. 16 May 2018 .

Here is some mid-week inspiration for you all in the form of my Apartment Spaces series.

I always come across great styling in small spaces that strike the right balance between clean minimalism, space and cosiness. I thought I would start this series to share with you all the spaces that I get inspired by. More often than not, I am more inspired by small apartments and studios more than large villas and mansions. As I don't have a family and I enjoy my own company, I love the idea of a small cosy space that showcases individual style upon walking into the room.

Love the combination of earthy colours, plants and rattan against the clean walls and floorboard.

via Alvhem
Sydney, Australia

. 5 May 2018 .

I love reading. As a child, I always had a book glued to my hand (including, unhealthily, during dinner time). My love for reading petered out during university, as my degrees involved heavy academic reading (bleurgh). But now that I am working, I have turned back to reading as a source of comfort during my downtime. I even registered for a library card recently so I could stop buying books faster than the rate that I could read them (anyone else guilty of this?)! 

I've always wanted to be in a bookclub, so I thought I'd start a new series on C/M called The Reading List. The series won't be restricted to only fiction or non-fiction, but will include coffee table books, magazines, websites, blogs and even podcasts.

First up, Magazine B.

I've seen Magazine B around in a few bespoke bookstores and magazine stores before, but it wasn't until my trip to Hong Kong at the start of this year did I pick up two of their magazines featuring a couple of my favourite brands: Airbnb and Muji. 

Magazine B is a monthly publication (and as a bonus, has no ads) that labels itself as a brand documentary magazine. Every month, the Magazine B team dedicates an entire issue to investigating one brand - its stories, growth, marketing and impact that it has on its customers. The magazine is packed with independent insight, analysis, commentary and stories, displayed together with well-designed imagery and photography. 

As someone who is fascinated by the idea of branding, I think Magazine B strikes a great balance between independent brand promotion and investigative documentary. Picking two brands that I personally know, love and use, it was fascinating to read about the strategies behind the brands to grow and evolve their markets, yet at the same time be absorbed in the brands themselves. In the Airbnb issue, for example, Magazine B compares hotels and Airbnbs in imagery and interviews, articulating why more and more young people are choosing to live the Airbnb experience rather than book a hotel room - something that I can relate to as I find myself going to the Airbnb website as my first option whenever I have to find accommodation. The magazine explores how Airbnb has grown its brand so that, in the mind of the consumer, it becomes inexplicably tied to a local's experience (something that hotels can't offer!)

I love that Magazine B is edited and published in Korea (the magazine is published in both Korean and English). The magazine is bespoke, carefully curated and filled with quality content. Because there is no ad content, every page feels like it is contributing to the brand documentary. I also love the feel of the slightly thick matte cover and paperstock which makes you forget that you are reading a magazine and more a quality book. 

I am keen to purchase more of their issues (check out the rest here), particularly powerhouses like Ikea and Pantone, but also fashion and beauty brands like Acne Studios, Aesop and Nars. I also would love to read about issues that they have done on cities like Seoul and Berlin - what a unique perspective to see how a city has shaped itself as a brand! 

Be right back while I load up my shopping cart (so much for that library card).

Check out Magazine B here and find your nearest stockist here.

If you have any book/magazine/web/podcast recommendations, please share in the comments below!
Balmoral Beach, Sydney

. 25 April 2018 .

Sunday 26 March 2017, 6.30pm 

A spontaneous 20-minute drive to Balmoral Beach to catch the sunset, after over eight months of travelling overseas and not being by the Aussie water. 

By 7.30pm, back at home and meal-prepping for the week ahead.

I would say that the turning point of my life (well, the first one) occurred sometime between 2015 and 2016. 

Prior to 2015, I went through days and months where I felt deeply unhappy about myself, my life and everything around me. There were days when I would remain completely sedentary, lying in bed, doing nothing. I had decided to take some time off university because I constantly felt stressed about studying, and socialising with my classmates felt like a chore. It felt like a stupid lazy move at the time. By that point, a few of my friends had already started working full-time...why would I want to extend my degree by another half a year? I was already behind.

Guess what, taking a gap year during university (I ended up deferring for another semester) was the best thing that I've ever done for myself. 
For the first time in my life, I focused on myself. Not in a selfish way. I listened to what I wanted, I learnt not to judge myself, I didn't tell myself off when things didn't go to plan. I took risks with friendships and my career, I travelled by myself for the first time. I moved out. I learnt to be single and to stop feeling sorry for myself. 

I never used to be spontaneous or go out by myself. But look at all the sunsets that I miss out on, just 20 minutes away from my doorstep, when I didn't take care of myself nor focus on growing myself!

So, I want to introduce the Power Series - a series reflecting on the power of designing our thoughts, actions and behaviour to live the 'best version of yourself'. 

I am by no means perfect. Soooo so far from it. Everyday I am still learning about myself and what I can do to live a happier, more fulfilling life. But through the C/M space, I would love to share with you guys (and also remind myself when the going gets tough) about what I've learnt so far through travelling, reading and looking after yourself.

What gives you power? Where does your power come from? I would love to know if there are any topics that you would like me to discuss in this series - leave me a message below!

Bath, UK

. 7 April 2018 .
I am excited to finally present another city guide on this blog (see other city guides here and here). Over a year has passed since I spent 6 months abroad in Europe. I was trying to cram in as much of Europe as I could before I had to leave, as I knew it would be a while before I could return again. Bath, UK was the very last city trip that I took before I headed back to Sydney.

I found Bath to be an easy, effortless trip from London. I spent a great day wandering around the town by myself, ticking off the major sights but also popping into shops for some last minute shopping. Even though I was alone, the day passed happily and quickly.

Main language spoken English / Currency British pounds / Best explored on foot

How to get there

Bath is located in southwest England, about an hour and a half train ride away from London. If you are travelling from London, the train is by far the quickest and easiest way of travelling to Bath. I caught the Great Western Railway and booked a ticket in advance via trainline. The return journey cost me 54 pounds (with a 16-25 Railcard).

You can also travel to Bath by bus - this is a much cheaper option but the journey will take twice as long. I also considered joining a sightseeing tour that combines Stonehenge with Bath, as Stonehenge is located only about an hour's drive away, but I was a bit over sightseeing and preferred to explore at my own leisurely pace.

How long to spend there

Because Bath is not a big town, I only spent the day there and was back in London at night to catch a last minute booking to Aladdin the musical. Leaving London at 10 am, I spent about 5 hours in Bath but didn't feel rushed.

Planning ahead

As this trip was a relatively spontaneous decision near the end of my time in Europe, I didn't do much planning before the day. I booked my train ticket online last minute (I prefer buying online than buying at the station on the day of). I had previously read about Bath in the Cereal online guides, however I did not prebook any tickets to any attractions nor carry out any further research. Bath is an easy town to wander around and explore.

After a quick breakfast and heading for the 10am train, the first thing I attended to in Bath was obviously to try out its coffee. Recommended by the Cereal Guide, I visited Colona & Small’s Speciality Coffee and took a corner seat to people watch while I sipped on a hot flat white.

The Roman Baths

Despite not wanting to do much sightseeing, I still wanted to tick off the world heritage site, the Roman Baths, off my bucket list. As I visited Bath on a weekday, I was able to buy a ticket to the Roman Baths (around 15 pounds) without having to queue up. The ticket comes with a free audioguide which was great for learning about the ancient thermal springs (that still flow with natural hot water today). My tip for visiting galleries and museums like these is to always get the audioguide. It truly enhances the experience when you get a better understanding of what you’re seeing.

Abbey Church Yard, Bath BA1 1LZ

The Bath Abbey is also located right next to the Roman Baths (although I didn't go inside to have a look).

Pulteney Bridge

I was extremely excited to visit Pulteney Bridge and the River Avon, as it was the filming location for Les Miserables when Javert falls into the Seine (#nerdalert). I decided to buy a takeaway salad and had lunch whilst sitting on a bench overlooking the River.

Along Pulteney Bridge is a row of shops and cafes (it reminded me of the Ponte Vecchio in Florence). One of them was a concept store called Found. I really enjoyed the shops in Bath, as many of them were homeware and concept stores such as Graham & Green and the more commercial but beautiful Anthropologie.

Bridge Street, Bath BA2 4AT

Enjoying my lunch next to the River Avon.

The main reason why I wanted to visit Bath was to admire the Georgian architecture. It’s so...English! In particular, I visited the Royal Crescent and the Circus (which are located near each other), both historical streets designed by prominent architect John Wood.

At one point I decided to walk down a private driveway and was greeted by this amazing view.

Walking back to the centre of Bath, I also visited the shops in and around the Corridor.

Hope you enjoyed this guide! Click here to read more travel posts.
Bondi Beach NSW

. 22 August 2017 .
I've been very interested in the concept of mindful living in the past year and a recent visit to Australia's most popular beach served as yet another little reminder to keep my eyes and my mind opened to what is around me.

When my good friend visited Sydney for the first time last month, I became tour guide and set about creating an itinerary for her. Despite wanting to avoid the tourist cliches, we ended up at Bondi Beach  on a wintery Sunday morning. Even though I would normally be deterred by the expensive metered parking and hordes of tourists, I forgot all about it the second my feet hit the soft powdery sand.

So I thought I would share with you four mindful ways I like to enjoy Australia's most popular beach:

1. Do the Bondi to Coogee Walk

Or opt for the shorter Bondi to Bronte walk.

Almost as well loved as Bondi Beach itself is the coastal walk from Bondi to Bronte to Coogee. Yes, this boardwalk trail guides you along some of Sydney's most famous beaches. The walk can get busy with locals, joggers, tourists and doggies during the weekends but the views will nonetheless be spectacular.

2. Get in the Water

I'm not the strongest swimmer nor am I a surfer, but I love being in the ocean. Being by the water resets my mind and I often leave the beach feeling revitalised and grateful. And it would seem like I'm not the only one!

3. Check out the Graffiti Walls

4. Eat Fish & Chips by the Water

Lined along the walls of Bondi Beach are graffiti artworks  by local artists. If you don't want to get your feet in the sand or water (but you totally should), walk along the paved walkway and admire the constantly changing artworks. Some of them really make you stop and think about our city and the world we live in, whilst others make you quietly giggle. 

I love chips. I love water (see above). So why not put them together? Eating fish and chips by the water is one of the most peaceful and satisfying things in the world (as long as you don't have to fight the seagulls). There are some great unassuming fish and chips shops along Campbell Parade (the road that stretches along the beach). 

What are some of your favourite local spots for rejuvenating yourself?

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