cait +tiff


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C / progress report #2

header-feet

I was supposed to be in a draping class this week, but life doesn’t always work out the way I plan, so I have a few days off. Taking this time to catch up on emails I owe the people I love and plan for a few very exciting upcoming adventures, including employment. More on that later. The upside of an unplanned week to myself is that I have time for a proper progress report.

I’m now at the point in the summer, where I only have a few weeks left here in London and I am decidedly unhappy about it. I have loved living here, and school has been more than I could have hoped for. Fifteen year old me just yelled NERD, but it’s entirely true.

Since I last checked in, I have done a lot of work. My Fashion Design Sumer School course was four weeks, with a different project every day, which means I have a very heavy portfolio at home and I’m glad we used recycled paper. I shared my final small collection with you last week, but so much more went into it than I could show in a post. As I have learned here, it’s all about the process and in my recent experience, the first draft sketch of a piece is a mere shadow of the final product. Life around me has been the most inspiring part of living in London and the things I see here change my designs. Museums, music, history and architecture are all great to draw from, but some of the most interesting details in my work usually come from someone I saw on the tube, the way a dessert was presented or the constant mix of old and new. The photos here are a CliffsNotes version of the last few weeks, and a mix of work and adventure. There are SO many more photos that I want to include, but let’s not break the blog.

In probably-not-chronological order, my life here.

selfridgesbird-thing

shoreditch-graffitti
paper-dress

The window display at Selfridges, student art at CSM, Shoreditch graffiti, a paper dress I made with my class partner

st-pancras

three-dresses

school-2

St Pancras, a dress at the V & A that I have taken 4 photos of, a dress I didn’t buy, school project: invent something

school-1

mill-street

irish-sunset

School supplies and sketching, best visitors from Oregon, Irish Sunset

school-3

GOT

london-eyeball

A purse made out of garbage, 3D art project, cheeky graffiti, the London Eye at night

monmouth

Latte art staying power at Monmouth Coffee. Happy, Dickon?

darlinginspo-from-all-over

Inspiration to remember, pretty colors at the V & A, life-changing honeycomb

whitstable-beach

baby-chocolate

kids

Whitstable, a pretty lady and a borrowed baby, Mast Brothers chocolate, kid being awesome

HP-SD

                                                     The king of England, and my heartcaitsig


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c / a collection

details

I don’t know why I’m nervous to put this up. I’m pretty proud of it, and considering where I started at the beginning of the course, I have come a long way. I think it’s a little bit intimidating to put work out in the world to be judged. Its so much easier to sit behind a computer and anonymously judge others. You guys probably aren’t really reading this, you are just going to look at the photos, but I am going to write about how I got to the four looks I decided on anyway.

The (abbreviated) process:

We had a week for the assignment, and spent the first two days at the Victoria and Albert and Science museums, drawing and cruising for inspiration. I fell in love with the science museum. It has amazing exhibits on everything from space to modern communication and gross teeny tiny microscopic mites that live in your eyelashes. I pulled a lot of my inspiration from there, specifically from an old clock and Hubble photos of the solar system.

We then got to work, actually turning our sketches into shapes that would work as garments, and that’s when it got really fun for me. I am not sure how many sketches I did during the “development” stage of the process, but I brought them all home and they weigh a lot. (It’s on recycled paper, don’t worry.) Each piece changed significantly from the first drawing to the final product, and I think if i kept going on them, they would change even more.

We had feedback from our two instructors for the week, one who focused on presenting a beautiful drawing with movement and life, the other who demanded you understand how the garment would actually work. They were both great to have around, and made me think a lot about zippers and linings and the practical details of each piece.

Without further ado…le collection.
look-one1000

look-two

look-two-deets

look-three

l3-deetslook-4 look-4deetsTa-da!

caitsig


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C / field trip / whitstable

coast

One of the great things about London is how close it is to places that are not London. It’s amazing spending so much time in this gorgeous, hectic, creative city, but getting out of it is important. Lucky for me, I have friends here that know about places like Whitstable, and also know how to say it correctly.

We took the train about a hour outside London and pulled into Whitstable just in time for lunch. It’s a small, seaside town, full of small shops and pubs, and most importantly, oysters. The oysters from here are small and briny and delicious. You will cause great offense to add anything other than lemon to the oysters (as I found out with an ill-advised shake of Tabasco). I actually have no idea how many I ate, but I know we were eating them for about 4 hours and that’s math I don’t want to do.

oystershelf

oyster-lots

doggie

 

 

 

Like you don’t have an oyster mascot.

caitsig


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C / London cheese crawl

cheese-hunt

One of my favorite things to do is travel insane distances for a specific dish. It has taken me to tiny food carts outside of Chaing Mai to find Andy Ricter’s favorite Khao Soi, to the belly of Bangkok for the best duck noodle soup, and even to Queens one time. It was crazy.

So this week, I am on a mission for cheese in London. This country is basically a giant farm, dotted with cities, so that people can have beers and watch movies. The cows here are easily twice the size of cows in Cambodia, because they are healthy, well taken care of, and not eating trash by the side of the road. The Perennial Plate did a short video about Neal’s Yard Dairy, a London cheese shop that makes beautiful delicious cheese. It is now on the list, and since I am actually in London this weekend, there will be a field trip. Maybe two. I will report back.


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C / progress report #1

story

So it turns out, if you do things you love and care about, it’s really fun. I am in my third week of school at Central St Martins and it is going very, very well. My first week of class was an introduction to London Fashion, and the instructor took us all over this wonderful city, from the Victoria and Albert Museum to Brick Lane vintage, and Portobello Market treasure hunting. I learned a ton about the history of fashion in London, and why it’s become such a hub for young designers. Fun fact: Margaret Thatcher is responsible for a big portion of the UK’s investment in the arts. She saw, early on, that Paris and Milan fashion houses were bringing in buckets of money and attracting international investment. London was behind on this at the time, so she shuffled some things around and re-allocated state funding to go to the creative industry and promoted investment in young designers. There are still programs running that she set up to search for new talent, so you go Miss Lady, thanks for that.

school

Homework from Alexander McQueen and a final project from John Galliano, from the CSM Museum vault.

flowers

Flowers in Shoreditch.

VandA

Finding inspiration at the V & A.

Week two was a class in make up for fashion. After taking this class, I have a whole new respect for this profession. I don’t have plans to be a make up artist, but it was great to learn the basics of make up in the industry. We did color matching and skin science, talked proportions and face shapes, and finished the week with a master class at MAC and a photo shoot. It was great for me to learn technique and terminology, and I now know how to create a “smoky eye” and avoid the “black eye” that used to happen on my face.

make-up

Make Up for Fashion final project with Kristina and Abe.

market

Portobello Market field trip, for research.

I’m in my third class now, Central St Martins Fashion Design Summer School. I linked to the Facebook page because if you click on it, you can see the progress and work of past and present students at the school. I will be posting on there, so I don’t flood the blog, and we will be creating a solid portfolio over the next 4 weeks. This is the core class of what I am doing here in London, and the instructor, Julian Seaman, literally wrote the book on fashion design. Actually, he has written 4 books on it. I can’t wait to dig into this course and create things every day. Will report back again in a few weeks with more show and tell. Come visit me.

palace

Master selfie-taking-skills at Windsor Palace.

day-one

First day project from Fashion Design Summer School.

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C / london checklist

Big-Ben

I LOVE LONDON and no one is surprised. It’s an amazing city full of art and life and music, and everybody knows it. It’s hotter than usual here, which means people are talking about the weather even more than usual (is that even possible?) and I get to giggle when people complain that its 85 F/29 C, and they are “bloody melting.” I have refrained from telling grown ups they are babies, and should try Phnom Penh in April. Anyway, look at me, droning on about the weather, I am basically British already.

So before I left for London, friends from all over the world gave me lists of restaurants, introductions to friends, and names of exhibitions that I absolutely must see. I will do all of those things, but I haven’t yet. Below is a list of things that I have done, in short form, because lists are fun and I have to leave for school soon.


Fell down in public.

Got called a “f*%$king c@#$”because I didn’t know where the exit for the Northern line was. Seems deserved.

Went to Buckingham Palace.

Pretended to see the Queen and pointed at a window excitedly.

Ate fish and chips.

Had a visitor! (Hi Travis!)

Got totally lost and had the day of no working public transportation. And forgot my keys.

Watched Wimbledon (from a bar.)

Saw Big Ben. (So BIG.)

Converted how much my dinner cost to USD. Tears.

Did fake British accent in front of actual British people. I think they really liked it.

Went to block party and judged a kid’s singing competition. I was not an official judge, I was just doing it on my own, Sarah was the obvious winner with “Walking on Sunshine.”

Saw two wonderful ladies from Phnom Penh. Missed it a little, then got over it with brunch.

Wore the wrong shoes.

Started school, felt like a dinosaur.

Gave someone directions. BAM.

Drank the best coffee, probably ever.

Listened to London Calling, while in London. Thanks Lenore.

Saw three wonderful friends from different walks of life in London. Smiled all day.

Got my NYC fast walk back.

Went to the Tate Modern, looked pensively at art for 2 hours, then began re-naming all the pieces. Enjoyed myself.

Found delicious Indian, French, Spanish, Portuguese, and Italian in my neighborhood. Food, not people.

Spent too long on list and now must scramble to get ready for school.

Miss everyone.

caitsig


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C / first field trip

knob

I’m in London! The sun is out, everything is delicious and the walls of my British stereotypes are crumbling before me.

I spent my first weekend on the Isle of Wight, in the south of England. It’s a small island dotted with villages, sea side bars, farm land, and lovely people in nautical sweaters. It reminded me a lot of coastal Massachusetts, where I spent a lot of my childhood summers. We spent the days taking walks through the hills, playing with dogs, chasing kids around, and stuffing our faces with fresh strawberries.

sailing

So many boats.

rose

The not-at-all-overrated English Rose.

dags

Dogs, dogs, happy dogs.

bounty

Garden bounty.

The most indulgent detail of the weekend was the food. It was a special occasion, so the weekend was catered by Alex, from The Little PickleI am convinced that he has been sent by the British government to change perceptions of British food around the world. It might work, too, because there were some pretty heavy pleas for him to come to Cambodia for work, and I am pretty sure I offered him the guest room. Everything was fresh from the garden, courtesy of the amazing hostess, and I honestly haven’t eaten that well since mom food at Christmas.

eton-mess

Eton mess (-all-over-my-face.)

This was the warmest welcome possible, and I can’t think of a better way to start my time in the U.K. Probably just more Eton Mess.

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T / go away / a spanish road trip

Alicante---HeaderSo I had a couple of big takeaways from my most recent road trip through Spain: 1) damn that country is delicious and 2) there is a skill to avoiding nausea while navigating curvy European roads and being in charge of navigation and I do not possess it.

I also learned that southern Spain is where many northern Europeans choose to die.  I’m not joking.  There was a preponderance of gated communities filled identical semi-detached vacation homes to house pensioners hailing from north of the continent and related big box grocery stores from said region to serve all of those pensioners. The nail on the coffin (nervous laughter) was the number of insurance companies promoting burial and return of assets services.It’s a one stop shop, kids. It was pretty much straight out of a BBC farce.

Grating tourism for the elderly aside, I met up with my man and we spent a few days tooling around Alicante and the Valencian community.  We’re usually game for more off-the-beaten-path travel, but when the opportunity arose (parental birthdays that is), we jumped at the chance to eat and drink the hell out of the region.  So we weren’t able to make it up to Seville (to satisfy my Game of Thrones geekdom). But we did manage to re-adjust our Circadian rhythms to the Spanish time zone of siestas and late nights, with rolling mountains, the most delicious of fruits of the sea and an endless supply of tapas, cervezas and sangria.  I couldn’t think of a better way to recuperate after the marathon through London (which Cait just started!) and Copenhagen.

So I thought I’d share some of the shots of this beautiful region.

Wander-HeaderJune in the south of Spain is perfect.  From an expatriate in Cambodia’s point of view, the crisp mornings and evenings, and relatively sunny and cool afternoons are the perfect respite when escaping from 50°C and humidity.  The sky was pretty much always a beautiful blue, whatever shade you want to call it.  The streets were always pedestrian friendly (and sometimes only) and you could never get lost.  We started with so much beauty in Murcia. There were palm trees upon palm trees and cacti in Elche and checking off of World Heritage Sites. Got cathedral-ed out in Orihuela. And rounded it all off in Roman ruins in Cartagena.

Orihuela

Orihuela

Blue skies, negative space and towers in Murcia.

Blue skies, negative space and towers in Murcia.


 

Play-with-Colour-HeaderThe city of Alicante, and especially its historic quarter, are a colourist’s fantasy come to life. Everywhere we wandered.  Up the stairs and down.  Out of the Museu de Arte Contemporáneo de Alicante (MACA) and around cathedrals. There was so much colour.  And for someone who’s supposed to be delving into colour theory right now, I was basically at home. Alicante-PastelsColour-in-Alicante


 

Eat-Alicante-HeaderBecause there is no such thing as too many boquerones. Fried. In oil. Stuffed. What have you. Just get them in my belly.

With the fire of one thousand Bourdains, we drove into Dénia expecting gastronomic heaven.  And we were happy to have found the next El Bulli.  But we were told that the next table at El Baret de Miquel Ruiz was available in October.  I still can’t forget the maitre’d’s look of disbelief when we walked in asking for a table for two. With the thought of what could have been  clouding our minds, no other restaurant in Dénia really quelled our tastes. We were only left with the wont of what could have been.

Market-FoodBut that said, the days before and after this were heaven.  Being the breadbasket of Spain, the south is a treasure trove of fresh ingredients and palette bursting energy.  We stocked up on our own cured boquerones and queso at markets popping up in the residential areas of Torrevieja, where we were staying (sleeping is probably more of an appropriate word).  We discovered the juiciest donut-shaped pears and ate our weight in cherries.  The gluttons of Rome who conquered this area millennia ago would have been proud.

Dinner-at-La-Catedral

From left: truffled artichoke salad with ham, and the most sumptuous scallops with flying fish roe at La Catedral

We spent our last edible moments with the sun setting over ancient Roman ruins in front of us, dining al fresco on the best starters at La Catedral in Cartagena.  I couldn’t have thought of a better way to end this road trip through Spain. And I couldn’t wait to explore more of the north.  But I had some wurst and schnitzel waiting for me in Frankfurt.


All photos taken by Tiffany Tsang.  Please request permission for use.

 


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T / go away / copenhagen calm

Copenhagen-header

This beautiful, crisp in every detail, delicious city was my second stop after my mad dash through London.  And I couldn’t have been more thankful for the calm this place wrapped me in.  My equally delicious friends Jo and Janice welcomed me with open arms, the best eats, wheels and beautiful (very Scandinavian) apartments.  Copenhagen is hygge in every way possible and it is not just confined to its long winters. Everyone is beautiful.  Danes are as tall as skyscrapers, or this is how I felt from 5’4″ and in flats. I’ve been dreaming about the place ever since I left and absolutely have plans to go back as soon as possible.

Copenhagen-Wander---I basically arrived in Copenhagen at the very best time possible.  The sun was out and it never really did set while I was there.  Jo gave me the instructions to rent a bicycle as soon as possible (which are the best instructions ever).  But first, I had to walk.  And by walk, I mean, head to 12hrs for their amazing guide to Copenhagen and follow nearly every step with my trusty GoogleMaps app.  I can’t even begin to describe how blissful this wander was.  And I managed to hit up not only the uber-hip Nørrebro neighbourhood (and the crazy beautiful Acne Archive), where I felt instantly at home, but also my fair share of parks.  In keeping with my high weird-loving qualities, I took a break in the Assistens Kirkegården (better known as the cemetery where beloved Hans Christian Andersen is buried). I don’t just love hanging out in old cemeteries (I really do), but I also love heading underground and made my way to the Cisternerne in Søndermarken Park across the city in Frederiksberg.  Super spooky and candlelit, these old water tunnels are now so well curated with the occassional art exhibition.  If you’re weird like me (or not), definitely head over here for a nice stroll.

Copenhagen---City-GridLike I mentioned above, do rent a bicycle the moment you get into this super bike friendly city.  I’ve never had a more comfortable and happy journey on two wheels anywhere else.  Cycle shops, which are pretty much everywhere, will rent you wheels at prices ranging from 70 to 100 DKK per day (1 USD = 6.63 DKK).  A lane for cyclists and cyclists only: free.


 

Copenhagen---Eat-BannerIf Danish design is known for clean lines and simplicity, then the same can be said for its food.  Every bite I took in this city was perfect, sparse in the number of ingredients, and so incredibly satisfying.  My mission in the city was its signature smørrebrød. I’ve been waiting for these guys since forever. And inside the culinary mecca of the Torvehallerne, I got to meet two of these open faced delicious layered beauties at Hallernes Smørrebrød.  Each was a work of art.  And I was probably considered a glutton by consuming two of them. Mission accomplished.

Eats-Grid

Clockwise from upper left: Radish salad with powdered tomato at Aamaan Etablissement, testing out a cortado at Palaeo, cod ceviche with green strawberries and beef tatar with picked currants and urtemayo, both at Rebel

Now that we’ve gotten the smørrebrød out of the way, onto the goodies.  Sure, I tried getting a table at Noma three months in advance, but there’s so much more this city has to offer.  And I’m so grateful for friends who are just as food obsessed as me.  My first night in the city, Janice immediately whisked me off to Aamanns Etablissement (Øster Farimagsgade 12) for the most delightful little four course tasting menu, which was more than enough for Janice and I to share.  Everything was topped with elderflowers.  Food has never been prettier.  Or daintier with all the tiny dishes that left us so very satiated.  My last meal in the city was at the equally delicious Rebel (Store Kongensgade 52).  Once again, each dish was small and fresh, but packed a massive punch.  There is no better way.

PS – Aamanns also sell its signature smørrebrød at the airport too.  If you’re like me, you’ll need just one more before leaving.


 

Copenhagen---Play-BannerWhen I first announced my travel dates to Jo, I was immediately informed we’d be heading directly into Distortion. It’s described as the “annual party-tsunami,” and a “week-long cavalcade of of 111+ dancefloors on beautiful squares and in ugly warehouses.”  And yes it was.  With the sun only setting near midnight, Copenhagen makes for the perfect city with a publicly sanctioned outdoor rave.

02---Norrebro-DistortionAnd where better to start party activities than the Meat Packing (Kødbyen, which literally means ‘meat city’) district?  Where all the cooler-than-cool kids are dressed head to toe in black of course.


 

Recover-HeaderSo after two nights of non-stop dancing, I had to call it quits and accept that I’m now on the other side of thirty.  So I slowly rode my bike through almost painfully sunny streets to meet Jo for brunch at his prescribed Dyrehaven (Sønder Blvd. 72).  The morgenmadstallerken (or morning plate) of eggs benedict, muesli and avocado toast was exactly what I needed to soak up all that Tuborg.

Next, Jo tooks us to catch our rays at the Papirøen.  Not just a destination for street food that’s been housed in an old paper factory, the pier on which the reclaimed building stands makes for the perfect place to get all that vitamin D before the long winter begins again.  As a Canadian, I know this feeling well.

17---Papiroen

PapiroenSo that was Copenhagen.  It was beautiful. I am wistful that I’m not currently there.  Three days was clearly not enough and I’ve got my eye for an Airbnb flat in Nørrebro that’s filled with light and crisp white sheets and clean lines everywhere.  I didn’t even get any shopping in this trip, so yet another excuse to make it back.  Till next time, Copenhagen.  And thanks to Jo, Janice, and 12hrs Guides for the best recommendations!  Next week, I’ve got details on my roadtrip through the south of Spain!


All photos by Tiffany Tsang.  Please request permission for use.

 


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T / happy monday / spanish road trip

So I’m not in Basque country, or the north. I’m currently eating my way through the south of Spain; Valencia to be specific.  And it’s my first time in Spain, so I’m trying as many things as possible! Racking up the pintxos and the tapas and enjoying the art of doing nothing after a week of racing through the arty metropolises of Europe. So of course, I had to share this video…which I had on repeat when this trip was just getting fertilized. The guys at The Perennial Plate just know how to do it. So well.

A Spanish Roadtrip from The Perennial Plate on Vimeo.