Monday, March 28, 2011

Elizabeth Taylor's vintage and classic ads

Marilyn Monroe, Grace Kelly, Audrey Hepburn and Elizabeth Taylor. She outlived them with her diamonds, husbands and all and earned her place as the last iconic star of the century. When the Hollywood roles got fewer, she took on a different path, that of a humanitarian, working tirelessly for the Aids cause.

Elizabeth Taylor passed away on the 23 March 2011 but her place in Hollywood history burns bright.

Besides the movies that made her legendary such as Cleopatra and Giant, she also graced a number of advertisements, from as recent as that of Violet Eyes launched last April 2010 to vintage ads from the 50's and 60's including Max Factor, Lux, Lustre Cream Shampoo and even Whitman chocolates.

The lady with the violent eyes - RIP.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Haji Lane shopping in Singapore

Mall shopping is not quite my cup of tea. The shop mix in Singapore malls is becoming quite predictable that it makes on-line shopping increasingly attractive. However, I still love the feeling of seeing a product - the cut, colour, touch and feel of a fabric, how accessories dazzle in the light or how quaint homeware gives one a nice cosy feeling. This is especially true for independent shops and brands where creative touches to window displays, products and interiors make them irresistible.

Such a place is Haji Lane in Singapore where the shops display a strong streak of individuality. This place was once a narrow lane of run down shophouses until Comme des Garcons set up shop here some years back. Being a guerrilla Japanese brand, it had to set up shop for only one year, away from the usual fashion hub of the city before moving again.

The Comme des Garcons shop has since come and gone but other shops have moved in. Run down shophouses have now been repaired and restored and are now home to some of the loveliest shops in Singapore. My favourites in this area - the Sky Room, Soon Lee, Puck and the Blogshop. Whimsical touches are evident everywhere, from postboxes to window frames, from benches to walls and stairs. Some shopowners have their little pets around such as cats and little Jack Russell dogs giving it a sweet, personal touch. A nice, small indie shopping place with an easy, chill-out feel.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

By Air Mail - Par Avion

There's something romantic about writing a letter and sending it by Air Mail - Par Avion. The familiar blue and white envelope with the familiar chop looks very nostalgic now as we don't practise letter writing as often as we used to.

Some of the greatest love letters were written this way, especially during wars and times of separation. But today, the volume of letters going around the world have shrunk considerably. It is definitely more convenient to send an email. So how are love notes communicated ? Probably via emails and SMS. But the recent revival of the air mail in vintage and retro inspired designs brings back some of that good o'le sentimental feeling.
Some weeks back, I saw a little stash of blue and red envelopes at the bookshop and feeling a little nostalgic, I bought it just in case I would write a letter to a far away friend. I do have a penpal from New Zealand and we have been friends since we were 12 years old. She writes faithfully every year during Christmas with a card and a letter.

Well, it was raining this afternoon and for some strange reasons, I took these air mail envelopes out and created some little random pictures together with my other stash of quaint cafe pictures.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

La Petite Cuisine

Cream of brocolli

Confit de canard with potato gratin (below)

Potato Gratin

I 've always wanted to try my hand at French crusine and even bought a charming little book with a step by step guide. But before I do, think I should try out more of the real thing to see if I am on or entirely off the mark. So when a friend called to go for lunch, I suggested making our way to a little restaurant called La Petite Cuisine. The reviews I 've read so far were pretty good.
Just like its name, the place was really petite with only three or four tables inside. It was unpretentious and casual, with the cooking area just next to the dining area. Went for the confit de canard which came with the option of french fries or potato gratin. I chose the latter as I 've seen it in my receipe book and would like to find out how the taste was like.
The potato gratin was creamy, buttery, cheesey with a melt in your mouth taste. This potato dish is definitely worth trying at home because kids will love it. Moreover, the calories didn't matter to them.
As for the confit de canard, it was glorious ! The duck leg was crispy on the outside while moist and tender inside, going very well with the sauce that had a sharp and sweet taste. It could have been made with red wine vinegar. But this is one dish I won't be trying. Based on its taste, I'm sure it is a lot more complicated.
Will definitely come to this place again for lunch with my friends as there are more French dishes I've yet to try.
La Petite Cuisine
227, Upper Thomson Road

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Adelphi Hotel (1863 -1973)

The Adelphi Hotel in the 1950's

An Adelphi hotel postcard sent to Calgary, Canada
Always thought Raffles Hotel was the first and oldest hotel in Singapore till I saw a postcard at a stamp exhibition. On it was written - Adelphi Hotel, established 1863. That makes it the first in Singapore as the Raffles Hotel was established only in 1887.
According to a National Library article written by Marsita Omar, the Adelphi Hotel actually shifted three times. It was first situated at Commercial Square (the present Raffles Place) until its premise became too small for its expanding business. Then it moved to High Street and later to number 3 Coleman Street, the residence of Singapore's first-trained architect, George Drumgoole Coleman.
It was around 1904 that Messrs Sarkies, Johannes & Co. purchased the property and made improvements to the hotel. It was entirely rebuilt with 100 bedrooms that came with bathrooms attached. There was also the Billiard Room and a Reading Room on the ground floor. The Adelphi Hotel was a place rich in history. It was the place where General Yamashita met with Singapore's 400 community leaders in a bid to gain their confidence in the new regime. During the Japanese Occupation, the Adelphi Hotel was renamed the Nanto Hotel.

The article also mentioned that the Adelphi Hotel at Coleman Street was permanently closed in 1973 with the 25th June being its last business day. Eventually, the entire building was demolished in 1980 and replacing it was the Adelphi Complex. Sad. It could have been a great hotel restored to its former glory just like the Raffles. The conservation phase in Singapore just came too late to rescue this grand dame.

Little corners of my Home

Here are some little corners of my home. Lately, I seem to be collecting little Eiffel towers. It all started when my friend wanted to throw away a little French bon-bon Eiffel tower glass container but I managed to "rescue" it. Then came a flea market find which costs me just $8. I love doing and redoing the little corners of my home. It costs very little and gives me the chance to rotate the stuff that I have stored away.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Vintage Pyrex and other ceramics

A made in the US vintage Pyrex mixing bowl with yellow daisies

Yellow and brown flowers were popular back in the 60s and 70s

A made in Belgium spice bottle with a beautiful floral design
I started collecting some vintage Pyrex ceramics from the US and England as I like the flower motiffs as well as the bright colours of these wares. The yellow Pyrex mixing bowl with the yellow daisies is my favourite as the vibrant colour makes me happy. Though Pyrex wares are still around today, gone are its rich and beautiful colours. They come mostly in transparent glass and honestly, they can't get more boring than that. What happened to the gorgeous colours of pinks, yellows, greens and more ?