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28 posts categorized "Travel"

Charlene reporting from Singapore


Singapore is a city state with modern buildings and convenience of transport. If you ever consider going to Singapore for a short visit and would like to go to attractions that do not require entrance fees. Here are some of my personal favorite places to go.

Visit the Chinatown if you’re interested in the culture and sights of the largest ethnic group in Singapore. A great place to shop for traditional Chinese goods plus great shopping bargains. Singapore is a food paradise so you must not miss the local Singapore food. So, eat your heart out at the huge People's Park Food Centre. A few of those must try local dishes are Laksa, Char Kway Teow, Hainanese Chicken Rice, Satay, Nasi Lemak.


While you're in the vicinity, I highly recommend you this noteworthy shop :: Casualpoet
Casualpoet – a newly opened arts and cultural concept store housed on the 3d floor of an old shophouse. I love this small, cozy boutique (with a mini café!) itself, the home, paper goods, books, record labels that they are stocking. You will love this shop if you have a thing for linen and natural fashions. They have 2 separate online stores selling cultural goods and daily goods.
Location: 3rd level, 273B New Bridge Road.



Singapore Art Museum is a great place for photography. The building itself has fantastic architecture and the inside is filled with amazing and beautiful pieces.
For Japanese craft lovers, Kinokuniya is located at Takashimaya. Also, don’t miss the Art Friend, a huge store selling art supplies. It is located just right above Kinokuniya. Another great place to shop for craft supplies is Spotlight at Plaza Singapura.

For the scrapbookers, go experience the magic of paper at Laine’s Papeterie located at Wheelock Place.

Let’s move away from the hustle bustle of Orchard Road and head to Bugis. A few minutes walk from Bugis will take you to Arab Street, the shopping paradise for all crafters. There are a lot of small shops where you can shop for beautiful textiles, silks and other craft supplies.

Just beside Arab Street is Haji Lane, the Singapore designer street with a lot of hip, quaint, quirky shops. Some of my favorite shops include Soon Lee, Pluck and Salad. Check out the lovely accessories, clothing, the beautiful interior designs, unique ornaments in these shops.


Soon Lee is located at 56 Haji Lane, level 2.

Salad - A black and white theme boutique with modern fashion and home accessories.
Location: 25/27 Haji Lane
If you love greenery, resort-like ambience and nice dining places, you have to visit the Dempsey Hill area that caters to families and diners.
Complete your trip and enjoy a glass of Singapore Sling at the Long Bar in the famous Raffles Hotel.

There are of course other things to do and see, but in my opinion the above places are the best to give you an overview of the latest, coolest shopping finds along some narrow lanes/streets hidden in Singapore. I'd like to thank Irene for inviting me to contribute to Bloesem’s World Tour project. Thanks for reading and I hope to see you all in Singapore soon! {Thanks to you too, Charlene for this great write-up}

* * * Charlene's shop  :: going simple on linen
* * * Charlene's blog :: Scrapabee

{posting date May 2008}

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PerfectBound reporting from Winnipeg


Hi all...some of you already had a sneak peek at PerfectBound reporting from Winnipeg a few days ago...but then they disappeared again...sorry... all my fault...came down with a fever or something while still in the Netherlands (must have been the weather)...and therefore could not write a proper introduction for these two wonderful ladies... Julie & Kathryn...their blog is PerfectBound...I love PerfectBound... always beautifully styled, sleek and very clean... a feast for the eyes and great fun to read too... their home base is Winnipeg in Canada...and by the way... I am back in KL... touched down yesterday early in the morning... feeling a bit better... still on anti-biotics for a few more days unfortunately...we had a good time in the Netherlands...but it is even better to be back home again... so... everything is back to normal again I guess on Bloesem... very much looking forward to catching up with all of you and this week we can all enjoy geust posts from Denmark, San Francisco, Germany and Amsterdam...

PerfectBound reporting from Winnipeg.."Something Special in Our City: Hoopers Bazaar
Hoopers Bazaar is one of our favourite shops in Winnipeg. It is filled with retro fashions and home furnishings from the 50's, 60's and 70's. On any given day you are bound to find lovely danish decor and vintage accessories. The owners have done such a great job creating fun vignettes throughout the store, it makes you want to take every piece home!
We are lucky to have a shop like this here in Winnipeg. It seems that many open but few survive for very long. Recently moving to a new location in what's known as the Exchange District, Hoopers is surrounded by lots of great clothing boutiques and cafes. It is located in a corner suite of a heritage building, which adds to its
Whenever we visit, there are always great new additions to the shop, which makes it fun to keep going back. Not only are there amazing home furnishings, but also a wide selection of retro inspired clothing. So if you are ever in Winnipeg, we highly recommend you stop in at Hoopers. We bet you'll find something you just can't live without!"

* * * Perfectbound
* * * contact Julie & Kathryn

{originally posted in May 2008}

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Julia reporting from Queenstown, NZ


Bloesem's World Tour is continuing today from a far far away continent ...at least that is how it feels for me...recenlty I have met some terrific new friends form NZ in Kuala Lumpur and online...like Julia Atkinson from Studio Home, a youthful, creative, boutique agency for interior design...not long ago she also started her design blog to share her ultimate passion of hunting out wicked, creative talent in Australia and NZ. Julia lives in Queenstown and today she is going to tell us a little tour of her...a favorite place in Queenstown... VESTA, a store and espressoshop...

I live in Queenstown, in the South Island of New Zealand. If you have ever heard of NZ or visited, the chances are pretty strong that you have heard of my beautiful southern town. Queenstown is nestled between jagged peaks and a very cold, very deep Lake Wakatipu. While its “public” face is one of action central, adrenaline junkie’s paradise and bungy jumping’s birth place…Queenstown also boasts some fantastic modern alpine architecture and an emerging design scene. With this in mind I decided to take you all on a photo tour of the gorgeous, eclectic New Zealand design store of Vesta. (unfortunately no website yet...)


Vestas home is a landmark in its own right. The cottage was built in 1864 and is Queenstown’s oldest standing building. Owner Kim Turner and her daughter Alex have remained respectful of the original features and made use of the peeling walls and worn wooden floors to offset the clean, modern design that they feature. All the original small room have been retained and are regularly “dressed” to almost resemble a set or gallery. Vesta stocks jewellery, clothing, beauty products, art, furniture, home wares and fantastic paninis and coffee. The café exists between all the goodies and has a very firm and loyal following of locals who clamber to be the special customers allowed to sip their tea in the rambling glasshouse outside.
I love Vesta for its carefully selected range and Kim’s ability to resist turning the space into a slick, white, vinyl squabbed destination store. Come to Queenstown and I’ll meet you at Vesta for a coffee.



* * *Studio Home website
* * *Studio Home Blog

{originally posted in May 2008}

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Laural and Jen reporting from Toronto


Toronto is a city of many neighbourhoods, and it is fascinating to watch them change over time. Despite being linked to the ultra-arty-trendy West Queen West strip, until recently Ossignton Avenue between Queen and Dundas was lined with booze cans and long-dead storefronts. While the area retains some of its original flavour with Vietnamese Karaoke bars and Portuguese Bakeries still intact, there are more than a few gems to be found by visitors interested in art, fashion, and vintage.


Since it is more than likely that you will be coming from a Queen Street stroll, we will start from there. On your first stop north of Queen Street pop into shop & gallery C1 art space (44 Ossington) to peruse art and craft objects handmade by local designers. Residents or longer term visitors can also pick up cool art skills here such as ceramic silkscreening. Next, cross the street for upscale vintage treats at I miss you (63 Ossington), which carries a carefully curated and impeccably restored collection of frocks and accessories.

Having your design-buds stimulated will make you hungry for more and Ministry of the Interior (80 Ossington) will deliver. A former auto body shop painted bright yellow & charcoal, this design shop and gallery stocks cutting-edge conversation pieces from around the globe. Find furniture, wallpaper & home accessories from designers such as Dwell, Marimekko, and fun NYC design collective Areaware.


For those with vintage tastes that tend towards fringed leather cowboy boots, sequins and shoulder pads, (or flannel & tees for the gents) stroll along to Badlands Vintage (104 Ossington). Then, stop to smell the roses at Jaiden's Petals (130 Ossington) and enjoy the vintage botanical books and Mason jars and recycled bottles filled with simple blooms. As you walk by, just try to resist the pull of Virginia Johnson's vibrantly simple textiles & clothing at her mothership store (132 Ossington).

You can settle down your senses next door with Cindyloowho's serene collection of flea market chic antiques and custom-made rich reclaimed-wood furniture (130 Ossington).

Get your final vintage fix at Vintage Mix 1 (186 Ossignton), stocked full with an evolving stock of vintage suitcases, shoes & accessories from the 70s & 80s, and men and women's clothes from the 60s-80s.

By now you'll be ready for a rest, and handy for you the retro-cozy & no-fuss bar Communist's Daughter is located just around the corner at 1149 Dundas Street West (no sign). Pop a loonie in the jukebox, order yourself a pint, and chow down on some gourmet pickled eggs while admiring your newly acquired goodies. (For those with a taste for the refined there are plenty of stylish bars & restaurants along this strip as well!).

* * *Laural's beautiful shop GoodEgg Industries
* * *Laural's blog Thimble
* * *Jen's blog Toronto Craft Alert

{originally posted in May 2008}

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Lucy reporting from Melbourne...


Thank you Lucy for writing the great story about your favorite must-see spots in Melbourne area...

"Melbourne’s Central Business District (CBD) has long been intertwined with narrow lanes and alleyways, largely used as service lanes for the larger buildings and businesses on the main streets.  For a long time, shops and businesses paid premium rent for frontage on these main streets, and the dusty back alleys were largely forgotten.

In recent years, as rent has crept up higher and higher on the main thoroughfares, Melbourne’s laneways have undergone a renaissance. These days, the laneways are full to the brim of smaller, eclectic shops, cafes, and bars.  In fact, the most popular new bars and cafes increasingly position themselves hidden down cobbled streets barely wide enough for a bicycle (let alone a vehicle!), either up or down a dark flight of stairs, and often behind an unmarked door… it appears the more ‘hidden’ the establishment, the more in demand it will be!

{Laneways - Block Place}
Adjoining The Block Arcade is a very cute narrow laneway called Block Place, dotted with lovely little cafes… Café Segovia (at 33 Block Place) is a perfect lunch spot.
Melbourne’s laneways are now prized position for many independent retailers, cashing in on the increase in foot traffic along these once-forgotten back streets.   For anyone visiting Melbourne, I highly recommend a stroll through these laneways…  They give the city so much unique character, and offer an amazing variety of window-shopping and people watching!

***The Block Arcade 

{Douglas and Hope}

{Douglas and Hope quilt, image by Cathy Hope}
Positioned off the main drag of classy Collins St, The Block Arcade incorporates a grand, high-ceiling interior with a select smattering of gorgeous shops including my favourite – Douglas and Hope, which is an Australian company who design and make unique patchwork quilts and cushions using a combination of vintage fabrics, Japanese silks and reproduction prints.  They also sell a beautiful selection of women’s fashions, accessories and homewares.

***Flinders Lane

{Journal Café}
Flinders Lane is home to some beautiful older buildings, including the stunning art deco Nicholas Building (corner of Swanston st and Flinders Lane).  The Nicholas Building is one of the few buildings in the CBD which is still leased out relatively inexpensively as artists studios.
One of the best spots in Flinders Lane is Journal – probably my favourite cafe in the City.  It’s located in the same building as the CAE (Centre for  Adult Education, where you can sign up for short courses in anything from screenprinting to breakdancing), and the City Library.  Journal has lovely food, a great atmosphere, and a really cool interior fit-out .

***Centre Place

{Centre Place}
Centre Place is another very pretty (and very narrow!) laneway adjoining Flinders Lane.  It’s jam-packed with every kind of lunchspot you can imagine (ie Italian, Japanese, Juice bar, Soup bar etc).  Some of Melbourne’s best street art and stencil graffitti grace the walls of this extremely popular little laneway.
Centre place is also home to The Majorca Building (corner Flinders Lane and Centre Place), which is another beautiful art deco building. It’s largely residential, but ALSO tourists can rent an apartment in the Majorca Building for quite reasonable rates – info and lots of lovely photos here:

***Degraves st

{Little Cupcakes}

{Little Cupcakes}
Degraves st is home to even more great snack spots! (Feeling hungry yet?)  The absolute best for lunch or coffee is Degraves Espresso (at 21 Degraves st), no question.  Also, Little Cupcakes (shop 7, 250 Flinders st - is a relatively new addition to this lively little strip, where you can select the tiniest, prettiest cupcakes to snack on. 

***Hosier Lane
{Movida Bar de Tapas Y Vino}
This cobbled laneway leads from Flinders Lane down towards the City’s main meeting point – Federation Square .  The best spot in this little alley is Movida, at number 1 Hosier Lane. Melbourne’s longest-standing and ever-popular tapas restaurant.  (Make a booking – or try your luck for a spot at the bar).  The food is sensational, and the atmosphere truly international(!).

{Hosier Lane grafitti}
Hosier Lane is home to more of Melbourne’s famed street art/grafitti, and is also one of the sites for City Lights (the other site being Centre Place – mentioned earlier).  City Lights is an ongoing project where lightboxes installed along the laneway wall illuminate artworks by local and international artists.

Thank you...Lucy Feagins form the Design Files...

{originally posted on May 9, 2008}

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