MAMMA MIA

Many moons ago, when the opportunity first came to shoot with Mia, I casually turned it down – not knowing what a big mistake it was. I was young, I was dumb, I didn’t know better, yadda yadda yadda. Watch out for Mia Loo. She may seem like your typical Singaporean sweetheart – shy and bashful, giggling often mid-conversation – but don’t be fooled for even a second. She is a chameleon. When the camera goes up and it’s crunch time, the girl-next-door vibe is shed like old skin and Mia shines even more than the reflector on set – I couldn’t help but gasp “mamma mia” under my breath. What a transformation. Where was this top model hiding? Recently graduated, Mia paved her own path into the modeling world. At seventeen she started taking part in competitions and model searches, finally landing with Basic Models. You can really tell she wants this and she isn’t afraid of the hard work that has to go into it, something I really admire in a model. And the moment I learnt she loves spending her free time in the kitchen, I knew we would totally hit it off. And she enjoys listening to Florence + The Machine. How cool can this girl get? Despite being a simple set up in terms of wardrobe and location, there was a spunky atmosphere on set, emanating from Mia. Flowing from pose to pose effortlessly, she knows exactly how to make the most of her lenghty body - perfect for the sporty-chic aesthetic I had in mind. Even when the camera was down and she...

ONE LESS PROBLEM

As the days get longer, thick layers start to thin out and hemlines rise alongside the mercury. Summer is the time of year everyone anticipates in earnest - those who have braved through the cold, that is. Here, in Singapore, the season of the sun is kind enough to never leave us, making sure we’re all warm and toasty 365 days a year. No one has to worry about switching his or her wardrobes around every few months. Hot sun, humidity, unexpected torrential rain that releases even more warmth from the ground – there’s no escaping the heat (I exaggerate, there is) that so many of you crave - a craving I could never fully comprehend. So you’ll understand why I’m sitting here, sweating straight out of the shower, and reminiscing over a late-spring afternoon spent buzzing around Paddington, wearing multiple layers, albeit those of linen, in subdued pastel hues. Ah, such simple times when I had one less problem trickling down my face. Moving on, here’s a quick update of what I’ve been up to this hectic week – attending collection previews with the Fashionide, eating, test shooting for Basic Models and Style Tribute, eating, and adding to the #FaiyazExploresSingapore hashtag. Did I mention eating as well? Super stoked about sharing all the photos and stories I have lined up. Until then, watch this space. I’ll be weathering the equatorial weather. Be sure to follow me on instagram, or maybe twitter, or even snapchat (@faiyazzz) to keep up with my shenanigans. Wearing: Zara - Shirt // Uniqlo - Pleated trousers // Forever 21 - Blazer // Bally - Oriano sneakers //...

CARAMEL MILK CAKE

A good thing about being back is having a fully equipped kitchen - I’ve missed having the liberty to bake whenever I feel like it (also partly due to university-induced burnout). Between having a sweet tooth and finding calm in cooking, I need no other reason to pull out the baking tins and my stash of cookbooks. After eyeing a couple of mouth-watering recipes, this one was on the top of my list, and as soon as I knew that we were going to surprise my cousin on her birthday, I was set on making it for her. This caramel milk cake is without a doubt the perfect kind of cake for a hot summer’s day. It’s light, it’s fluffy, it’s cooling and it’s (unfortunately for me) not sickeningly sweet. Don’t take my word for it, you’ll have to try it yourself. Caramel Milk Cake 180g unsalted butter 1 cup caster sugar 2 tablespoons vanilla extract 5 eggs 1½ cups self-raising flour 2 cups milk 1 cup sweetened condensed milk 1 cup buttermilk 2 cups single cream ⅔ cup caramel sauce Beat the butter, sugar and ½ tablespoon of vanilla extract until pale and creamy. Add the eggs, one by one, and beat well. Add the flour gradually and mix gently until just combined. Place the mixture into a 22cm springform tin lined with baking paper. Pop your tin into the oven preheated at 160ºC and bake for 45-55 minutes. Once baked, use a skewer or toothpick or something pointy to make holes over the top of the cake, and let it cool in the tin. I repeat, don't...

PEIRCE-ING SILENCE

Deciding what to wear can be a daunting task, even more so when you don't actually have an occasion to dress for. You just want to doll up, maybe to feel better after a rough day, or maybe because you're itching to take your latest shopping haul for a spin, or maybe because that's just how you want to portray yourself to the world (I'm looking at you, Lady Gaga). At the end of the day, who really needs a reason to dress up? Right? If it makes sense to you, forget about justifying your sartorial choices to others.* Haters gonna hate. Potatoes gonna potate. Something like that. Back to what I was saying. When I think of the word "explore", two people come to mind - Indiana Jones and Dora The Explorer. Don't worry, it's safe to say that I won't be getting any fashion inspiration from the latter any time soon (or ever). While exploring Singapore isn't nearly as treacherous as venturing into the Temple of Doom, it felt somewhat appropriate to channel the former since I was going to be trailing through a micro jungle. Fun fact, Lower Peirce Reservoir is Singapore's second oldest reservoir, commissioned back in 1912. Just seconds after getting on the boardwalk trail, you're transported out of reality. Even the air feels cooler. Vehicular clamour from the roads nearby were drowned out and replaced by a strange sound one doesn't hear very often in this urban jungle - silence. It took me a while to notice that we weren't actually trailing through silence though, we were shrouded in nature's gentle orchestra. The incessant chirping of cicadas and crickets and the occasional birdsong accompanied us throughout. The...

ON THE EDGE

The sun has been hiding behind the rainclouds, colouring my clothes in shades of shadowy grey as well. I’ll be honest with you; the humidity makes me very, very lazy to dress up. Tucking in to transform a kurta into a shirt is the most amount of work that I’ve done in the last 24 hours. Now that I’ve been back for a couple of days, well rested, well socialised and well fed on char kway teow and dosas and carrot cake and pratas and chicken rice and mee goreng and teh pings and bandung and milo dinosours and bubble tea (you get the idea, I’m a glutton), I’ve finally gotten some time to sit down and unload the thoughts and things whirling in my head. In the 9 months that I've been away, my answer to everyone who asked me if I missed home had always been "not really", but as I descended through a bed of clouds and caught a bird's eye view of my little red dot, I felt a fluttering in my stomach - and it wasn't because of the plane dropping altitude. Changi Airport, another place that was home to me for eighteen months, was laid out like a map and I pinpointed all the roads and buildings I often patrolled while serving my national service at the Airport Police Division. Once the dam was opened and these good times came gushing back to me, I was soon drowning in a flood of nostalgia, fueled by selective memory. The very first thing I did upon arrival was head down to the staff canteen in...
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