Saturday, 18 October 2014

Thrift shopping in Singapore,

Thrift shopping in singapore

Invigorated by the fact that I had only one last weekday of freedom before my work life officially started, I went on a hunt for thrift shops in Singapore. Thrift shopping has always been interesting to me, and it was not just for the sole purpose of finding good buys, I was really intrigued by the 1001 things that people would sell. When my relatives occasionally brought me to flea markets when I was much younger, I was very much curious about the display of items for sale, which ranged from antique boxes to vintage cassette players to tacky masak-masak toys. It also really sparked an interest in knowing more about the backstory of old items and photographs. I typically buy them for a token fee and make pretend on the story behind the items. (Side story: Found a cockroach a few years back, in one of the silver boxes I got when I was 11 and had to throw it out. It was a beautiful brass silver plated box which could be opened only by a gold key. Hopefully it wasn't incubating inside all this while lol. I have since cleared out many of these old items).

When I went over to UK and US, thrift shopping was really common (hello London''s Camden and Chicago's Wicker Park!). Plus, they have an endless collection of vintage thrift shops along the streets of designated area - definitely a thrift shopping haven.

Long story short, here are 3 of the thrift stores that caught my fancy in Singapore. Give a holler if you know of any more worth checking :)


New2U Thrift Shop
96 Waterloo St (www.scwo.org.sg)
Monday-Friday, 10:30am - 12:30pm


Tucked in the cosy corner of Waterloo street, the New2U Thrift Shop is located within the premises of the Singapore Council of Women's Organisations (SCWO). While the indoors store itself is pretty small, it extends outside with racks and racks of bags/clothes/shoes and what nots. They have shelves of secondhand clothes, which are mainly assorted by style (dress, skirts, pants, tops). There isn't a fitting room, but there are mirrors at the side where you could attempt to see if what you have chosen fits you. It was rather crowded though (lunchtime crowd I reckon), so many ladies were hogging the mirrors. The shelves inside also sold old board games, random knick knacks, accessories, candles and festive cards, but I believe this would be dependent on the stocks they have at the moment.

 If you venture deeper into the place, past the racks of shoes, you'll find a hidden room filled with old books, guides and CDs. It smells quite musky, and it is very dusty - but you'll definitely find a good book or two here!

A plus point for  New2U is that the ladies volunteering at the store are very friendly, and will accede to your kind requests whenever you approach them (if they are not too busy). Price wise, everything here is sold at a reasonable price, and the proceeds all go to either Star shelter (a charity which provides temporary refuge for women and children who are victims of family violence) or other initiatives of SCWO. Talk about shopping for a good cause!

New2U Thrift shop

New2U Thrift shop

New2U Thrift shop

New2U Thrift shop

Praiseheaven Family Megastore (The Salvation Army)
500 Upper Bukit Timah Road
Monday - Thursday 10:00am - 6:00pm
Friday - Saturday 10:00am - 9:00pm

The name speaks for itself, the store was huge and was mostly indoor premises where it was air-conditioned. Separated into various sections for the different items (clothings, school items, shoes, antique vases, antiques, paintings, books, frames, music instruments), the place was well organised and you could go straight to the category of items that you're looking for. It does however, come across as pretty messy. Price wise, it was reasonable but definitely more expensive than the other 2 places in this post. Expect clothings that range from about $5-$50, depending on the label. For those who are searching for work clothings, they do serve up a mean rack of work pants (for guys too) and skirts from G2000 and other office brands. They also have a separate section just for the guys and a wedding section filled with bridesmaid dresses, wedding gowns and accessories. Fitting rooms are available for trying on the items.

Visited the store on a weekday evening, and was pretty much the only person in the store so I took my time to look through the racks and explore the other sections.  Loving the large collection of vintage spectacles and antique vases, they were really dusty but definitely worthwhile to take a look.

The nice lady at the counter also gave me a 15% discount off all my buys because I had quite a large shopping bag, so that was a good bonus! Check out the main Salvation Army website to spot out periodic sales.

Praiseheaven Family Megastore

Praiseheaven Family Megastore

Praiseheaven Family Megastore

Praiseheaven Family Megastore

Praiseheaven Family Megastore

Praiseheaven Family Megastore

Praiseheaven Family Megastore

Praiseheaven Family Megastore

Praiseheaven Family Megastore

Praiseheaven Family Megastore

Praiseheaven Family Megastore

Praiseheaven Family Megastore

Praiseheaven Family Megastore

The Family store 
309 Upper Serangoon Road Singapore 347693
Mondays-Saturdays :10:00am - 6:00pm

Under the umbrella of The Salvation Army, this Family store has the largest collection of goods out of these 3 places. They cover from clothing items to electronic goods (PSP, Wii, some even brand new) to furniture to mattresses to children toys to dinner ware. Prices here are extremely reasonable, but you need to be able to sieve through the dusty racks piles of items to be able to find hidden gems.

Occupying a large plot of land and spreading across many floors, The Family Store was also one of the more interesting places to explore because there many nooks and corners within its premises. While only the first and second floors were open to the public when I visited, it was definitely enough to pique my interest for a couple of hours - it felt like a maze. My only gripe was the permanent muskiness hanging in the air and the furnace-like surroundings that I had to scramble through my bag for a miraculous hope of finding a rubber band to tie up my hair (was melting in the heat).

family store upper serangoon

family store upper serangoon

What particularly got me excited was the pay by weight clothing section on level one (note that clothes from this section cannot be crossed with the items on the upper levels). The last time I was exposed to this clothes weighing concept was back in London when Ana and I paid a pound each to get into a warehouse weight sale where clothes were strewn into large bins......but we left empty handed because there was simply nothing that caught our eye / had our sizes. Got an office jacket and a dress this time round! No fitting rooms though, so you have to take a chance on them.

family store upper serangoon

family store upper serangoon

family store upper serangoon

family store upper serangoon

family store upper serangoon

family store upper serangoon

family store upper serangoon

family store upper serangoon

family store upper serangoon

family store upper serangoon

family store upper serangoon

family store upper serangoon

family store upper serangoon

family store upper serangoon

family store upper serangoon

family store upper serangoon

family store upper serangoon

family store upper serangoon

family store upper serangoon

family store upper serangoon

family store upper serangoon

family store upper serangoon

Note: The Upper Serangoon branch has since moved to new premises at 356 Tanglin Road Singapore 247674 and been renamed to Family Hub. They open from Monday to Saturdays from 10am - 6pm.

__________


Here are some of my finds from the stores, you can really get gems (and sometimes even new items with labels still intact) from these thrift stores. I didn't spend a lot of time finding these clothing articles! The best thing is that the stocks change regularly, so you're always in for a surprise with each visit.

Disclaimer: Unless otherwise stated, the accompanying accessories in the following pictures belong to me.

1. ANAYI ladies' work jacket
Price: $18
Condition: 9/10
Found at: The Salvation Army (Upper Bukit Timah)
A brand originating from Japan, the jacket exudes simplicity and fit me really well! Also loved how the fold ups revealed the more informal pinstripes peeking out. Plus, it's a size 6. It went straight into my shopping basket, perfect for a fuss-free work outfit. Jackets ain't cheap and finding the right cutting isn't easy.

2. G2000 Knee-length pencil skirt for work
Price: $8.50
Condition: 9.5/10
Found at: The Salvation Army (Upper Bukit Timah)
Simple and practical enough for work. The skirt was also spotless and apart from the tiny price written at the corner of the label in black marker (which is tucked into the inner linings), it could have passed off as brand new - except for a fraction of the normal retail price.


3. Love Bonito Persian blue top
Price: $5
Condition: 9/10
Found at: The Family store (Serangoon)
Hanging unassumingly on a rack full of secondhand SIA stewardess uniforms, this persian blue top instantly caught my eye. It was spotless, with the label still intact. Zip works like a charm, and the top looks like it hasn't even been worn! Perfect with pairing with a pencil skirt for work, and for pairing with jeans during casual dress down day.


4. Black mandarin collar top with slight shoulder flairs
Price: $3
Condition: 8.5/10
Found at: New2U Thrift shop
You can never go wrong with black! Spot this piece while casually sieving through some racks near the lift at New2U. While I couldn't try this piece on before purchase (they didn't have a fitting room, and only had mirrors by the side), and neither am I a mandarin collar or a shoulder flair kinda girl. But I got lucky.....the cutting was great and it's such a good pair up with high waisted work skirts.

mandarin collar black gold

5. Translucent cream top with gold details at neckline
Price: $3
Condition: 6/10
Found at: The Family store (Serangoon)
I usually pair this with jeans or khaki work pants, but it goes with just about anything! Gave the condition rating a 6/10 because the stitching and sewing isn't perfect, and while it looks professionally done from the outside, you are able to see some of the apparent stitches in the inner lining. That doesn't really bother me though. The gold details on the shirt forms a chain, which sometimes break apart (you can't really tell). Because it's pretty translucent, I usually wear a dark camisole under.

6. Blue & Black clutch
Price: $5
Condition: 7/10
Found at: The Family store (Serangoon)
A simple clutch that came along with a detachable strap for holding. The insides are clean and pretty spotless. It's also great for those casual dinners where you want to fit your phone, money, cards, keys, and 101 other nonsense but refuse to bring a bag just because because. It has a leather like material and is brand-less.

clutch gold cream top

7. Monochrome dress with ruffled neckline
Price: $5
Condition: 8/10
Found at: The Family store (Serangoon)
One thing I love about thriftshopping is that you feel less pinch in experimenting with new styles that you hardly ever try. I'm not really a ruffles kind of girl, but this dress was subtle and classic. Paired it with a black work blazer, pearl earrings and cream heels. The material is flowy and lightweight, but doesn't come across as low quality despite being brand-less.

monochrome dress green accessories

8. H&M Black tube dress
Price: $10
Condition: 9.5/10
Found at: The Salvation army (Upper Bukit Timah)
One of the greatest finds (or maybe not, because it's quite a mainstream brand) for the day was this elegant black tube dress. It spots a classic sweetheart neckline and quality material. It also allows for belts to be worn, here I paired it with a Topshop leather belt in camel and a necklace so it looks casual. Jazz it with a formal belt and throw on a blazer and it instantly transforms the outfit. Also wore this dress when R came back from London and we had a celebratory steak dinner at Skirt, bet no one knew I got this from a thrift shop ^^

H&M black tube dress necklace

For those who are on a budget or those who just love sieving through for a good buy, these places are really worth checking out! Even if you're not really interested in purchasing anything, it's always fun to explore the treasure troves and the antique selling corners - you'll never know what you'll stumble across ♥

And of course, if you have any unworn or pre-loved items to give out, do go down to the respective stores to donate them, all for a good cause :) Plus you're giving these items a new lease of life! Drop off your goods at their physical stores or contact them through the websites.

Ciao!

Friday, 17 October 2014

A penny for your thoughts,

If you had a penny, would you give to a happy or sad man?

Instinctively, we tend to have an almost knee-jerk perception to give to the sad man - but why, is the warped idea of money bringing about happiness so deeply ingrained in us for us to react this way?

Thursday, 16 October 2014

Mornings,

Toss out of bed, daily regime. Email. Whatsapp. Bathroom, showered and feelin' fresh.
Smooching the furball, and dashing out of the door
Headphones on, world shut off.
Lift a-waiting - tick tock, why wouldn't it stop.
Strutting to the beat, the trains never have a seat.
Heading up north, pacing through the throng and stairs.
Emerging from the fingerprinted glass doors, dart from small talk.
But only to be shrouded in a blanket of warm humid ambush.
Fishing around for a morning pick-me-up, two gold coins gets me none other -
French toast how I like it, baking in the crisp plastic.
Warmth and smile, fresh jug of water.
Good morning world.

Wednesday, 8 October 2014

The daily grind (or maybe not),

Cutting to the (paper) chase - I don't have an appreciation for coffee and have been abstaining from caffeine but I'm slowly being induced into the world of having that morning cuppa of.......no, I'll save myself before that happens. In the meantime, I'm so glad to be back in office tomorrow :3
 
Yesterday I saw an article advertisement on the 3 steps to finding that engagement ring.
I think it's a sign, world. (Play along if you must)

Singapore hopping: Kusu island,

Kusu island pavilion

Being avid explorers, we decided to venture out of mainland Singapore and hopped onto the Cheng Ho imperial cruise for a short trip out in the waters. The trip took us around Marina South Pier bay, Singapore Flyer, Sentosa Cove, Tanjong Pagar Port and the coastline of the various islands around. We also had an estimated 45 minute stopover at Kusu Island to walk around. Here's the route that we took:

Cheng Ho route map
Credits: Watertours Singapore

It was a melodramatic start to the day (which was coincidentally my birthday hahaha) because our cab took a wrong turn and took us straight back to the highway when we were supposed to have turned into Marina South Pier. The roads were confusing, due to the amount of construction going on. But we made it nonetheless, and dashed wildly to the boat - only to have the steward waiting calmly for us to purchase our tickets. 

Coming on board, realised that my toe was bleeding....but they didn't have any plasters! (One of the workers kindly offered me Burnol, which I politely declined) But ain't no injury gonna bring me down, was pretty excited to sail out. R felt otherwise though, and was instead amused by the whole morning saga.

Bleeding toe

The boat itself was rather spectacular sight, for it was a huge imperial vessel covered in oriental carvings and asian ornaments. It is named after Cheng Ho, a 15th century Chinese Admiral who was an explorer of the waters; the boat replicates the Dynasty vessel that he sailed in. Even the ceilings and wooden chairs were intricately decorated! There were different cabins on 3 levels, and outdoor viewing decks to enjoy the sea breeze and Singapore sunshine. 

Apart from the few American couples and a French father-daughter duo, we had the whole ship as our playground.

Imperial Cheng ho boat

Imperial Cheng ho boat

Imperial Cheng ho boat

Imperial Cheng ho boat

Imperial Cheng ho boat

Imperial Cheng ho boat

Imperial Cheng ho boat

Imperial Cheng ho boat

Located 5.6km from Singapore, Kusu island is one of the many Southern islands of Singapore. The island basks in the glory of its name as the "Tortoise island" in Chinese. Legend has it that a magical tortoise transformed itself into an island, to save shipwrecked sailors from drowning. While it comes across as a ghost town during most parts of the year, thousands of devotees flock to the island for the Kusu Pilgrimage - during the 9th lunar month every year! It is believed that this annual affair will bring about peace, good health, prosperity and happiness who those who make the effort. There are 2 Chinese temples situated on the island (for deities of 'Da Bo Gong' and 'Guan Yin') as well as 3 Malay kramat shrines which sit on the top of a hill. The tranquil and serenity, together with the unspoiled beaches was definitely a plus point, and these brought up the raw charm of the island.

The island used to be called Pulau Tembakul, which can be loosely translated from Malay to be burial site. And indeed, it was used as a burial site for immigrants who passed away from their quarantine stint on nearby islands of Lazarus and St. John's.

Kusu island

Kusu island

Walking in, we were greeted by a tortoise shelter which houses tons of tortoise resting around. A few of them looked battered, and we were really intrigued by who takes care of them (think it may be the few people on the island mending the temples opposite....). Nonetheless it was quite a joy to watch them nest around and bask in the sun. Was getting really close to them because they're pretty adorable, but R scared me by telling me that they may be snapping turtles (seriously). Anyway, I didn't want to look like I was terrorizing them hahaha.

The tortoise sanctuary supposedly houses hundreds of tortoises. 

Kusu island tortoise shelter

Kusu island tortoise shelter

Kusu island tortoise shelter

Kusu island tortoise shelter

A diseased looking tortoise, poor him! At least he has a good shelter and food here to protect him from weathering wild conditions.

Kusu island tortoise shelter

The pavilion above the waters was a nice reflective walkway, which made for picturesque pictures. There was no one in sight on the island apart from the boat patrons, and a few others mending the temples (or so I believe). 

Kusu island pavilion

Kusu island pavilion

Kusu island wishing well

Kusu island pavilion

Kusu island pavilion

The island coastline was one of the highlights of the island. Coupled with the tranquility, it's definitely a spot which you can retreat from the hustle and bustle of city life.  Brownie points for being able to score the beautiful city line of downtown!

The sea walls help to create a lagoon and soft waters. During low tide, you're apparently also able to spot out both hard and soft corals and other sea creatures such as the sea cucumber, the sea moth, anemones and little hermit crabs. We're actually quite keen to take a walking tide tour at Sister's island sometime when R comes back, give a shoutout if you've been to one of those :)

Kusu island beach

Kusu island beach

Kusu island beach

Kusu island beach

Kusu island beach

Kusu island beach


Kusu island beach

Wandering around, we decided to explore uphill where the 3 Malay Shrines (or known as 'Keramat') was located. Man, was it an arduous climb - for me at least!

Greeting us at the top was the loud blasting of pop song 'Gangnam style', I guess pop culture is really that pervasive. The 3 shrines, which were located next to each other. They commemorate a 19th century religious Muslim man (Syed Abdul Rahman), along with his sister (Puteri Fatimah) and mother (Nenek Ghalib). Many devotees flock to the shrines to pray for fertility and children, however this has since expanded to include prosperity and all kinds of happiness - as seen by the prayers and wishes of many visitors, scribbled over the bright yellow paint. Along with the red plastic ribbons tied all over the trees, it was a quite a sight.

Kusu island Keramat

Kusu island Keramat

Kusu island Keramat

Kusu island Keramat

Kusu island Keramat

Kusu island Keramat

Kusu island Keramat

Kusu island Keramat

Kusu island Keramat

Kusu island Datok Kong

Kusu island Keramat

The island was also dotted with many picnic tables around.

Kusu island

Kusu island

Food centre, which seems to only be in operations during the peak season of the pilgrimage.

Kusu island

Kusu island

Greeted by a monitor lizard on the way out.

Kusu island

Heading back to the boat before it starts to storm.

Kusu island

Kusu island imperial cheng ho

It was pretty fun exploring the boat in itself, check out the pavilions and the various outdoor decks!

Imperial Cheng Ho boat

Imperial Cheng Ho boat

Imperial Cheng Ho boat

Imperial Cheng Ho boat

Nostalgic Khong Guan biscuits and coffee/tea for morning tea, don't expect too much.

Imperial Cheng Ho boat high tea

Imperial Cheng Ho boat

Imperial Cheng Ho boat

Imperial Cheng Ho boat

Imperial Cheng Ho boat

Imperial Cheng Ho boat


Imperial Cheng Ho boat

Imperial Cheng Ho boat singapore flag

Imperial Cheng Ho boat

If you're interested, you can find more about the cruise here. It's sounds a little commercialized, but it was extremely underrated. We had fun exploring, and it was good to lose ourselves to foreign sights and sounds before getting back to the daily grind.

Ciao!
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