A Love for Simplicity

Camping Breakfast

Most times I consider myself a city girl. I enjoy crowds, tall buildings, air conditioning, wireless internet connection and hairdryers!

But there is also a part of me that craves simplicity.

Sometimes I need to strip away the unnecessary add-ons of my life and live simply.

I guess, that’s what I enjoy about camping.

It makes me reassess what I need in order to survive. It makes me realise what I CAN and CANNOT live without. It makes me choose. And cull.

I found that living with less makes me focus on nature, and its pleasures.

There’s just something intoxicating about waking up at sunrise and breathing in the morning air of the bush. It is heavy, dewy, cold, and rich with the smells of wet wood, damp earth and grass.

And like in the photo above, to mix in more smells of hot, freshly brewed tea, sizzling bacon and eggs, warm toasted bread and burning wood – ahh, it’s amazing.

I think living simply brings about a certain kind of happiness and contentment.

I should really do it more often.

And I should at least try a little harder to bring some of that contented simplicity back into my normal life.

(You might find it interesting to note, that we can’t live without ceramic tea cups.)

Al&Alicia Online Shop

Al and Alicia Singapore Fashion

So I’m trying to write a review about the latest collection of clothes from Singapore Designer AL&ALICIA – but I can’t seem to do it without gushing and squealing. I’m completely in love with their clothes!!!

Their designer rundown is brilliant, it sums up their look perfectly –
Al likes tailoring with a masculine edge.
Alicia likes all things flirty and feminine.
The two of them combined is AL&ALICIA
Where boy meets girl to create a subtly androgynous look
The truth is that Al is Alicia. And Alicia is Al.
A schizophrenic duo, designing together.

Above I’m wearing the Eye Spy Tank, and Boy Washed Shorts. And I am also sporting a Rayon Twill Blazer in Wind Chime (an off white colour).

I absolutely LOVE THIS LOOK, especially with my Converse Chucks. I’d be so, so, so happy walking around Singapore for hours dressed like this.

My favourite item so far is the Rayon Twill Blazer. Gorgeous, soft and I can’t get over the way it falls and swishes around my body!

Al and Alicia Singapore Fashion

My usual style leans more towards flirty and feminine, and I tend to stay away from boyish shapes. But AL&ALICIA has a very, very cool thing going with this combination of “boyish girliness” and I just might do a bit more of it.

On the left, again I’m wearing the Rayon Twill Blazer in Wind Chime (I’m in love!). The top is the Alexa Pocket Blouse, and the shorts are the Annie Belted Shorts.

On the right I’m wearing, the Stacy Shirt and the Annie Belted Shorts again.

The designer behind AL&ALICIA is Alicia Ong. Born in Singapore, trained in fashion in New York, with internships in Marc Jacobs, J.Crew and DKNY. All her clothes are made with amazing quality and style, and they are all made in Singapore.

You can buy her clothes from the AL & ALICIA online shop.

Or New York’s eDressme.com/al-alicia

( See all my Daily Outfits here )

Check out more of my favourite online shops in my Women’s Online Fashion Shopping Guide.

A Tale of Two Nests

A couple of days ago, my husband came home from helping a friend clean up storm damaged trees in the backyard.

In amongst all the dead branches, they found not one, but two bird nests. At first, they thought one had an egg in it, but it was just a gum nut caught in the grass lining of the nest.

A Tale of Two Nests

It’s simply amazing that birds can make such a thing. And I was most impressed by the differences between the nests.

One is woven entirely from twigs, each twig curved by beak, and then lined with grass. It is exactly what you image birds would build! Like in a cartoon!

A Tale of Two Nests

But the other is made of a kind of felt of feathers, human string, and what looks like spider webs.

It has all been so beautifully merged together that it looks like it was produced out of a steam pressing mould. It smells as clean as if I just bought it from an expensive boutique. I suppose it has been washed by the rain.

How long does it take to collect all those spider web threads? Why would two different species of birds need such different nests?

I know there are answers somewhere, I just don’t know them.

So I’ll just enjoy being amazed, and add these to my collection of inspirational nature things I have on top of my computer monitor.

Roast Pumpkin Salad Dressing

Salad for Lunch

I’ve been crazy over pumpkin lately.  I can’t seem to get enough of it. I love it on pizza, made into soup and dips, and especially roasted and tossed in salad.

This is my favourite dressing for Roasted Pumpkin Salad –

Honey and Balsamic dressing
1/4 cup honey
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon olive oil

Whisk until well combined, then drizzle on salad :)

Kayaking

Kayaking - July 2010

For nearly 2 years, I have been hankering to go kayaking in the river.

You see, I live near the river. And every time I drive or cycle past it, I look over – and see people paddling their kayaks on the still blue water – and I find myself filled with a strong sense of desire and envy.

I guess I just never got around to it! Mainly because I’ve been bogged down with the BUSYNESS OF LIFE. As you do.

So for my birthday, my husband organised a surprise kayaking day for me (rather, us). OMG you should have seen the BIG BIG smile on my face and the twinkle in my eyes when he told me 15 minutes before we walked out the door.

We borrowed our neighbour’s 2 person kayak and 4WD (thanks Irwin!), found a spot on the river to start, plotted a course and set off!

Kayaking - July 2010

It was SPECTACULAR. It was an incredible day for kayaking.

The water was still, like a pond. The air was crisp. The scenery was beautiful. Ahh it was so so so cool. Definitely one of the best, most peaceful and tranquil experiences of my life.

Gliding along the mirror-like surface. Slicing through the water. Seeing my ripples ebb as far as my eyes could see. It was magic.

At some parts of the river, it was SO QUIET and SO STILL, that it all felt a bit odd. Eerie and creepy, perhaps.

You know. It was like a horror movie. The scenery goes quite. The sun suddenly feels hotter, the insects stop buzzing, the fish stop splashing, a crow flies overhead going AAAAAKKKKKK. And I was just waiting for something large and green to slowly appear from the water.

I actually said to my husband, “Uh, there are no crocodiles here in Perth right?”

Osprey eating fish

Anyway, while we were paddling, the water exploded a few metres away from our kayak. I thought someone dropped a large rock into the water. But emerging from the splash, flew an osprey. It was like watching a nature documentary – and seeing the water droplets roll off the feathers in slow motion. The osprey flew off carrying a fish in its claws. It was SO CLOSE to us, and a very cool moment.

But even cooler, was 10 minutes later, we paddled past a tree, and saw the same osprey perched on a branch eating the fish. We paddled slowly and quietly towards it, and took some awesome photos.

Overall, we kayaked for 2 glorious hours.

The paddling itself was pretty hard work. Especially since I’ve never done it before. It was quite a workout for my abs, arms and legs. But my body felt so good. And it was so refreshing for my soul.

I really, really loved it.

And now I hope that one day I’ll have my own kayak and go paddling on the river at dawn. And at night.