portable record player! And young people having fun! My favourite vintage photo theme.

malacca 2

This was the first photo I picked out at the store. It was stashed in an envelope. My heart went still, when I saw that record player in the corner. And the pile of record sleeves at her feet. Girl + vinyl records = dream vintage photo combination, in my opinion.

malacca 4

And there were more photos from the same set. These were actually stored in a different plastic bag from the above. When it comes to vintage photo buying, there is a lot of rummaging to be done. Here is a group photo, with a better look at that vintage portable turntable. And records scattered on the picnic map. This must be a group of music-loving kids!

malacca 3

Another photo of the group. Check out the magazine the girl is holding.

malacca 1

This photo was taken on another occassion, but the same portable turntable is there! From this photo, I deduce its owner must be the gentleman in spectacles on the right, because he appears on both occassions. He must really love his music, to bring his record player on outings!

I paid RM$20 for all four photos, haggled down from RM$40.

When it comes to vintage photos, I don’t mind paying anything reasonable for a good photo. My most expensive vintage photo purchase to date cost me SGD$10. These photos are actually moments captured in time that will never be repeated. Unless you are buying a vintage photo print of a personality, eg. Elvis, or a reproduction photo, you won’t find the same photo elsewhere. These are ordinary people capturing photos of friends and family members. Most likely, there would only be one or two copies made of that photo, and who’s to say that they will be easily found in a random vintage shop? So if I like the photo very much, I will want to buy and keep it. But within reasonable boundaries of course. I don’t think I’ll pay more than $20 per photo.