This week, top of my 'To Do List' was: apply to study abroad for a year! Fingers and toes and all other appendages crossed that I get to go!
One of my top choices for the year abroad is the National University of Singapore. It's a great uni, has loads of amazing modules on what I hope will be my specialism (20th Century American Poetry and Drama, for any lit-geeks interested) and is in one of my faaaaaaavourite places!
Just a few of my favourite pictures I've taken in Singapore.
(Yes, that's me being an idiot in the top right corner...soz.)
After living in Tokyo, I travelled around some of East Asia with my friend, The Danner, and we used Singapore as a base when we were in the South-East of Asia, because of it's great airfare deals to places like Malaysia, Thailand, Hong Kong and Indonesia (to name but a few), and because we could stay with a lawyer friend for free there! Cushty!
If you are travelling to Singapore, you can always get great airfare deals on Expedia (try and fly Singapore Airlines as it's the best aeroplane food you'll ever eat!), and great hotel deals on Hotels Combined. (My absolute best tip for luxury travel on a minimal budget, you lucky things).
Anyway, my intention is not to write a full guide to exploring Singapore, because there are plenty of those out there. Some I recommend would be: YourSingapore, CNTraveller, Lonely Planet and WikiTravel.
ANYWAY, I'm super-excited about the prospect of possibly, hopefully, maybe going back to Singapore; for the ease-of-access to some of my other favourite places, to be a teeny bit closer to my Big Buddha (big bro) in Australia, and for the amazing food, great standard of living, the great nightlife (including Singapore Slings at the legendary Raffles Hotel)...
The Danner and I on a night out in Singapore. We went for a meal on Clarke Quay and for cocktails at Raffles.
For the linguists among you, Singapore (like Hong Kong, another fave) is also a great place to learn a new language (Cantonese or Mandarin) in the comfort of a bi-lingual environment without any language barrier... the list goes on...
But WAIT! I also, also, also love Singapopo (as we so affectionately termed it)...
...for the SHOPPING. (obv.)
Yes, sirree, Singapore is one of my favourite shopping destinations worldwide; up there with London, Paris, Manchester, Tokyo, Milan and Hong Kong. The shops there range from high-street style shops and little, unique, Korean-influenced fashion boutiques to the most lavish of designer fashion houses, but my favourite finds were tucked away in the many shopping centres on Orchard Road.
Some of the shopping centres on the famous Orchard Road.
These shops are sort of collections of vintage, second-hand and overstocked designer clothes; mostly dresses, shoes and bags. The finds here are incredible; I found a gorgeous Chanel dress that I only didn't buy because the fit wasn't quite right (though there are thousands of very cheap, very talented tailors a stones throw away). The shops are all neatly laid-out (no rummaging required) and the staff extremely helpful.
Some of the items may have had the labels cut out - I'm still unclear as to why exactly this is - but this doesn't stop them from being great finds, just means their sell-on value will be less (if you're into that - I prefer to keep and collect clothes... I'm a hoarder).
Here are some of my favouritest finds from my last time in Singapore:
(Please note, I have tried to give an approximation of price in GBP but a) can't remember exactly what I paid and b) even if I did, the conversion rate from SGD will have changed)
Dolce and Gabbana anchor print dress (seen in pictures above - navy with white bow tie; sailor chic at its most whimsical) = approx. £80
Marc by Marc Jacobs heels = approx. £45. The embellished heels are metal so set off the detectors when going through airport security! (I'm not normally one for heels on long-haul flights but they wouldn't fit in my bag, whereas flats would!)
These are amazing shoes, so beautiful. They're velvet with a metallic inner - they go with more outfits than you'd expect and always get so many compliments, which is nice.
(On another note, apologies for the pasty, bruised legs [I'm living in thick tights at the moment] and poor quality of the pictures - I'm still using my phone at the moment as my camera lead is nowhere to be found.)
Lovely, lovely pair of navy satin peep-toes with a woven effect from one of the Korean import stores. The label reads 'style by pearl', but a google search was unfortunately fruitless.
If you live in London, a lot of the stores in Camden Town's Stables Market specialise in Japanese and Korean import clothing and accessories - they're some of my absolute favourite places to shop. (Although it's depressing now knowing how much the prices are marked up in the UK and Japan from the original prices in South Korea.)
These cost about £15-£20 and are such great quality.
A cute, purple crochet-style top with a zig-zag pattern. I bought this from one of their more high-street style shops (think New Look or Forever 21). It's really flattering and transcends the seasons; as well as being a lovely colour. Plus I get brownie points from the mister for wearing it because purple is his fave (he's a Prince fan).
This cost the equivalent of about £5-£10.
This Miss Sixty mini-dress (the bottom half is not shown but is a black pleated skirt) is very 'Marissa Cooper' and cost me about £30. It's a great throw-on-and-go piece; I even got complimented on it in Milan so it must have some style acumen!
Apologies again for the mish-mash nature of the pictures; I don't have all my clothes with me at uni (they don't all fit in my ample storage space at home, never mind in my wardrobe here!) so getting pictures together wasn't as straightforward as I'd planned.
I hope this gives you some idea of the great fashion finds Singapore has to offer for if you get to go there anytime soon; and also some idea of how to find similar things wherever you may be.
Hopefully, my study abroad dreams will come true, and maybe - if I go to Singapore - my Singapore 'Fling' will become a full-fledged romance. And my wardrobe kudos may just happen to increase, too!
Ciao for now,