Wishes in a Bottle

These caught my eye as it brought me back to the time when I used to collect bottles and place in them little keepsakes – sand, a feather, a note to myself.

Now if I could bottle anything, it would be hope, dreams, and the wish that there would be more love and less hate. More happiness and less sorrow. More acceptance and less fingers pointed.

Something needs to change in the world that we live in today.

Blur of Lights & Colour

I do enjoy living Shanghai. Well, for the most part at least…

Just the other week, I tried to catch a taxi on a Friday night (quite a feat) – finally flagged one down and an elderly lady rushed ahead of me. I politely told her that I was actually standing there first, and she looked at me and yelled “but I have children!” and proceeded to slam the door in my face. Just note that her children were not there at that point and had absolutely no relevance to the situation. However, things like that do add some layers of amusement to your life – I could write a book about the things that happen over here.

Anyway, back to my love for the city with it’s bright colours and neverending bustle. Japanese photographer Sasaki Makoto managed captured the city of Shanghai in a unique and energetic way in his series Shanghai Layers.

makoto-sasaki9

Using long exposures, Makoto photographs flickers of illumination over dozens of seconds, which produce a brilliantly glowing urban landscape.

makoto-sasaki8

makoto-sasaki7

makoto-sasaki6

makoto-sasaki4

“My aim is to get to feel the city’s personality from the brilliance and color of the light of the time stacked in the city of Shanghai. I hope that we get a feel of the fact that we are living in passage of time and also that individual life, city and society are formed by accumulation of time from an unusual viewpoint.” – Makoto

via Faith is Torment

The Nail House

Being in Shanghai, you see things that you never thought you would. You hear about stories that are way too close for comfort. I mean…we recently had a food scandal where they found that people were distributing millions of dollars worth of meat from the 1970s. Read here if you don’t believe me.

They can fake eggs, watermelons explode, and we have dead pigs floating down the river – but all those things can be shaken off with a laugh (and a sigh).

134504196-watermelon-destroying-explosion-shooting-weapon(Image via Framepool)

However, I just came across an article in The Guardian upon browsing through my Pocket – which I rave about here – and it reminded me of a more sombre side of China. Around China, masses of people are dislocated from their homes and paid way too little to move to alternative lodging; an ongoing problem that the country is facing with the rise of urbanisation.

Land seizures have been a problem for years and the term ‘nail house’ has been coined to describe a holdout tenant or occupant, likening them to a nail refusing to be hammered down. One that sticks out amongst the rubble.

Here are some of their stories…

A-house-sits-in-the-middl-001
Wenling, 2012: A house sits in the middle of a newly built road in the city, east China (Imaginechina/Rex Features).

A-house-stands-isolated-i-019
Shenzhen, 2007: A house stands isolated in the middle of a construction site in the business district of the city. The Hong Kong-born owner refused to move out, demanding more compensation from developers (Woody Wu/AFP/Getty Images).

A-partially-demolished-na-018
Hefei 2010: A partially demolished nail house, the last house in the area (Jianan Yu/Reuters).

Chinese-farmer-Yang-Youde-006
Wuhan, 2010: Chinese farmer Yang Youde fires his homemade cannon on the outskirts of Wuhan, Hubei province. Yang uses the cannons, which are made out of a wheelbarrow, pipes and fire rockets, to defend his fields against property developers who want his land (AFP/Getty Images).

Household-Who-Refused-To--007
Chongqing, 2007: A house, whose owner refused to accept a compensation deal by a property developer, is surrounded by the ongoing excavation at a construction site (China Photos/Getty Images AsiaPac).

You wonder what those houses mean to them in order for them to persevere to the extent that they do. The memories contained in each of those places, which will soon be covered by a new shopping centre or luxury apartments.

Do we really need yet another high-rise building?

via The Guardian

In His Words

Didn’t exactly think that I’d be quoting Mark Zuckerberg, but I do like his definition of happiness.

“To me, happiness is doing something meaningful that helps people and that I believe in with people I love.

I think lots of people confuse happiness with fun. I don’t believe it is possible to have fun every day. But I do believe it is possible to do something meaningful that helps people every day.”

Via Business Insider.

A Trip to Almost Paris

I have a confession. I have been a terrible blogger.

Disappearing for months without a word – shock horror. If I ever go missing again and you miss me a little (I think too highly of myself), do check out my Instagram for some art, design and fashion pictures I spot around the place.

So where have I been for the last couple of months?

  1. My roles and responsibilities at work got bumped up so its been an interesting yet crazy ride.
  2. I got invited to be on the Board of Directors for Stepping Stones, an NGO helping disadvantaged children in Shanghai.
  3. Had a family quest to visit our ancestral hometown in search of our extended family, with the only clue being our grandfather’s name (but more on that later – we made it onto the news).
  4. And last but not least, we closed our Refuture crowdfunding campaign successfully…a platform with the vision to make sustainability mainstream. Let’s say yay!

That is my last couple of months in a nutshell.

To kick off some blogging momentum, this post will be a personal one – a “wtf moment” in China for me. It happens less and less these days, but when you come across them they seem to render you speechless. This moment came during our trip to a place that we’ll affectionately name “Almost Paris”.

Together with a bunch of my French friends, we had a mini adventure and took the train to Hangzhou to find ourselves in “Almost Paris”. It wasn’t just a small area – there was a whole town full of parks, hiking trails, villas, lakes, sculptures, apartments, cathedrals, and last but not least…the Eiffel Tower. If you don’t believe me, here it is.

DSC05238

DSC05236

DSC05239

There were also plenty of brides.

DSC05237

Stares and photos from locals were seen all around and we added some authenticity to the city with our baguettes, wine and cheese. Creepy. Nonetheless, a thoroughly enjoyable day with sunshine and grass. Who would’ve thought I’d miss grass this much?

Signing off – you’ll be hearing from me soon.

Juice Up

It’s such a refreshing change to go into a place and see that every single corner has been branded properly. #designsnob you might say (accentuated by the cool hashtagging and all), but that’s what working in an agency for years does to you.

Roots & Bulbs does it exactly that – London’s first cold pressed juice bar – with the help of branding agency Robot Food. Juicing is the industry to be in these days with the health food craze and all things green. As you’ve seen on your Instagram feed. With stories of celebrity juice diets and widespread tales of the health benefits of juicing, there has been a 1000% increase in sales of juicers from 2012 to 2013.

1000%!

Roots & Bulbs declares that “we’re different because we cold press”. Cold pressing is an artisanal technique, which preserves more nutrients for juices brimming with natural goodness and flavour. Juices are made fresh on site each day, and there are also superfood smoothies and wholesome organic meals available over there.

“Working closely with our architects, K-studio, Robot Food has created a unique branded experience. The design blends minimalism with natural materials and contemporary graphic elements for exactly the confident, uncontrived feel we were hoping for.”  – Sarah Cadji, Director at Roots & Bulbs.






via Lovely Package