#1892| Arbutus x Jemma

I’ve never been much of a watch person since young – timepieces to me were decorative at best, I had an assortment of cheap cat-faced and sparkly ones that I kept losing, and I viewed them more as chunky bracelets than time telling instruments. It truly is a sign of coming of age then, that I’ve grown into loving them so much that I never leave my house without one resting on my wrist. Proper timepieces – not the playthings I had as a child – aren’t just fashion accessories, they’re classic statements that grow with you and that you can keep for years to come.


Photo: Cepheus Chan

You know that scene in Mean Girls where all the Plastics are comparing their nails and hair in Regina George’s place and it’s a whole new world for Cady? That’s how I felt when I first started wearing watches. I used to think there was just Watch, and No Watch. Nein. Apparently there’s a whole world of watches out there to suit every occasion and outfit – and once you start there’s no going back. I now have a casual Swatch (bought in Germany, featured here), a classic brown leather strapped DW, a gorgeous navy thin leather strapped Guy Laroche number, and I’ve recently added the most gorgeous mechanical rose gold piece from Arbutus New York to my growing collection. I’ve quickly come to realize that I have a thing for masculine watches, having selected two watches from male lines of other brands before, but also for those with a softer tinge, often meaning something with a rose gold element.


Photo: Cepheus Chan

I’ve taken to thinking of my Arbutus as my first real “grown up” watch. The reason why is straightforward – it’s incredibly old school and proper, like something a dignified British man would consult while drinking tea and pouring over his map of the world. The Arbutus is an exquisite, fully mechanical watch with a deployment clasp over the typical watch buckle, meaning that it doesn’t run the risk of wear and tear at the point where you pull normal watch straps back while wearing them. You have to wind it a little every day to set it, or if you don’t wear it for awhile – see what I mean about it being so old school? – because the mainspring is wound automatically as a result of the natural motion of the wearer’s arm. This may seem like additional hassle at first if you’re not the type to keep to one watch every day, but the action of winding it first thing each morning really frames your mindset with some semblance of order and routine. Besides, there’s a whole different class of people who enjoy timepieces that offer self-winding, automatic movements, chronographs, and moon phases – it really is a purist, as far as watches go.


Photo: Cinch

If there’s one thing I’ve learnt about watches though, it’s that guys tend to love them a whole lot more than we girls do – something to do with their limited choices when it comes to accessorizing, perhaps. I took the Christmas season as a chance to gift both my boyfriend Shane and good friend Marcus with Arbutus New York watches in two of my favorite designs which I thought would remain classic timepieces that matured with them and remain suitable for wear till they were old and grey – the AR713RWF (Classic Roman Calendar) and the AR715RWF (Classic Ceramic Series).

marcus arbutus

Photo: Drea

Aren’t they gorgeous? I think so. I myself am wearing one of the Classic Ceramic series watches and I love how classic and serious they look! Here’s a watch that says I mean Business, and my Business is looking good. Yes, thank you.

ceremic arbutus

Photo: My Dad! Heh.

If you want to get your own Arbutus timepiece, here’s a sweet 20% off all Arbutus Timepieces if you quote “Arbutus with Jemimah” at CK Tangs Orchard, CK Tangs Vivo, Robinsons the Heeren, and OG Orchard Point from now till the year end. My personal favorites are the Classic Roman Calendar series, which feature a bevy of really smooth features, like the displaying the phases of the moon – but they’re really popular, so let me know if you managed to get your hands on one!

Festive greetings, everyone x


#1891| Keeping with the Kiwis


imagesArrowtown, New Zealand.

Hello from New Zealand, land of Kiwis, Penguins, and my childhood. As anyone following my instagram feed would know, I’ve been bombarded with the most amazing of sights over the past few days – it’s been so long since I’ve been back here, and so many of these things are new to me. This.. fresh excitement, it is great. What is not so great, is the sandfly bites that have plagued me since I decided to fight a losing battle against them for the sake of my golden light shots, a testament to my commitment to instagram. But that’s a story for another day. For now, just know that I will be continually sacrificing my ankles for beautiful photographs, and that I’m incredibly excited to be back in New Zealand, where summer means seven degrees and seabreeze, not humidity and a depressingly eternal search for air conditioning.


#1890| Instagram for the Eyes.


Sunglasses: Tens, The Classic.

“Tens enhance your field of view to the extent that a clunky device never could. In a sense, they’re Instagram to the second power”

There are very few frames that actually suit all face shapes, and the classic wayfarers have always been a hot favorite of mine, no matter how many other styles I dabble in. (You can watch my Guide to Choosing Shades episode here to see what I mean.) On my recent trip to Krabi this trusty pair of wayfarers I’ve been carrying for the last three to four months were permanently perched on my face, and I love them so much it’s really a pity I only found them after filming that guide or I could have featured them too! Nevertheless, it’s never too late to drop a new recommendation, especially with Christmas gift giving season coming up..


For someone like me who lives for instagram, nothing is clearer than the fact that things just look better with a filter. They just do. I don’t upload anything without putting it through at least two rounds of editing and filtering, and so many times I’ve wished that I could actually filter real life as well. When I got the Classic Tens wayfarers tagged with their catchphrase card: The Real Life Photo Filter, I thought to myself – sure, that’s likely, and went on using it just as just a normal pair of sunnies.


I was wrong. I’d initially thought to use the shades purely because I liked the way they looked – matte surface, flattering frame shape, what’s not to like? – but the more I used it the more I realized there was something to that catchphrase of theirs. While typical sunglasses work by blocking out light, desaturating your line of vision, Tens works with the sunlight to add warmth and an uplifting tint to everything you see without compromising on full UV400 protection. If you think it’s just an advertising gimmick, think again – it started as an indiegogo project in mid 2014 and over 10,000 people worldwide have backed it, turning it into one of indiegogo’s most successful projects.. ever.


They don’t just work as any instagram filter – they work as a very specific one, one reminiscent of polaroid pictures and the 1950s. If I had to approximate a guess, I’d say it comes the closest to the original Instagram Valencia filter; they drench the visible world in the same old school warm vibe. I adore that they look good both on and off your face – the world needs more pretty and functional things around.


Traipsing around Haji Lane and stumbling upon the delightful Wonderland Cafe

I’ve been carrying them around in my bag wherever I go, which makes perfect sense in sunny Singapore. I don’t think I’ve actually stuck to one pair of sunnies so faithfully for such a long period of time before – but these may be the proverbial One. After all, wearable instagram filters and an insta-die hard like me? It’s a match made in heaven.


Perfection? I think so.

We’ve upped the attractiveness of the world around us.. all we need now is for someone to invent something that makes us look as good to everyone else as they look to us with our Tens on. You can’t do anything about that yet, but what you can do is give your world a little bit of a pick me up with these babies – they’re available exclusively online at the Tens.Asia site. You can also watch the Tens video here, which honestly resembles an arthouse film or something out of The Secret Life of Walter Mitty more than it does a product promo video. Good one, that.


Tens “The Compact” in Tortoiseshell.

Thank you for sending these over, Tens Asia! I’ve just gotten my paws on a pair of their new Tortoiseshell frames from the Tens “The Compact” ladies line, and I’ll be hardcore filtering my New Zealand road trip with both these babies, so head over to instagram for more updates and to follow our journey through one of the most scenic countries on earth. x


#1899| Wanderlust: Riomaggiore & Corneglia


imagesRiomaggiore, Cinque Terre, Italy.

Buongiorno, Principessa! Just before embarking on my two week tour of Italy in July/August, I had a late night movie session watching La Vita e Bella for the first time. It was really just a heartbreaker disguised by cheerful italian music and mustaches, which also could apply to most of Italy if you think about it – it breaks your heart to leave and ruins all other places for you for life. What can I say? I’m an Italy kinda girl. This is the second of my three part post on the wonder that is Cinque Terre, you can read my first lengthy exposition on my favorite of the five towns here. While nothing can really top Manarola for me, Riomaggiore was a pretty close second, if only for the money shot featured right above.

The thing about Cinque Terre is, each of the five towns are pretty small. If you’re a checklist kinda traveller, you can easily cover a town in an hour – but as we established in the first Cinque Terre post, covering is not what we’re going for. Relax. Pop a glass of wine. Take your time. Gander. It’s not everyday you find yourself in what could possibly be the most romantic region on earth.


Each town has a distinctly different vibe. Riomaggiore is a hot favorite for many travelers, and the first of the five towns on the Spezia train. The one thing you should do in Riomaggiore is pop by any store and get their famous seafood buckets. Those anchovies are to die for. Being the suckers that we are, we went straight for the most colorful flytrap of them all, this Mama Mia themed one along the main street. (You’ll soon find that nearly everything is along the main street in all these towns.)


It’s a town that knows it’s a tourist trap and just works it..

Allow me a moment to digress a little. Cinque Terre is notoriously hard to get to, despite it looking rather straightforward on the map. Most of Italy does, actually, require either extensive googling or an Italian best friend. It’s one of those countries that can’t really be bothered with keeping information updated online. It thus follows that because sharing is caring, I should probably detail how exactly I got there:

Getting there

The easiest way to get to Cinque Terre is by train. If you’re coming from another part of Italy, take the train to La Spezia, which we can think of as the mainland. From there, you can either rent an apartment in La Spezia and travel in to the five towns everyday, or rent an apartment in one of the five towns and start from there. I suggest you rent one in Manarola, like i did.

From La Spezia, there is a train that runs across the five towns every hour or so. This is called the treno regionale, and you probably should get a Cinque Terre Train Card that allows you unlimited train rides for a few days.


You can try skipping the fare, but if you get caught the fine is pretty huge, and they do check pretty regularly. I’ve seen people get caught myself, and because they’re a tourist town they’re used to people trying to be cheap and skimp on fares so dont expect the usual level of wheedling to work here.

The Cinque Terre Card and the Cinque Terre Train Card are different. The Card allows you access to hiking paths only so you’re gonna have to trek your way between towns. It’s a lot cheaper but that’s because hiking is tiring, and sucks. The Cinque Terre Train Card allows you access to hiking trails, as well as to get on the trains between towns. Trains run every hour or so and take about five minutes from one town to the next. Hiking from one town to the next takes 2-3 hours. You make your own decision..

You can buy this card from the tourist shop right in the La Spezia train station. Both cards give you access to the park buses that run in certain towns (very useful in Corneglia!) and very slow wifi at the train stations in each town.

You can find the specific train timetable here, accurate as of December 2014. Please study it properly before you get on a train because it’s very easy to get on the wrong train – if you miss it or take it in the wrong direction it’s a good hour’s wait till the next, which is bad, but not as bad as if you miss it at the last stop, because that just brings you to a whole different part of Italy and good luck finding your way back.


imagesCorneglia, Cinque Terre, Italy.

With that, we found ourselves heading to Corneglia. If Manarola is the cool kid and Riomaggiore is the popular one, Corneglia is the beautiful older sister everyone wants to impress. It’s the only one of the five towns which isn’t sea locked – it’s actually located on the top of a cliff and doesn’t melt down into the waters. Everyone spoke of it’s beauty, which was apparent, but I felt like it had less character than the previous two towns. Still, it was lovely:


My first time seeing kids actually setting up a drink stand to earn pocket money! I didn’t like mango juice but I bought some anyway because they were so adorable.


You have to take an uphill bus to the main town itself, and once you’re there you’re free to wander around till the hour comes round and the bus appears to take you back to the train station. I think I would have enjoyed it more later in the year – most of our time there was spent trekking up endless stairs in the hot sun for a killer view of the sea. Killer because it takes your breath away, both literally and metaphorically. I wanted to say If I wanted to see the sea I’d have gone to a beach but everyone was so busy oohing and aahing I didn’t want to seem like too much of a killjoy.


Thank God for free potable water at every corner and an abundance of tripadvisor certified ice cream stores! Seriously, all the ice cream stores have won some award or other, so don’t bother being too fussed about hunting down the best gelato in Corneglia. They’re all good.

The hour was up before we knew it. I didn’t feel too sorry to leave – beautiful as it was, there was nothing that made it distinctly Cinque Terre as opposed to being just another beautiful town in Italy, you know? Still, it made for gorgeous pictures – too many, to condense into just one post. Next up: Cinque Terre Part III – Vernazza and Monterosso.

Till then!


#1898| An Open Letter to Starbucks: The Best Marketing Plan Ever


Dear Starbucks,

I am honestly surprised no one has proposed this sooner. It first came up when I was discussing pop culture with the boyfriend, and then again when a girlfriend and I were tearing through OK! Magazine complaining about how bratty teen stars can be these days. I don’t see much point in beating about the bush so here it is; my brilliant marketing plan:

Starbucks should change all their signs to reflect Arianas instead of Grandes for a day.

It could be part of a Christmas cheer prank or an April fool’s joke. All the signs and flyers would magically reflect Arianas instead of Grandes. A top secret memo would be passed down to all Starbucks employees to, just for that one day, ask their customers if they wanted their Java Chip Frappocino in Tall, Ariana, or Venti.

It would be AMAZING. Sales would SHOOT through the roof that day, because #FOMO – even people who don’t actually like Ariana Grande would order a drink just so they could lay claim to being part of the century’s biggest corporate multinational prank. Thrilled teenagers would tweet and instagram their Arianas all over the world, spreading the news faster than that virus it’s still too soon to joke about. Situations like these would occur:

Teenager: “Could I have a non-fat extra shot Ariana to go please.”
Barista: “Dahling, all our Arianas are non-fat.”


Every hormone riddled guy in the world: “Could I get a vanilla Ariana with hee hee hee whipped cream on top?”
Barista: “You’re the fifty third person to crack that joke today.”

It would be comedy gold.

The best part is, Ariana wouldn’t actually be able to sue Starbucks, because it would obviously be a universally adored campaign and she wouldn’t want to be seen as the Grinch who stole Christmas now, would she? Actually, don’t answer that. I don’t know what the new gen celebs get pissy over these days.

Dear Starbucks, if you actually pick up my idea and implement this campaign, please also pay off my student loans with the incredible profits that would inevitably come with exploiting rich celebrities for economic gain. And also hire me as a consultant regarding future marketing campaigns so we can high five over not-so-inside jokes like this.

Thank you.