ochie’s 2011 top fives

i could probably come up with an endless list of top fives for the year, but to keep things simpler, i figured i’d pick things which can be accompanied with photos. so here’s a list of my top five outfits (of which i have photos), the top five photos i have of food, and the top five photos that i took myself that i really like quite a lot. more rambling and stories ahead.

ochie’s top five outfits in the year

outfit no. 1 : worn in London

This Fashion Brown Floral Maxi Dress, Boots stolen from my sister, and Denim Jacket stolen from my sister.

I got this dress from the now-bust This Fashion for my 18th birthday. After taking it to Bali in 2010, and now London in 2011, I think a floral maxi dress is going to become something of a staple when it comes to travelling outside of India. India is my one exception, mostly because I dress rather conservatively when I’m there, but if I’m going on a leisure holiday and not a mostly-religious one, a maxi dress, or a floral dress is a wonderful thing to wear especially in sunny places because it just feels happy. Floral dress and boots are quite an awesome combination too, I’ll admit.

outfit no. 2: worn to Brighton, London

Converse Chuck Taylors, Bershka Shorts, Brandless T-shirt with a Zebra on it, Forever 21 Square Scarf, Swatch Multi-coloured Stripey Watch, and you can’t quite see it, but I believe I had a Primark Blue Cardigan beneath my 60’s Studio M Black Blazer

I went quite crazy with the layering while I was in London. I don’t get to do that much with Singapore’s weather, so I made full use of the lovely weather while I was in London. I wore this blazer because I had just gotten it a couple of days ago from a stall at Greenwich Markets, and paid something like 5 pounds for it. It’s a perfect fit for myself, and it’s sort of formal-looking, so needless to say I’ve actually worn this blazer a couple of times for presentations at college. Shorts with tights is another thing I hadn’t quite done before, and I remember feeling incredibly dumb for wearing shorts, because the wind at the beach was very chilly and I was cold, but I got used to it soon enough and it felt wonderful. I also remember going into an Oxfam shop and trying on a dress and thinking “oh ochie why so many layers!” Layering would be a good deterrent for clothes-shopping.

outfit no. 3: wearing a dress as a skirt to work

Target Dress, Forever 21 Striped Knit Top, Elastic Belt

This was one of those ideas I’d always had in my head, wearing a dress as a skirt, with something on top of the dress. It sounded good in my head, and one day I figured I’d actually try it out and this was the result. I got this dress from a Target in Australia, and my sister got me this knit from F21 in the US. I’m all for very bold prints, and while many people fear them I have a tendency to gravitate towards them. I also like mixing two prints, and this is an example of that, I guess. I get bored of wearing the same thing over and over, and I wore this to work at the airport and remember getting some looks on the train ride to and from work, but they weren’t actually bad looks. The elastic belt helped a lot, because it made it look like one of those Cotton On or Forever21 skirts with the thick elastic band waist. It’s a belt that came together with a dress, but I think it’s pretty useful to have a plain black elastic belt in my wardrobe. Bold prints for-the-win!

outfit no. 4: worn in Perth, Australia

Converse Chuck Taylors, Charlotte Russe Floral Skirt with Belt, Esprit White Tank Top, Forever 21 Cropped Jacket, Forever 21 Mustard Yellow Bag, Brandless $5 sunglasses from BHG (which i then proceeded to lose on my first day in London, woohoo!), Diva Charm Necklace

So you might get the idea that I dress a lot better and fancier overseas than while at home. Well, travelling is an excuse to dress up, yes, but it’s also the time I take a lot more photographs, so I have more pictures of my outfits. That shall be remedied in 2012 I hope, where I shall take more pics of my everyday dressing if it’s something interesting. This outfit is another happy-making outfit. I had hardly worn this skirt prior to this trip, but after spending a day in it along a very windy marina-pier type area called Mandurah in Perth, I discovered a new found love for it. The jacket was a new purchase prior to the trip so I was sort of excited to wear it for the first time (I believe we went to Mandurah on our first day there) well I think you’ll see another photo from this day a little later on in this entry.

outfit no. 5: worn in Melbourne, Australia

Converse Chuck Taylors, OP Skorts, Coldwear Knit Top, Forever 21 Mustard YellowBag, Uniqlo Purple Tights

Oh, this outfit. I got these tights for a theatre-thing I was in. We thought my character would be dressed in very crazy clashing colours, so I bought these bright purple tights while on sale, and then later we decided that the other character should be colourful and my character became the one who was dressed head-to-toe in grey. These tights sat in the wardrobe since then, for about six months, before I decided to take them to Australia and wear them, because if people laugh at me, atleast they won’t know me and I’ll run away from the country in ten days. While in Melbourne, we decided to go on the Puffing Billy train ride one slightly-rainy day. We’d taken the train on our last trip there in 1999, when I was seven, and it’s always sort of nice to go see things you’ve seen before again. See how your memory works. I wore this crazy outfit there, and while a couple of my friends commented saying it was a very cute outfit, I don’t particularly see myself wearing it again because it is quite the colour-blast. It was something different, and made me stand out while I sat on the ledge of the carriage with my legs dangling out, all was good.

ochie’s top five food-related-memories of the year

Simmons Ice Cream at Mandurah, Perth, Western Australia

When you’re walking around a lovely boardwalk when it’s sunny and summer-y and everything is good and nothing hurts, the only thing that makes everything even better is ice cream. I got myself a single scoop of Irish Coffee ice cream from this very-popular place along the boardwalk (so much so that our decision to get ice cream was actually made by the simple fact that almost every third person in the vicinity was eating this ice cream and the crowd outside the shop was pretty impressive) This is also one of the biggest single-scoops I’ve ever eaten, and it was really, really good. I don’t remember how much it cost, to compare it in terms of say, Ben and Jerry’s or Haagen Daaz, but it was one of those homey-looking places which made their own ice cream obviously, and it was pretty damn awesome.

Vegetarian Japanese Food at Wagamama, London

Japanese food is pretty awesome, I’ll agree. I like many things Japanese, but their food is something I’ve not eaten a whole lot of, because it’s not particularly easy to find vegetarian items. I’ve tried vegetarian Ramen, and it was a bit too bland for my liking, but I’ve heard vegetarian Teppanyaki is pretty good. My sis took me to this lovely place called Wagamama in London twice, I believe, and both times the items I ate were really, really good. Props to them for also have clearly labelled vegetarian items not limited to just one item (i think they had about three or four, which is good enough for me). The atmosphere inside was sorta nice as well. They have these long school-canteen-style benches, and people just go and sit anywhere they please  while getting how much personal space you want as well. Their idea of ‘fresh fruit juice’ was also actually juiced-fruit, as opposed to the many place where ‘fresh fruit juice’ translates into ‘Snapple’ or something like that. I believe they also give you free green tea while you wait for your items to arrive. And as you can tell, it’s a pretty good helping, so all in all, a lovely place.  I wouldn’t mind seeing a Wagamama opening in Singapore sometime.

Self-made Basil Pesto Pasta Salad with Homemade Bread (made by a friend) and Apple Juice

This year I perhaps ‘cooked’ a little more than I did in 2010. Which is understandable. My classes at college all started at 12pm, so I usually ate something brunchy earlier and then ate a snack or had something small after my classes ended. I made a fair bit of pasta salad this year, and I like to think that it tastes really good (it does to me…I don’t know about others) and it’s actually pretty healthy all things considered. I have a weakness for all things with basil pesto and/or sun-dried tomatoes. Apple juice is always good as well. I guess now that I’ve mastered making pasta salad, I should try making my own basil pesto on my own as well, instead of always resorting to store-bought jars.

Layered Sundried Tomato and Basil Crepes at Cheeky Chocolates (at iluma)

As I said, weakness for sun-dried tomatoes reflected clearly here. I also have a tendency to eat meals alone. Cheeky Chocolates seems like a place where you would see only couples or groups of friends who want to satisfy their dessert craving, but their meal items are pretty decent as well. And if you’re planning on eating lunch at around 1pm on Sunday afternoons alone, it’s not a bad place to go because strangely it’s always sort of empty. There is not much I don’t like about this crepe. The cherry tomatoes don’t get squishy like normal tomatoes would, the cheese is always all oozing as it’s still hot, and I might have had a debate with myself on whether you should call this lasagna or a crepe. Well that’s what you get for eating alone, I guess.

Rosti with Egg and Kiwi Lemonade at Marche

Meh, nothing particularly impressive about Marche’s Rosti. Everybody loves those. I had a birthday dinner with a bunch of friends at the Marche at VivoCity, and this was what I got. So in that sense, this photo reminds me of that night, which was a lot of fun, and feels like a long, long time ago for some reason. What is worth noting is the Kiwi Lemonade because it’s got to be one of the best juices I’ve had at Marche. They called it a seasonal drink – not too sure what’s so seasonal about Kiwis or Lemonade in February- but it was available and I was intrigued. You get so many juices with aloe vera these days, but having kiwi chunks instead of aloe vera chunks seemed like genius to me. I like the tang of kiwis, and they’re chock full of vitamins, but the colour of this drink was probably what attracted me to it. It was a beautiful bright, happy green, and instead of the pulpy bits I expect to see in fresh juice, these had tiny black kiwi-seeds at the bottom, and you can see that in the photo! I’ve sadly never seen this drink at Marche since this day, but if someone wants to make a glass someday and try it out, be my guest!

ochie’s top five photographs of the year

Mama Duck and Fuzzy Duckling at a park in London (Regent’s or King’s…I forget.)

Much like most other human beings, I am incredibly fond of ducks. Unlike a lot of other people, though, I cannot understand how people can eat ducks when they look this adorable. But then I should add that I also find chickens cute in a ‘oh-they’re-such-flustered-animals’ sorta way, and don’t understand how anyone could eat them. Ducks make me happy. I am one of those people who will run after ducks going “DUCKSSSSSSS! quack! quack” when I see ducks and squee over fuzzy ducklings when I find them. Aw, these two are just adorable.

Flinders Street Train Station at Melbourne, Australia

This isn’t a particularly good photo, but I like it because I like this building a lot. As far as train stations go, most of the ones I frequent are all underground, so they don’t have grand building like this one. I like grand train stations though. I walked by this train station so many times while in Melbourne for three days, and every time I walked across the road, I would say something about how beautiful it is. I also like the many clocks on the main entrance-gate thing.

Photo of myself at the V&A in London

So I got a Canon 600D before going to London. The Canon 600D is a beautiful, wonderful camera I am still learning to master, but I am smitten with the Creative Filters post-processing functions available on it. Pardon the frizzing hair and everything, but I like how this camera also had a screen that can be flipped outwards and turned 180 degrees, pretty much taking self-camwhoring to a whole new level. This filter is the toy-camera filter, which gives photos a Holga-esque feel and it lets you pick between cold, warm or auto tones for your photo. I could do the same thing on Photoshop, agreed, bit it is nice to be able to do it from your camera itself.

The V&A museum

This is another filter, which the camera calls Miniature. It sort of is a tilt-shift effect, and I kept trying to figure out what are the best scenarios of make this effect work, and I think this is not a bad attempt. This courtyard at the V&A is beautiful and I do wish I could have spent more time there, but the fact that I spent a teensy little bit of time there is good enough. This building is so gorgeous I can’t even start to explain it.

My dad, on the Puffing Billy train ride back to the main station.

As I mentioned earlier, we went on the Puffing Billy ride in Melbourne, and it’s this old steam engine train that runs along a couple of stations in a mountain range. It passes through fields and little rivers and it’s absolutely beautiful. Typically, you’re supposed to sit on the little ledge where my dad has his feet up, let your legs dangle down, and hold onto the bars as the train runs, and that’s how I spent the ride sitting, with the wind in my hair, and my pink polka-dotted socks and purple legging-ed legs dangling over grassy hills and train tracks. It stops at a couple of stations, and I got bored at one station so I started taking photos in sepia and black and white, and I took this without my dad realising it, which is why I like it so much. We took the last train back, so it was really empty, and we had a carriage to ourselves, just three of us, and all three of us were in a sort of introspective-thinky thoughts mood, the kind that sprawling landscape inspires. I think my mum might have dozed off for a while somewhere inbetween, but my dad and I were relishing the scenery. I crave open landscape pretty often. I like to see farmland and fields and no skyscrapers. I liked this train ride so very much.

for the first time in a long time, i’m not starting my new year celebration as early as say, 6pm. i’m meeting my friends at about 9pm and we’re going to be at a park and it will be nice to welcome the new year with these people as i’ve always done, because they’re always been around for me and i know they will be there for me in the years to come to. we’re family.

i hope you have a great new years’ eve, and that 2012 will be an exciting year ahead for you!

i’ll be back in 2012.

~Ochie

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