#2083 | #LADiaries Airbnb Walks – The Last Bookstore

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Los Angeles, America

Dusky evenings in downtown LA. I try to make it a point to visit a bookstore in every city I go to – part because of my love for reading, part because I truly believe that bookstores form such core part of our culture’s heart. My favourite bookstores, thus, are scattered around the globe: Three Lives and Company in New York, Liberia in London, Topping & Company Booksellers in Bath… and now added to the list, The Last Bookstore in Downtown LA, stop number three on the Old Bank District: The Historic Core Airbnb Audio Guide.

How do you not immediately want to run into this bookstore the minute you see it? What a name – compelling, challenging. And yet, not easy to stumble upon – perhaps because it being my first time in LA, I didn’t know my way around and thus wouldnt have walked past this street without being specifically guided there. Last week, a reader wrote to me and detailed the number of places she had been, following my travel guides on this blog. When I plan for my travels, there are also some travel forums, blogs and video channels I go to as an automatic resource. The point is – travel guides and online repositories of content still play a big part in the process of discovery and trip planning, and the newest entry into the fray is Airbnb with their launch of local guides and audio walks. When it was announced at Airbnb Open, I wondered how something that made so much sense was launching only now. But that’s part of the beauty of Airbnb, I think, and all industry innovators and disruptors – always changing things up and coming up with new ways of experiencing that you never knew you needed till now.

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The Airbnb Audio Walks are part of a collaboration with Detour, and you can find them under the Places tab in your Airbnb app. It’s still being rolled out in different countries, but for now its mainly in the USA. Essentially, it’s a free bonus you get with the Airbnb app which is GPS tagged so it brings you through “walks” in different neighbourhoods and cities. Sounds perfect for solo travellers – but it’s actually geared towards groups too, because you can sync your tours with your friends and all do the walk together. This is so great because it’s like a free walking tour but pegged to your own convenience – and made better only by the fact that the tours themselves are freaking ace. This particular one that features The Last Bookstore actually has different locals bring you through the walk in the audio guide – and one of the is the owner of the freakin bookstore, Josh Spencer. So yes – not a bad way to spend an afternoon, especially if there’s an Airbnb audio guide available in the city you’re visiting.

And so, into the bookstore we go..

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I have to say, being on a press trip, I didn;t have huge blocks of free time to wind around the city. My free time was mostly spontaneous, and in short bursts, and it was in that way that Los Angeles and I got acquainted. It wasn’t half bad – in fact, I’d like to think that I made quite good use of my time there, thoroughly filling my days with things and experiences and also leaving just enough to know that I’d be back. I thought to myself that I’d just pop in and spend an hour in the bookstore (after all, I wasn’t about to sit and read a book – just take a look, perhaps buy a book, and ask for recommendations) and then head out and check out other things within the city. But of course this was wishful thinking. Once I stepped in, the next time I saw the sky again it was dark, and dinnertime, and I was forced out by the alert on my phone that my next scheduled itinerary event was happening. And so that is a roundabout way of saying that yes, I loved it, and yes, you should definitely check it out if you’re in LA!

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The bookstore is a secondhand and new bookstore, and consists two floors and a ton of themed rooms. It’s won a lot of praise for its stunning design, and a true bibliophile could honestly spend hours and hours in here!

Some of the themed rooms they have include rooms gravitating around art, rare book rooms, $1 book areas, children books, so on and so forth. I’m pretty proud to say that I saw our homegrown Singaporean graphic novel, The Art of Charlie Chan Hock Chye, on the shelves in the Graphic novels and Photobooks room. It’s a little overwhelming when you first go in because it’s impossible to know where to start, but what I did was go straight to the second floor where the book labyrinth was, and then work my way down from there

The walk up:

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The flying books are my favourite, they remind me of Harry Potter!

These book themed installations are done in collaboration with various artists in LA, and David Lovejoy is featured very prominently. I deadass got the scare of my life when I turned the corner in the stairwell and bumped into that android human book thing. Jeez. America.

There are corridors which imitate art galleries along the second floor, and I spent a happy twenty minutes or so perusing them. I believe the art gallery Spring Arts is located there, where occasionally artists will come and take residence and interact with customers there – but I didn’t get to see them when I was there. And there’s also this jail cell looking room with the sign EMPLOYEES ONLY which I presume is where the booksellers can go take their break, but I didn’t get a photo of that unfortunately.

The Labyrinth:

I ran to the Labyrinth when I saw it, not even kidding. This is what my dreams are made of!

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Everything on the second floor goes at a dollar each, but the real draw for most people is the way the second floor looks like a portal into a whole different dimension. Again, it’s segregated by genre – the science fiction room is a legitimate VAULT – but the devil is in the details. Everything – from the way the light falls dramatically on certain titles – to the magnifying glass hanging over some books – is planned with the very deliberate care of someone who loves the place. And check out that book loop!

All of them, again, were done either by volunteers within the LA book community, or by local artists. The collaborative effort of this place was touching, but also sobering – in the window, a sign: What are you waiting for? We wont be here forever.

Back down to the first floor:

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The art on the wall is made fully of paperback books!

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There’s a one hour time limit for couches – presumably so you dont fall asleep there. No computer terminals to help you find books either, you just approach the “section care experts”, and they mentally log where you can find what you’re looking for. I ended up buying my first ever copy of Bad Feminist by Roxane Gay which at that time was impossible to find in Singapore (now I have three copies cos I keep giving them away) and A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness which was in the same year made into a movie. Would have gotten more (dollar books!!) but.. luggage space. Anyway. They pack your purchases into a brown paper bag, very old school, and then off you go.

When I stepped out of the store, it was dark. I had overstayed my initial plan – as expected – but I left happier, with two books, and no regrets.

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What a recommendation. I cannot imagine any book lover coming to LA and not visiting the last bookstore. And if you do live in LA – what are you waiting for? They wont be there forever.

The Last Bookstore
453 S Spring St, Los Angeles, CA 90013, USA

You can access Airbnb Audio Walks now via the Airbnb app.
Airbnb.com/jemma for $50 off your first stay x

x
Jem

#2082 | Tales from Tokyo: Harry’s Hedgehog Cafe, Harajuku

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Tokyo, Japan
All pictures are taken on a Nikon D750, lenses – nikon 35 f/1.8 and 85 f/1.8

So I was in Tokyo in April on a work trip for Klook Travel, with my sister along as my photographer/videographer, also her specialisation in university. Her first time in Japan, so the whole trip was a bam bam bam nonstop slew of scheduled eye-opening amazement for her, but not much in the way of blocks of free time. We did have a bout of unscheduled time the morning before we flew out though, and this aspiring filmmaker turned to me with a sort of plea in her eyes, saying that her life’s Dream was to see a hedgehog live. After laughing at her for an hour – I mean, who am I to ask about whether her life dream should be, yknw, succeeding in her film career or anything like that? – we did some googling, made some plans, and rocked up early in the morning at Harry’s Hedgehog Cafe.

I lie. It opens at noon. We rocked up at noon. It just felt early because it had been a long and exhausting(ly fun) trip and we were at the tail end of it. Anyway.

People online often recommend making an advance appointment, but I personally think this isnt necessary if you’re going on a 1. weekday and 2. during non-peak hours. This is because reservations are for minimum an hour, as opposed to half an hour blocks for walk-in, and an hour is a lot of time to be staring at a bunch of spikey hamsters. And, hedgehog cafes are expensive, dude. They’re far more expensive than cat or owl cafes in Japan, going at a rate of about $15 per half hour.

There are two big hedgehog cafes in Tokyo, both under the Harry’s Hedgehog Cafe chain. One is in Roppongi, and I hear that one requires a reservation two or three days in advance! We went to the one in Harajuku, a short walk down from the Meiji-jingu shrine.

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Vending machines for your drinks

Your entry ticket comes with a free drink which you have to redeem yourself from the vending machines at the back of the cafe. Unlike most pet cafes, hedgehog cafes smell pretty normal – I suppose its because hedgehogs themselves dont smell like much. The space was pretty big and clean, but it filled up really quickly so I recommend going once it opens if you dont want to make a reservation!

The staff kind of give you a short briefing about how to hold a hedgehog and what to do, but its nothing too elaborate. There’s the option of buying mealworms to feed them (ugh) which my sister went for because, again, she freaking loves hedgehogs. I do not feel strongly about hedgehogs so when she offered me a worm, thinking she was doing me this huge favour by letting me feed them with the worms she paid for, she was pretty surprised when I gave her an empathetic no thanks.

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There are also gloves lying around which I recommend using because those things are pokey.

This is not my first experience with hedgehogs. I must admit I’ve never been very keen on them because the first time I saw one it was in the basement of a mall in JB, at a shop which sells illegally imported animals including sugar gliders and snakes. Those hedgehogs – kept in a ratchet looking cardboard box – looked weak and kind of sickly to be honest, and I got a bit upset looking at them because they looked like they were about to expire any moment. The second time I saw a hedgehog it was last year in Tokyo, when a little girl was walking hers in the park. That one was significantly more healthy, but it kept running away from her and she was basically scolding it her entire walk. Which was pretty funny to watch, but you know, didn’t really do much for me in terms of endearing me to the hedgehog.

These hedgehogs, the ones at Harry’s, were much easier to be around. They weren’t as irritable, looked like they were reasonably healthy, and if they didn’t want to play with you, they just went to sleep. Simple!

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They also burrow into your boobs because they like to hide. #pervhog

I think because their day job is literally being cute with humans day in day out, they’re not really shy with people either. I held one and it ran up my arm and into my sleeve. I wanted to die. But on the other hand, it didn’t shit on me, which is what it did when my sister picked it up. HA!

The ones at Harry’s come in all shapes and sizes. I’ve only ever seen hedgehogs that are more or less half-palm sized, but there were some pretty colossal ones in Harry’s. Picking them up was like doing a weight lift or something. It was hilarious. Those also sleep a lot, and they’re funny because their limbs are all way disproportionate in relation to their bodies. What are hedgehogs even?!

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This fat hedgehog looked seriously grumpy next to my sister. Seriously my sister is going through that phase of post-teenhood where she’s like perpetually looking uninterested in everything, so I have literally never seen her look this harmless or happy in about eight years. This picture made me laugh so hard you guys!

Our half hour was up relatively quick. The staff keep an eye on everyone who comes in so they’ll let you know when your time is up, and if you stay beyond that they charge you per half hour block. We had a flight to catch so we didn’t stay on, but I do think half hour was a pretty decent amount of time to be spending in there, especially since in quantifiable terms that’s fifty cents a minute.

Thinking about it after leaving, I’m still not sure how I feel about the hedgehog cafe. I suppose it’s the same feeling I have with all animal cafes – it’s not that I’m a huge animals-should-be-wild-and-free activist, hell, I have a pet cat at home. I suppose it’s just that at animal cafes, how manhandled the animals end up really depend on how strict the staff are, and the staff are often caught between doing the right thing and wanting to keep customers happy. The owl cafes i’ve been to in Osaka and Tokyo have been pretty strict about this – the Osaka Owl Cafe i blogged about two years ago would only let you hold an hour under their supervision and for a very short period of time – you’d pretty much have to be content having a coffee in close proximity to some owls and staring at them while you sipped. Cat cafes are similar – you’re only allowed to pet, but never to pick up or carry the cats. This is standard throughout all cat cafes I’ve been to – in Japan, Korea, Singapore.

But I’ve seen pictures on instagram where people manhandle owls for a picture in other owl cafes, and in the hedgehog cafe, I saw a couple of people try to flip the hedgehogs around into a cute position even though the hedgehogs obviously didn’t want to be on their backs. The staff didn’t step in until people started carrying the hedgehogs around – you’re only supposed to hold them above their glass boxes so if you drop them they end up back in their box. Maybe the cafe was too big and they couldn’t really see what you were doing, but hmm.. to be fair, the two girls in charge of that shift also looked like they were pretty shy to me, so perhaps they were part timers and didn’t know how to enforce the rules? In any case, I wouldn’t say that anyone there was causing the hedgehogs any pain, but some tourists were definitely annoying a couple of hedgehogs more than once. So yeah, mixed feelings.

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Anyway, if you want to head there regardless, there’s one branch in Harajuku and one in Roppongi! I’d still say it’s a pretty interesting experience, but also – to be a responsible guest when you’re there, and treat the hedgehogs the way you’d want your own pet to be treated by strangers 🙂

Harry’s Hedgehog Cafe
1-13-21 Jingumae | 4F, Shibuya 150-0001, Tokyo Prefecture
+81 3-3404-1180


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All pictures are taken on a Nikon D750, lenses – nikon 35 f/1.8 and 85 f/1.8

x
Jem

This was part of a Tokyo work trip with Klook – a travel activities booking site

#2081 | REQUIRED VIEWING: Dear White People

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You guys. You guys.

I have been obsessed with two shows this past month, the first of which being the heart wrenching 13 Reasons Why, which I’ll admit, I watched because it was produced by homegirl Selena Gomez, who is my favourite pumpkin-resembling-human. Happily I discovered: I loved it. The show has it’s problematic moments, but it also did certain things really well – normalising the casting of coloured characters, for one. Asian characters aren’t token asians, they’re just asians. Same with brown characters. We could use more normalisation of representation, methinks. The most popular girl in school, Jessica, is a brown girl who remains friends with her rapist after the act, showing us that there is not one right way to react after trauma – her way of coping with the trauma did not invalidate her rape, and that was in itself an incredible milestone for television, which has historically used rape and female trauma as a last ditch ratings-grab (ahemGAMEOFTHRONESahem) or plot device for sensationalism. Ugh. So yes. I’m not saying the show didn’t have its failings, but we do not throw away the baby with the bathwater, as they say. Loved the show.

And two days ago, I started on Dear White People, and it instantly became my favourite show of the YEAR.

From its incisive wit and brilliant cinematography, there’s very little not to love about the show. It just became the first show with all minority cast to hit 100% ratings on Rotten Tomatoes, and while I dont always trust RT, I’m gonna have to agree with them on this one. All characters are multidimensional and real – and social issues that are uncomfortably close to real world ones are brought up and dealt with in a not quite satirical way. The show revolves around black girl Sam White (but not black enough for some of her crew) and her radio show called Dear White People, broadcasted at the fictional Ivy League and predominantly white school Winchester. Within the first five minutes of the show’s opening, we see shit go down as racial tensions come to clash at a college halloween party where students are encouraged to come in their best black costumes – in blackface: niki minaj, beyonce, etcetera. If you hadn’t already realised, this show does not shy away from sticky topics. It’s awesome.

As the show goes on, other characters are introduced and fleshed out, and every single one of them is incredibly compelling to watch. None of them are token characters, and this is refreshing. It is sad that this is refreshing because it shows us just how rare it is that a person of color is not just the sassy best friend but actually the main protagonist who’s life is just as interesting to watch. We can all afford to do better, I think.

What I appreciated most about the show was how damn good it was. Is that too obvious? But it’s true. The show is, at its heart, a damned good show, extremely watchable, addictive, likeable. The entirety of it was so well scripted and intelligent that it said everything I could ever hope to be able to enunciate and allowed me to borrow the perspective of someone other than myself for a hot moment. Despite being clearly a show with a message, that message was never one sided – and the way it navigated the demarcations between stereotype and satire was so elegant it had me blinking in wonder more than once. Difficult questions were asked. Faults were pointed out on all ends. This show is not a blame game – it is a fire starter. And the fire is something we could all use in today’s world to warm us to the sticky things we need to not shy away from.

This is something Netflix has been doing pretty well of late, I think. Combining entertainment and social commentary, to make it more palatable to a wider audience. Jessica Jones was one of my favourite shows on Netflix till Dear White People came out, and I loved how the issue of female trauma was brought up and handled in a non-textbook way. Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, written by everybody’s homegirl Tina Fey, was so satirical that it forced us to relook at modern society with slightly more critical eyes. Orange Is The New Black did a lot in terms of mainstream media representation – though I have to say, they still lock it in on stereotypes quite a fair bit. Luke Cage proved that an all minority cast could carry a show, and do it well. Well, until the totally unbelievable villain Diamondback appeared mid-season. And by refusing to dub Narcos and having half the show in Spanish, subtitled in English, it made a huge statement on the privileging of certain lingual experiences and evened out the playing ground, just that bit.

These issues are not new, they have been debated to hell in academia. God knows how many papers I’ve read and written on gender privilege, on the Othering of experiences, of representation in art. But who reads these papers outside the academic circle? Academics can not just keep talking to academics about these things. It will go nowhere. These papers and debates are very heavy to digest but they are crucial, and they need to evolve and take on different forms across cultures and social groups. Collaborations are what I’m talking about, people. This is one of the big plus points to me of social media and also pop culture, the potential to have a widely varied discussion of these things. In my ideal world there will be a job position in a department called Responsible Television where academics are hired by TV networks and to sit in on roundtable writer meetings to raise valid points of debate that can be woven into pop culture. And aren’t we already moving towards that? Academic and author Roxane Gay was appointed the first black woman to write for Marvel’s World of Wakanda, a comic storyline focusing specifically on black and queer characters. It is a start. So much of pop culture – be it television or literature – has given us material to talk about, has widened the range of acceptability, and has opened our eyes to privilege and thus, empathy. And so much of pop culture has the sheer volume of audience with which to do so.

So.. yeah. This was originally just supposed to be about Dear White People, which I just finished binge-watching yesterday, but I got sidetracked as I often do. The point is, go watch it. It is required viewing. I absolutely cannot wait for Season Two.

x
Jem

#2080 | Tales from Tokyo – BEST DRESSED KIDS OF DISNEYSEA

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DisneySea Tokyo
Tickets booked on Klook – fuss free, no queue, instant confirmation. Occasionally discounted. More here.

Konnichiwa and all that. Hello from DisneySea, the most alternatively happy place on earth (the happiest being disneyland), best theme park in the world, the place where wardrobes are taken seriously and intensely. I suspect this is more a Japan thing than a Disney thing, because the past three times I’ve been to theme parks in Japan (tokyo disneysea, osaka USJ, tokyo disneyland, and this is my fourth time), the cosplaying going on has been a real and legit thing.

Last October, when I was in Tokyo Disneyland with my boyfriend and friends (anniversary trip, how has three years passed us by so quickly?), one thing that quickly stood out to us was the consideration with which each person dressed – disney-bounding with their favourite characters, matching with their friends, so on and so forth. I myself went as Tiger Lily, with my motley cast from Peter Pan (Shane as capt Hook, Martin as the eponymous Peter Pan, Warren as a lost boy). But we had nothing, I tell you, nothing on the kids.

So this trip, here we go. My schizo alter ego as a street/fashion photographer (read: nonexistent) photographed the best dressed kids of DisneySea.


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All pictures are taken on a Nikon D750, lenses – nikon 35 f/1.8 and 85 f/1.8, save for that one iPhone photo somewhere in there.

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Alice from Alice in Wonderland. Freakin love this costume – and it seemed many people did too. The Alice character was very popular this time round is what I’m saying. And it helps that this kid is pretty cute too.

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A match made in heaven!

It’s Woody and Jessie from Toy Story ◡̈ Pretty pleased to have been able to capture this shot of their backs, looking at one of the rides.

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Random cute kid with a mickey hat.

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DUFFY BEAR!!!

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One thing that really ticked me off in Disneysea were all these posters advertising Duffy bear, and Duffy’s Friend Stella, who’s dream is to be a dancer. Hello? Why cant Duffy be Stella’s Friend Duffy?! Sexist! But then my sister pointed out that all Disney Princesses are main characters with lame ass princess who function as little else than stock handsome love interests, which is a fair point i guess.

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Another Alice, holding her Stella bunny toy. Love Stella, i think she’s a newish character.

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Super cute Pinocchio

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This dude, dunno what he’s supposed to be. Half duffy half donald? Still cute though.

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It’s a very happy Daisy Duck!

A slightly less committed Alice. Alice themed dress but not a full out costume – might be smart, cos then she can re-wear it outside disneyland? Cute kid.

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Not really a cosplay but i like her jacket and hat combi. Future fashionista, this one.

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Same – Love the smize.

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“Can I take your picture?”
“Hold up… ok, I’m ready.”

A very serious and gentlemanly Woody. Haha!

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A really happy Donald Duck! Looking at him makes me happy too LOL

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A significantly less happy female Donald. Maybe cos her parents didn’t buy her the Daisy costume?

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Either Chip or Dale.

/EDIT: my boyfriend says it’s Dale

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This Elsa was seriously BRINGING IT. I mean, look at that smize! Future ANTM winner right here. Jeez. Can’t deal.

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My one iPhone photo was of this kid who dressed up as Snow white. Don’t think she understood what a photo was tho. She was really confused.

And my ABSOLUTE favourite dressed up kids:

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This sibling pair – White Rabbit and Alice. White Rabbit has a little white cap with bunny ears (don’t know if you can really see it from here) and he even has that little pocket watch where in the book he goes OH DEAR IM LATE like ten million times!. His sister is Alice, obviously, with a slightly out of character Olaf bag, but who makes up for it with that incredibly awesome pocket watch necklace!!!! LOVE.

This post was originally going to be titled Best Dressed of DisneySea. But you know, theres no point even trying. The kids win. They always do. The winners of every Disney trip are the kids who’s parents are hardcore willing to spend a ton on their kids costumes. Loving it. You stay wacky, Japan.

Hope you enjoyed the pictures – DisneySea guide to come! x

x
Jem

This was part of a Tokyo work trip with Klook – a travel activities booking site. Tickets to Disneysea were also booked on Klook!

#2079 | DIY KITCHEN UPCYCLING PROJECT – THE DELIVEROO CHALLENGE

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HOLA! From the land of thesis writing, script marking, and near-daily shoots. What a month it has been. Can you believe it’s April already? I cannot. April snuck up on me from behind and smacked me across the back of my head, and the ever pressing question is: what have I done with my life, now that a third of the year has gone by?

Not much in terms of concrete skill building. This is not something that I take issue with, to be honest, because this year I’ve been focusing on getting better at what I already do, plus you know, finishing my Masters degree, of which we now sit in the last leg. But last year, my resolution was to do/learn something new each month, and so twelve new things later, it does feel strange that I havent exactly done anything concretely new this year yet. So it was with apprehension and just the slightest gasp of desperate relief that I took on the Deliveroo upcycling 2017 challenge – a hands on project in redoing your kitchen, DIY style, into a space that my family would actually want and love.

The thing about kitchens is, they’re so full of clutter. I have to admit to being a bit of a technofreak, I get really excited whenever new gadgets and appliances come out. I got my parents a nespresso machine for christmas last year, and we’ve been enthusiastically using it every single day. This, however, is unfortunately not true for the rest of my kitchen gadgets, most of which just sit around taking up space. It’s so silly, because although I love to cook (not very good at it though), I hardly have the time, and so clutter accumulates, condiments, thingamabobs, gadgets, bread that moulds too fast. It was time to marie-kondo this shit, I said.

Let me show you the state of my kitchen before the uprising:

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I know…

The most infuriating thing was, half of this wasnt necessary. All those cups I collected from macdonalds during the olympics all those years ago? Never used them. We dont really eat bread, so I dont know why we got all those condiments, I suspect half of them are expired. And everyone at home has been trying not to eat rice, I dont know why we dont just put the rice cooker in deep storage and bring it out during chinese new year or something. All these things you dont even think about until youre forced to – and then bam! The place is a mess.

Btw, those jars on the kitchen counter were because my mother was trying to grow some beans or something to make kombucha, because she is a HIPPIE. I was like, Mum, i will deliveroo you some kombucha. And she just said, dont mess with my beans. They can hear you.

So this fit in perfectly with Deliveroo’s challenge, which was to rid oneself of all the unnecessary kitchen clutter, and to literally, leave it to the professionals if and when I wanted something a little more complicated to make. Of course, this differs from person to person – so if you’re the type who spends most of your time at home then you may want to always be experimenting in your kitchen, but if you’re on the go all the time like me, then realistically you’re not going to make full use of these random appliances, upon which they become – you’ve guessed it – CLUTTER.

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Deliveroo-ing while sketching out plans for the kitchen

Anyway, on to the planning stage!

Here’s the thing about my kitchen. Because of the way the HDBs in my area are built, there’s not that much light coming in through the kitchen cos the other blocks block it. It’s still bright, but relative to the rest of the house, it’s pretty much the gloomiest part of my flat. It’s also where my cat, her royal highness Athena Wei, eats, drinks, and sometimes sleeps. So my goal was threefold:

1. Create the illusion of space and light by clearing out the area – the walls are white ceramic, so if the area is cleared, the light will automatically reflect off them and make the place look brighter and more spacious
2. Introduce greenery to the kitchen – we love plants in our home, and I wanted my kitchen to look like some hippie pinterest modern fusion kitchen where you could sip a coffee and enjoy some nice fresh air, recycled by your friendly neighbourhood plants
3. Rehaul Athena’s area because she deserves a little upgrade too!

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“Who’s ready for a brand new home?”
*unwillingly, my photo prop*: “Me”

So phase one begun: the cleaning out phase.

To be honest, this phase is a pain in the ass because I hate housework. But I suppose once I get into it it’s quite alright. The gross bit was realising how long some of these “key” kitchen gadgets havent been touched – I had to wipe down and dissolve the lime buildup under some of them! *shudder*

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While this was ongoing, I basically lived off deliveroo, because no one else was allowed to use the kitchen at the same time. So that was a fun week – a lot of inertia regarding cooking complicated dishes is in the washing up, so while I wont make it a daily habit, it’s quite nice to just have dinner arrive readymade and packaged conveniently to recycle once finished with.

My mum and I also went out to buy 1. plants 2. floor mats 3. Athena’s water fountain and 4. Athenas new bedding. Don’t laugh – the reason why cats need a water fountain is because they are snobbish pricks who wont drink water out of a bowl – or they will, but they dont like it, and so they get very dehydrated. Something many cat owners/ cat cafes do is get a water fountain, because cats will drink willingly out of a moving water source. Mine cost about seventy bucks from Pet Safari in Vivocity.

Ready to see Athena’s new corner? :3

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Ready for your new place?
Notice: the new japanese patterned floor mat for her food bowls

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New cat bed from Pet Safari, Cat mirror from the Airbnb team – it was a birthday gift from them a couple years back. Thank you Grace! 🙂

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Overall look 🙂

I think we might have gone a bit nuts with the plants, but thats okay! Maybe now my hybrid greenhouse-kitchen dreams have been achieved?

I don’t know if you can tell, but if you’ve been following my Snapchat/Ig stories for awhile you might have guessed that actually my mother is obsessed with plants. We have plants all over our living room, and the theme has now spilt over to the kitchen! I love having plants around because they make the whole place look fresher and somehow, cleaner. They also inject life into any living space – and I’ve found myself drawn to apartments that have little pockets of greenery during my travels when looking for places to stay in. Even in my office space I keep flowers and little potted succulents around so my space always looks fresh, and so when planning for the kitchen this was really a no-brainer.

Anyway, it was soooo cute to watch Athena explore her new home. She’s a bit of a snob, so its rare that she openly displays curiosity or affection because she is damn act cool. But she was pretty pleased with her new upgraded corner, so that was nice!

And now! The rest of the kitchen:

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totally cleaned up this space. got rid of all the stupid cups and condiments, and made the mid shelf a green space instead! And yes – we left space for my mother’s kombucha station

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we dont bake that often, but to be honest i think the kitchen aid looks great, so we left it there. haha!

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“Look, ma! No dishes to do!”

I figured – if I really want some peanut butter cake or a really complicated and elaborate meal, I can always deliveroo it. How often am I realistically going to get down and dirty to cook a three course meal anyway? Their motto is “leave it to the professionals” after all. So away with the air fryer and away with the storage tins! The toaster gets to stay because it’s white and matches the rest of the kitchen, HAHA. #priorities

I also made the executive decision to move the nespresso to the other end of the kitchen, to replace the rice cooker, and create a kind of ‘Coffee Corner’ because my parents and I always make a point to have a coffee every morning, whether together or otherwise, and so it makes more sense that everything is congregated at one spot. This is also right under our cupboard where we keep beverages – coffee powder, tea bags, sugar and creamer, etcetera – all hidden away behind the clean white ceramic cupboard doors. So it makes more sense to have it here anyway, I think!

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My coffee corner..

This part of my kitchen actually also has a pull out table masquerading as a top shelf drawer, so if my parents and I want a coffee together, we can just pull it out and sit around the mini table.

It’s right next to the stove, so if we want to brew coffee and bring it out (my dad does this a lot), then our tumblers are all congregated there as well, next to the kettle. Shoutout to my gorgeous rose gold chrome tumbler from Starbucks, because I know I’m going to get emails asking where it’s from!

I’m just gonna say that this is what this corner used to look like before…

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See what I mean about the pull out table?

Ha! I feel so happy with my coffee corner lol. I just have to say, that my mum is actually really good with interior design. She basically had an idea of what she needed, then googled what kind of architecture would suit it, then got someone to come in and design it. That’s why we have these random things like pull out tables and small shelves to put condiments and now, plants on.

Finally, the cooking area..

Before:

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After:

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I
KNOW
RIGHT??

Here’s a break down of what I actually did:

– move the cooking oils and spices into the top left cupboard, where it is easily accessible should you want to cook
– keep the pots and pans in the cupboards below (my kitchen is full of cupboards)
– moved the salt and sugars into the – no prizes for guessing – condiment cupboard, then replaced it with creeping plants
– put a plant next to the sink
– added a nice floor mat (cant see it here, but you can see it in the first pic in this blogpost)
– cleaned up the area

Seems so easy but it makes such a huge difference!

I feel so optimistic just looking at it, LOL. The thing about clutter is, it keeps coming. So I’m sure it’ll start to accumulate again, but for now at least I have a fresh and clean start, and I think it looks great! Fingers crossed my family manages to keep it this way for a good while 🙂

Alright, so that’s about it! My deliveroo challenge, completed. I think I did pretty decent, and dont tell me if you think otherwise because take your negativity away from me! I feel extremely accomplished and very adult, and I hope this inspires you guys to at least get up and pack your room.

Thanks for the challenge Deliveroo – what’s next? Bring it. x

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x
Jem