NZ, halfway


Perfect travel companion

I have a new favorite product for traveling and every day too. It is Gatsby Powdered Oil Clear Paper kit. As the name says, the product removes unwanted oil and leaves skin bright and matte.

These wonder papers are going for their ultimate test soon, since I am having a 10 hour flight from Singapore to Auckland starting this evening. I am sure I can count on Gatsby to make me look fresh after a long flight.

I will be the next two weeks in New Zealand. I will be on the road most of the time and I hope I will have time to make quick updates to my blog, so keep checking it. After I have come back I will post pictures and more experiences of my first trip to the Southern Hemisphere.


HSBC architecture

Some time ago I noticed something familiar in Singapore in the area where I walk daily. The local HSBC headquarters looks exactly the same as it looks in London. Although, the London HSBC tower at 8 Canada Square is twice as high and one of the tallest buildings in town, they look very similar. I guess this is one way to be consistent in branding.

The international HSBC headquarters in London was completed in 2002. I did not find any information about the completion year of the Singapore headquarters, but it seems that it is older and that it has been renovated to look like the London tower. Here is an older picture of the Singapore tower.


OMG!! It is HUGE!

There are two magazines I buy regularly: Monocle and HUGE. The first one I can understand as it is written in English, but HUGE is in Japanese and therefore the text parts remain a mystery for me. I do not care. HUGE provides excellent editorials and picture reports what is hot in hi-end fashion in Japan at the moment. Good thing is that the magazine does not only concentrate the most fashionable matters, but also puts old and new together in an original way. I love it. Issue 1/2010 is in stores now. In Singapore it can be found at in Kinokuniya Takashimaya.

PS. HUGE and Monocle should be bought from their origin countries (Japan and England), because they cost twice as much in Singapore compared to the original price. Same thing happens with many non-Singaporean hi-end fashion labels.


Something to do in the Yuletide

Foam balls, sequins, beads and pins...what can be made of them? Classy christmas decorations, of course. I got a starter kit as an early christmas present from my friends in Finland. Now I have gone crazy and I have done several sequin-and-bead balls and one bigger Faberge-like egg. Designing a "Faberge" egg is fun, but finishing it is a different thing. It takes a lot of patience and accuracy to keep the patterns symmetrical. In Singapore the ingredients can be found at Spotlight at Plaza Singapura.


Sunday patterns


In the shadows

Alley view from Egham.

My favorite ad

Although Pierre Cardin is not in the sharpest front line of fashion any more, I love this ad I saw at Knightsbridge tube station in London last week.


England is a modern country...

Street view from Egham.


Standing still

I guess Singapore's economy is not blooming yet, judging by the dozens of anchored empty ships outside the harbor.



Smiths of Smithfield

I started my recent trip to Finland with a stopover in London. During my short stay I had a perfect Sunday brunch with friends at the rooftop restaurant at Smiths of Smithfield restaurant complex. The restaurant served not only delicious food but also magnificent views over London's rooftops. With a single glance from the table one could see The Barbican, St Paul's Cathedral and Smithfield Meat Market. If only it had been warmer so that we could have enjoyed their big balcony.


Changing logo

While doing groceries at Takashimaya's Cold Storage I noticed that the new Pepsi packages are finally hitting the shelves. I am not sure I like the new logo. The typeface is too lightweight and static. What do you think?


Finland, land of swamps

I had a perfect break from the hectic city life in Seinäjoki in Western Finland last week. I woke up early and I headed for duckboards at Paukaneva swamp. The weather was chilly and fresh and it was very quiet. A moment to breath clean, cool air.

Swamps make up one third of Finland's land mass. Although that fact is taught at schools, one easily forgets, as swamps are rarely seen in daily life. They are hidden in the forests and rural areas.

For me, swamps are mystical places. But for some they are a source of livelihood; swamps used to be dried for agricultural land. These days they are a source of sod, which is used as fuel and fertilizer. Also a lot of berries grow there, including the tasty yellow cloudberry.

Enough of lecturing. Happy Independence Day Finland, the beautiful land of the swamps!

After a day outdoors, a real Finnish sauna. Lovely!

Back in Singapore

I got back to Singapore from my short trip to Europe yesterday evening. Today I visited new 313 shopping centre which was opened while I was away. First thing that caught my eye was Santa Claus with his elf at the ground floor. This was my first encounter with Santa in Singapore. There is something wrong with this...I did not see a single one Santa in Finland during my recent visit.



Photos by Finnish National Opera / Heikki Tuuli

My short visit to Finland was filled with culture. My trip started with a new interpretation of Swan Lake and it ended with the second performance of Rusalka. If I say I liked Swan Lake, I was overwhelmed by Rusalka.

I must admit I did not know much of Rusalka before I saw it. Still, it is one of the best operas I have ever seen at Finnish National Opera. Director Richard Jones is said to be one of the opera directors of his generation. It is easy to agree, so tense and visual he had made his Rusalka. Mr. Jones had divided Antonín Dvorak's famous opera in three sets: lake view, Czech gasthaus and final scene at a bordello. In every scene the often referred moon is hanging above the sets.

At the second night's performance Elisabet Strid was playing Rusalka and Mika Pohjonen the prince whom Rusalka falls in love with destructive consequenses. The lead couple was a bit unbalanced, but they both sung very well. I liked especially Ms. Strid's performance. In addition there were very good performers for Water Gnome (Gregory Frank) and Ježibaba (Maria Kettunen).

As a visualist I enjoyed the sets as much the music and singing. The sets were simple but eye catching, especially in the first and the last act. The first set was somewhat traditional although the was a diving board under the moon. The last act was set to happen at a bordello where blond girls were waiting their customers with devil-may-care looks. The whole act was a quite sad but it touched me the most.

Rusalka is not just an opera, it is a figure in Slavic mythology. If you would like to know more, click here.

Rusalka will be played at Finnish National Opera until January 19th 2010.