The Ladybug’s personal travel guide to Singapore

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I have already explained the reasons for such a delay in my travel guide to Singapore: this trip was my personal birthday gift two years ago and I had the chance to share it with a friend who spent many years in Asia and who knew the country quite well. It was also my first time in Asia, let’s say a first door to this continent that I would love to visit more soon.

That said, I think that for a first visit to Asia Singapore is the perfect place! It feels like visiting the world but staying in the same place: Chinese, Indian, Arab cultures are mixed up in an amazing melting pot and you can easily leave an Hindu temple to enter a Buddhist one a few steps away and then see a Mosque just around the corner. At the same time you can eat Thai, Chinese, Indian, European, American almost everywhere and believe me, it is one of the places that I loved more for the variety and quality of food, especially in the small restaurants or in the markets’ stalls that you can find almost everywhere in town.

All these traditions coming from different parts of the world are mixed up with an amazing skyline with incredible modern skyscrapers reflecting on the sea and luxurious hotels and malls where you can easily get lost or find a network of canals recreating the Venice atmosphere while you shop at Louis Vuitton or Dior!

If it’s not enough, you can find the paradise on earth in the Botanical Gardens where you can get lost in a green paradise full of rare orchids and beautiful swans.

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If you visit Singapore you cannot miss the Colonial District with the biggest museums and malls that I’ve ever seen; if you walk down the Singapore river you will join the Quays, full of lights, bars and restaurant. On the other side Marina Bay, with one of the greatest skylines ever especially at night. If you want to admire a wonderful view from the top of a “tree” you must try the bar or restaurant Gardens by the Bay, the last futuristic idea in town. It may seem a bit kitsch but the breathtaking view is totally worth the experience! Speaking of kitsch experience don’t miss a visit at the Marina Bay sands mall…you won’t buy anything but you can see the first Louis Vuitton floating shop and other strange things that I won’t tell you here!

Speaking of shopping Orchard Road is the main shopping street of Singapore, full of people and shopping centers but instead of getting lost in shopping centers make sure that you visit Emerald Road Hill with the loveliest colored buildings in Singapore. The only shop that you may visit in Orchard road if you are a tea lover is TWG with the best teas from all over the world: I bought Singapore breakfast tea and it’s still one of my favorite teas ever!

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But what I liked most of my Singapore experience was getting lost in Chinatown and Little India.

In Chinatown you don’t go to visit something special, you just go to feel the atmosphere, to get lost in their food markets, bazars, temples. After a delicious breakfast at the traditional Ya Kun Kaya Toast you can visit the Chinatown Heritage Centre, walk down Pagoda Street and visit the beautiful Hindu temple Sri Mariammam. The Buddha Tooth Relic Temple is also in this area and it will take your breath away. This is also a perfect place to taste delicious food for a few dollars in one of the food markets in the area.

Little India is a world apart inside the town: beautiful colored houses, Indian food shops and markets selling beautiful Indian saris and colored textiles, smell of curry everywhere.  You can admire here amazing Hindu temples like the Sri Veeramakaliamman or the Sri Srinivasa Perumal. Don’t forget to visit the colored and crowded Bugis Street Market and to have a look at the lovely bars and shops on Haji Lane.

Not far from here is the lovely Kampong Glam and the beautiful Arab Street with the Sultan Mosque and the arab shops where you can easily find interesting bargains (especially electronics). If you want to taste delicious Indian food you can just visit the Tekka Centre, just to name one of the many food markets in the area.

If you have time for the beach just head to Sentosa, an Ibizan style crowded beach on an island famous for the Universal Studios and as a huge playground! This is not exactly what I like but if you’re curious…

Just a last tip for yoga lovers like me: in the Sri Muneeswaran Hindu Temple you can practice yoga for free a couple days a week. Just check their schedule to live a very exciting experience!

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The Ladybug’s vintage hunting in Singapore

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It took two years to write this blog post. Why? It’s a long story but to make it short I was afraid of it and it was hard for me to share my wonderful experience in Singapore two years ago. I was dreaming of visiting Asia and I decided to give myself a special birthday present: a week in Singapore to celebrate it in my very first trip to the Asian continent! It was a wonderful experience shared with one of my best friends (who lived in Asia for many years and who knew the country very well) but it happened during a strange moment for me. I didn’t feel very well, I was getting a lot of weight and I started a serious diet one or two months before traveling. Once I came back, it took two more months to get ready to write about my trip and in the meanwhile I lost more weight and when I started editing my pictures I immediately felt ashamed. Ashamed of my body image. How did it happen that I allowed my body to be so unhealthy? I didn’t like my image in these pictures and I just decided to leave it there for a while.

Two years later I keep having great memories of that trip and I decided that no matter how I looked like I just wanted to share my memories with you, especially my vintage hunting in Singapore and more travel info about this incredible place that I loved a lot (this in my next post!). I feel happy that I started this journey to be healthy and happy with myself which is all that really matters now!

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Ok, now that I finished my confessions I can tell you more about my first Asian vintage experience.

Wherever I go I try to find a vintage community and some interesting vintage addresses that may be useful for those vintage lovers planning to travel there anytime soon and wanting to see not only what this beautiful place has to offer but also what it is like vintage there.

Let me warn you, Singapore is not a vintage fanatics paradise but some addresses are definitely worth a visit…and some shopping!

If I had to tell you my favourite place in town it is Granny’s day out, a beautiful vintage boutique with the most amazing vintage dresses and accessories, located in the Peninsula Shopping Center (just few steps away from our hotel!). Kyra is the loveliest person that I met in Singapore and we enjoyed a good chat on vintage in Singapore. She also gave me some good advice for a few other shops and markets to visit!

The Good Old Days is probably the most “Asian” vintage shop that I visited in Singapore. Located in Jurong Gateway Road (another shop is in New Bugis Street) I loved the mixture of vintage and Asian pop accessories of this coloured boutique where I also bought a vintage 80’s belt with a beautiful golden butterfly. Their collection of dress and bags is also interesting but the sizing is a bit small for an average European body (good reason to get new accessories!).

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What I noticed during my vintage hunting in town is that mixing vintage with new retro pieces and handmade is very popular in Singapore where it is quite hard to find vintage-only shops. Grammah in Haji Lane is an interesting shop with a lot of new retro inspired pieces and some vintage pieces, as well as Déjà Vu Vintage in Raffles Boulevard specialized in designer thrifted clothes and accessories and original vintage pieces.

Haji Lane is one of the most hipster areas of Singapore (much loved by Europeans visitors) with its lovely cocktail bars and retro shops, but my favourite shop in the area was definitely Dulcetfig. It is one of the loveliest places I have ever visited in my life: full of beautiful vintage pieces, printed retro dresses, handmade quirky jewellery and…three adorable ginger cats!

If you are interested in visiting one of the most interesting handmade markets in Singapore where you can also find some vintage pieces you must head to Scape Underground on Orchard Link, where I found some interesting coloured handmade pieces (earrings, necklaces and rings) at very good prices.

One of the shops that I couldn’t visit was World Savage for vintage and antiques shopping. It was recommended from local vintage lovers and it was mentioned by The New York Times as one of the best vintage shops in Singapore.

PS: I know that you were expecting to see me and I didn’t use any picture of me for this post but you will see me – two years ago – in the next post on my Singapore travel tips!

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The Ladybug’s new vintage dress is Irish!

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Are you still on holiday? Or are you preparing your return back to the office? Anyway, sooner or later we have to go back then, why don’t we prepare a vintage return with a lovely vintage dress that you can easily wear at work?

I bought this lovely pleated polka dot beige dress in Dublin last winter for just 10 euros in a lovely shop called Om Diva mixing beautiful vintage dresses with handmade and retro pieces (clothing and accessories). When I was there this winter all the vintage dresses were on sale for 10 euros and I tried at least ten before picking my favorite one! (To be honest it was the only one that fitted me properly, the others were too big or too small!!).

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I wore it for work with a retro inspired Zara golden belt with lips and with an old pair of sandals from Vic Matié that I bought on sale many years ago and that I still adore!

I added retro inspired round frames from Valentino and Miu Miu bag.

Not bad for a vintage return at the office, what do you think?

PS: Consider it as a good excuse to wear more vintage every day!

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The Ladybug’s 70’s Afro outfit (L’Afrique, c’est chic!)

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When I think of the 70’s that I love I cannot think only of the “Flower Power” and “Peace and Love” trends around Europe and America.  I still love the flowers in the hair, the flare jeans, the wooden platforms but I cannot separate it from the “Black Power”, the early disco and all the fashion related to that era among black people especially in the United States. Afro hair, African headscarves, African bangles and large earrings.

Diana Ross is my fashion icon of the 70’s and when I try to re-create an outfit inspired to that decade I can’t help mixing flare pants with afro hair or just add something African to the outfit.

I must confess that I do that quite often: my love for African prints and fashion in general is huge since I was a kid and I used to go with my grandmother to the fairs and markets only to buy African scarves to put on my head; I used the same scarves when I was a bit older to create my Erykah Badu inspired turbans!

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I often wear African pieces to my daily outfits and lately I also decided to leave my curly natural hair free in an afro styled cut.

When I bought my H&M printed navy jumpsuit (on sale for 7 euros last winter!) I immediately imagined to wear it in a 70’s inspired outfit. I didn’t have my wooden platforms with me so I wore it with my navy Swedish Hasbeens sandals but I added two afro touches: the beautiful handmade African turban by Sine Modus and the adorable original vintage brooch from Déjà Vu Vintagepedia.

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The Ladybug on how to wear a vintage piece for a summer walk

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Let’s be honest, when we are on holiday we just want to relax, at least that’s what I look for! Once I land, I stop using make-up, watches, and other things that I feel useless during my holidays. I just bring a few clothing pieces and even less accessories just to make sure that my suitcase is light enough to make me feel light too! Fresh, simple and casual pieces are in my luggage, one pair of shoes other than my flip-flops and just a few pairs of earrings: that’s all that I wear when I’m not wearing a bikini or a sarong!

But well, I am still a vintage lover and I can’t help putting a vintage piece in my holiday suitcase.

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This time I brought a vintage embroidered cotton blouse, easy to wear and super fresh and I used it for a lovely walk with a friend of mine among the palms and pink houses of my hometown and  I just couldn’t help taking pictures!

I wore my candid white blouse with peach chino pants from Please, leopard print slippers from Dune London and Michael Kors bucket bag.

I added my new Max&Co sunnies (my colleagues’ present for my birthday!) and a pair of statement African handmade earrings that I bought during a fair. They also matched perfectly the beautiful pink walls!

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The Ladybug and the 70’s Flower Power

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Is there anything that screams summer more than a flowery piece?

Look at the women magazines: every summer issue with the key pieces of the season have a floral trend since I was a young woman and started to be interested in women fashion (let’s say about thirty years ago!). The truth is that the power of a colorful flower piece is undeniable. This is why we called it Flower Power in the 70’s and we still love it!

Last year I remember buying this flowery palazzo pant from Dixie in a rainy afternoon just because I loved the colors and it made me think of summer! Also I knew that the 70’s were doing a comeback and the shape was very figure-flattering!

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I use them quite often and I brought them to Sicily for a simple yet retro inspired outfit, for a casual walk in the city center with friends.

I paired it with simple white vest from Mango, Swedish Hasbeens sandals, Michael Kors bucket bag and Africa wooden earrings from Harlem (courtesy of my dearest friend Simona).

PS: as you can see I’m totally relaxed when I am on holiday: natural hair and no make-up are my summer trademark!

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The Ladybug and her great vintage bargain

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Circle skirts have been my summer uniform since last year! I have many of them and I wear them for every occasion, from work to nights out!

I love the way this piece highlights your curves, especially those with high waist; it is also perfect if you don’t feel too confident with your thighs and if you wear it with high heels it gives you a slimmest silhouette still exalting your curves.

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This time it was my vintage floral skirt, a real bargain from Melting Pot Kilo vintage shop in Brussels where I got this little vintage beauty for only 3 euros! Definitely one of my best vintage bargains ever! If it ever happens to you to be in Brussels don’t miss out this lovely shop selling everything by weight (kilo sale). It is in Rue Haute in one of the most interesting vintage areas of the city (if you need more details you can check my post about vintage shopping in Brussels!).

I paired it with Mango tee with pleats, Swedish Hasbeens sandals and Africa earrings (a lovely present brought to me from Harlem by my lovely friend Simona).

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The Ladybug’s brings the 50’s to Sicily!

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For the first time after a few years I skipped the Summer Jamboree Festival in Senigallia this year. I still love this event a lot but after three consecutive years I needed a break and probably I needed more relaxing holidays at home with my family, going to the beach, reading books and just enjoying my beloved ones’ company.

Still, when I looked at pictures from the Summer Jamboree I couldn’t help feeling a bit nostalgic then I decided to try a 50’s inspired outfit for an aperitif during my summer holidays in Sicily, putting together what I had in my holidays suitcase!

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I wore an handmade 50’s inspired white circle skirt by Heka Couture and I paired it with a polka dot turban by Madame Ilary handmade with an old unused Zara shirt that I decided to recycle and vintage decorative button.

I completed my navy and white outfit with navy Swedish Hasbeens sandals and Mango top.

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The Ladybug’s ode to Cuba

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Before going on holiday I had the chance to visit one of the most interesting exhibits in Milan right now “Cuba. Tatuare la storia” (Cuba. Tattooing History) at the PAC (Padiglione d’Arte Contemporanea).

From the 6th of July and to the 12th of September the PAC is the perfect venue to visit if you want to discover an amazing exhibit completely dedicated to the art of this amazing country that I had the chance to visit in 1996.

This is more than just an exhibit: there are videos, paintings, installations and live performances by the artists who better represent the contemporary Cuban art from the 70’s to the present.

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Each artist represents a part of “the journey towards Cuba, with its magnificence and its difficulties, its sound and furore, its cultural, linguistic and mythical issues, its ideological differences. Starting from the historical performative nature of contemporary Cuban art, the exhibition will present a large selection of works and installations — some of them conceived for the PAC — of the most representative Cuban artists and the most up-and-coming artists of the new generation” (excerpt from the exhibit page on the PAC Internet site).

There is a certain sadness and bitterness all around but it is part of this wonderful island and I totally saw it represented there. But there was also joy, hope, especially when we realised than we could take with us part of an art piece (I won’t tell you more about it!).

If you are in Milan during this summer holidays it is a great art experience to enjoy more than a simple art exhibit, one of these not-to-miss events! Just one last tip: check the PAC site before planning your visit to know if there are live performance scheduled (www.pacmilano.it).

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The Ladybug wears turbans on a vintage skirt!

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Who said that turbans can only be worn on your head?

My love for turbans (and hats and headbands and whatever you can wear on your head!) is pretty much known, so you can understand why I totally fell in love with this vintage pleated skirt from Sine Modus when I saw it in their lovely shop near Porta Venezia in  Milan!

The pattern, model and color just got my heart and I couldn’t help buying it…it was “so me”!!

By the way, I totally loved Sine Modus vintage shop in via Sirtori: you can find there beautiful handmade turbans and headbands but also original and rare vintage pieces (clothing and accessories) carefully chosen by the beautiful Chiara, Manuela and Elena…and believe me, they are three of the ladies with the greatest style and taste in Milan!

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I wore the skirt for work just a few days before summer holidays and I paired it with a simple white shirt (Cos) and a pair of retro inspired sandals from Lazzari.

I added my handmade Nepalese silver necklace and Miu Miu bag.

PS: Now you can find Sine Modus vintage also in Isola district, in via Thaon de Revel, don’t miss their amazing vintage pieces if you are in town!

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