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.)

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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.

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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.

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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!

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

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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.

more home improvement

We’ve been busy looking at household appliances. Stoves, hobs, ovens, fridges, sinks and taps. (for now). I’ve never opened so many fridge doors in my life. It’s getting quite boring. A fridge is a fridge. But this is what happens when you are spoilt for choice.

Also, the hunt continues for an interior designer or contractor for renovation of our flat. Some interior design firms ask you for your preferred “style” when you ask them for a quotation. Correct answers would be in-vogue styles like “Swedish”, “Minimalistic”, “Industrial”, etc. I hate that! Why do I need to pigeon hole myself to someone’s pre-defined “style”, when it can be MY style?

I don’t know how to describe the kind of style I want. All I know is that I want to showcase my collections, clutter and all. Two books I’ve recently read are big inspirations on this front – Living With Books by Dominique Dupuich (my birthday gift from husband), and Perfectly Kept House is the Sign of A Misspent Life by Mary Randolph Carter (a serendipitous find at the library).

Not for me are those sleek and glossy homes that you’ll always find in Home & Decor magazine and condominium showflats. I’d rather have our stacks of books, vinyls, dvds and vintage photos all over the place, thank you very much. (Fortunately for me, the husband shares the same design view as me and gave me full creative control, hooray.)

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home improvement!

We are currently staying in my husband’s former bachelor apartment until we move to our new place next year. I’ve finally gotten round to doing a *bit* of home decor (ie. imprinting my touch).

Too bad I do not have photos of the “before”, but trust me, the living room did not look like this last year! This is a work in progress as there are still things that need to be done, such as more storage / shelves for my books. The pillows with floral pillow cases are from Typo.

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Vintage typewriter that really works! We bought it here.

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Framed vintage photos from my collection. The old Panasonic radio was my grandfather’s. It should still work if I get batteries. Tennis poster was taken from a pillar along Haji Lane.

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overnight oatmeal!

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Meet my new breakfast of choice. Overnight oatmeal! Made thanks to my new obsession for food blogs.

It’s so easy to make! I scanned several recipes until I found a simple one that did not require yoghurt.

I used:
1/2 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup soya milk
1 tsp brown sugar
sprinkle of ground cinammon
handful of raisins

And in the morning, I stirred in 1/2 tsp of peanut butter.

Oh my goodness, it is heavenly yummy! I prepared it overnight in my vacuum tumbler flask so that I could bring it to work to eat for breakfast. Happy to say that it lasted the journey and stayed cold in my tumbler 40 minutes later!

In my mind are multiple possibilities for future yummy oatmeal breakfasts – mixed spice… Nutella… more peanut butter… ground ginger… chopped apples… dried mango… chia seeds (I must try this. Apparently when soaked overnight it turns into the consistency of tapioca pearls!)

The best part of eating oatmeal for breakfast – I’m so happily nourished that I don’t feel like snacking before lunch! Neither do I feel so full that I’m drowsy.