Remembering Lee Kuan Yew

I don’t usually write about serious stuff on here but I wanted to pay my respects today.

The founding father of Singapore, Mr Lee Kuan Yew, sadly passed away yesterday.  He was an incredible man who built an incredible country, and he has this ang mo’s deep respect.  It’s a very sad time for Singapore, please take a moment to send some good wishes over here.

remembering lee kuan yew


Anserai giveaway

Roll up roll up loves, I have an exciting giveaway for you today!

To celebrate the launch of Anserai, we’re giving away one of our signature Framed Papuan Tribal Shell Necklaces.  Open to anyone over 18 years old and with a US postal address, to enter simply head on over to our website, subscribe to our mailing list, check out our Collection #1: Indonesia // Uluwatu to Ubud, and connect with us on social media letting us know the name of your fave piece from the collection!

We’re on Pinterest, Twitter, Instagram and Facebook and would love to hear from you!

anserai giveaway graphic free papuan tribal shell necklace www.anserai.com_600px

All entrants also receive free shipping and a whopping 20% discount on all items from the first collection (while stocks last).  I recommend you get your skates on indeed…

Have a happy weekend!

Chalet cravings

The temps are creeping up here in Singapore.  January was delectably, wonderfully, enchantingly cool here but the sun is BACK with a vengeance.  Sounds like I’m bragging but trust me I am not – I have northern English genes and they do not do well in the tropics, ha.

Anyhoo so I’ve been having a bit of a hankering for some cooler weather and {as ermm always} Euro vibes – some deliciously designed ski chalets fit the bill nicely!

I looked at the work of Nicky Dobree a long long time ago now {when I seemingly did not own Photoshop…} {and also I don’t know why the hell all my old posts are now in all caps?!  Looks like I used to be really really angry about everything…I digress}.  Her portfolio has only gone and got even better I am happy to report.  Full of gorgeous horn light fixtures, cheeky plaids, luxe velvets, fur, exposed brickwork and slate wall treatments, rustic beamwork, leather and linens galore, and more fireplaces than you can shake a stick {err…log?) at.  YUM.  Feast your peepers.

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Errr yes please:

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{credits: Nicky Dobree}

Life update {festive edition}

Happy New Year loves!  It feels like a long time ago now yada yada, but hope all had mucho fun over Christmas and the new year.

I’m sure it’s the same for everyone but it has been totalmente loco around these parts lately, what with Anserai and my design biz taking off as well as little festive jaunt back to Blighty –  here’s a little update!

1. shophouses in singapore 2. bougs in singapore 2.5 chinese shrine singapore 3. dumplings in singapore yum 4. table top shopping in singapore 5. gallery wall framing in singapore elly macdonald design 6. afternoon tea in singapore 7. jungle hike in singapore

It never ceases to amaze me how much chaos is produced by photo shoots – all of this:

8. anserai photo shoot total chaos

…to produce this:

9. anserai photo shoot results 10. anserai website design 11. christmas carols victoria concert hall singapore

HahaHA, he’s going to kill me for blogging this pic – think this Christmas party costume was rejected on the basis it would boil him alive:

12. office christmas party costume in singapore

13. london at christmas www.caribbeanlivingblog.com2 14. borough market london at christmas 14.5. christmas tea! besties 15. seven dials covent garden at christmas 16. somerset house london at christmas 17. columbia road flower market at christmas 18. cotswolds christmas walk 19. the best mulled wine at christmas 20. family roadtrip at christmas 21. snow at christmas 22. snow at christmas 23. christmas wishes from anserai 24. anserai graphic design and stationery 25. anserai international photoshoot over skype - the wonder of modern technology! 26. anserai work in progress exciting!! 27. textile research in singapore

So this happened:

28. getting pr in singapore

Which meant that this finally could too!

29. setting up business in singapore elly macdonald design 30. gallery wall going up in singapore elly macdonald design 31. colourful gallery wall singapore interior design elly macdonald design 32. orchids in singapore

{credits: moi}

Roll on 2015!

Announcing Anserai

So I promised an update on what I’m up to these days, ermm about a month ago.  Better late than never, hey?

Anserai is a new online home decor boutique that I’m launching with my good friend Sarah, based out of San Francisco.  We feature collections of textiles, artwork and objets sourced from different countries around the world – Bali, Kenya and Thailand are our first few stops – as well as bringing a little taste of the cultures and stories behind our products.



I have literally hand-picked every item for our first collection from Bali and wider Indonesia, and absolutely LOVED it.  I’ve been learning about the traditional crafts and gorgeous array of products over there for the last two years, as well as creating a network of sourcing contacts, and it’s fantastic to now get to work with them.


Wherever possible we source directly from the artisans themselves, in order to help them grow their businesses and preserve the traditional techniques they use in a world of mass production and machine-made products.

We are also ploughing back a percentage of our profits into charities that operate in the countries we source from, more info on this soon!


We are so excited about the launch (which we are hoping will be early December) and are working like a pair of crazy mofos to get everything wrapped up and live in time!

Pulling consistently 70 hour weeks is making me wish I were back in Bali on the back of this motorbike!!  All good fun though, all good fun (and I, unlike Sarah, do not have a very small baby and full time job, so I’m not sure why I’m complaining exactly).


See here for a little more about our inspiration for the boutique, here for behind the scenes biz-ness, and here for some gratuitous antique Balinese door goodness.  Because when you have your own business you can spend as much time talking about antique Balinese door goodness as you like, mahahaha.  At least until your business partner yells at you.  [Which she hasn’t just to be clear, I seemingly still have some door capital to use up].  Anyhoo, I digress, here’s a pretty picture from Ubud:


Come on over and check out our blog Demand Authenticity, for a little sneak peek of the collection and some behind the scenes in San Francisco and Singapore.

It’s been such a ruddy enormous learning curve for us both but we’re loving it – current projects are the graphic design and website construction, which are coming along swimmingly but taking up rather a large amount of brainpower, which is the reason for my slightly haphazard blog posts lately loves.

anserai blog

Please sign up for our news and updates on the Anserai website and connect with us on Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter and [err our currently totally unpopulated] Instagram!

More updates to follow soon when we’re live!


{all credits: Anserai}

Events trending: table garlands

I’ve been noticing for a while now more and more event design incorporating absolutely stunning foliage table garlands.  Here’s my round up of my fave inspo shots, ranging from rustic elaborate affairs to more contemporary and sleek shindigs (check out the Louis Ghosts!).

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And here are a few ingredients that would make a picture perfect soirée!

garland tablescape design by elly macdonald design

{clockwise from top left: antique gold lanterns, olive branches, eucalyptus, white peonies, wood-effect flatware, gold-rimmed charger, white dinner plate, black orchid salad plate, rustic dining chair, burlap tablecloth, calligraphy place card, amber glass goblet, amber water glass, white napkins, brass candlesticks, teak serving bowl

Be sure to let me know what you think, and have a happy weekend loves!

Review: Maya Ubud

Time for the next dose of Ubud-goodness today loves!  On my last trip over to Bali I was lucky enough to be invited to spend the morning at Maya Ubud Resort & Spa, a stunning hotel set just outside of central Ubud along the Petanu River valley.

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We stayed here for a couple of nights on our honeymoon in 2012 (see here), and were blown away by the decor and incredible service.  Things have not changed very much in the last two years (in a very good way!).

The design is pretty fabulous: lots of gorgeous textures from hammered copper to deeply veined marble to rustic thatched alang alang.  And although its a larger hotel than we would usually stay at, each villa has its own detached footprint and is very private.

These images are from a deluxe pool villa, but there are a bunch of other types also.

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Another outdoor shower and a gorgeous sunny plunge pool – divine!

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We’d had a little motorbike crashette just before arriving last time so I couldn’t explore the grounds at all on my crutches.  I made up for it on this trip however, gallivanting around the jungle-filled river valley and multiple gorgeous pools.

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It was just after dawn when I arrived and the sun was starting to peek through the canopy – the best time of the day I think.

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maya ubud bali review photos

{credits: Elly MacDonald Design}

Check it out if you’re after somewhere to stay in Ubud!  It’s a drive from the centre of town but so peaceful and quiet as a result, and comes highly recommended!!

Lacquer in Design: from Myanmar to Miles Redd

We were on a little jaunt around Singapore the other weekend when a spot of thunder and lightening and tropical crazy rain hit.  We ducked into the Asian Civilisations Museum for a gander while the sky did its thing, and stumbled across their small but perfectly formed exhibition on lacquerware around Asia (running until November 16, better get your skates on).

We’ve seen lacquered pots and shizzle around the region from time to time (Myanmar and Vietnam are especially famous for the good stuff) but this was the first time I’d seen such incredibly intricate designs, especially the ones incorporating gold leaf and mother of pearl inlay – just beautiful! {Err please excuse the dreadful pics}

Lacquer Across Asia exhibition Asian Civilisations Museum www.caribbeanlivingblog.com1

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{credits: I’m a little embarrassed to say Elly MacDonald Design}

Anyway it got me to thinking about lacquered walls and their shiny goodness.  I have quite strong opinions on err…most things (no comments, Alistair) but I have to say I am on the fence on this type of wall treatment – sometimes I think it looks so delicious I want to actually eat it, sometimes my eyes get confused by all the reflections and I hate it.

Here are a few monochromes – I’m enamoured with the black #1 and #3 in particular.

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Loving the blues, think these are my faves of the lot – ooh you know it makes a great backdrop for a cheeky gallery wall, interesting and quirky with not so many reflections on display:

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These pair are by Miles Redd, who seems to have a bit of a soft spot for lacquering stuff:

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See here for more goodies courtesy of Mr Redd.

And here are the colourfuls (although now I look more closely, I think that pink one is an imposter, not enough shine to it):

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So what do you think loves?  Do you say YAY or NO NO NO MY GAWD MY EYES, do tell.

Chic in Cape Town

I was looking at some old design mags the other day and came across this cracking Cape Town pad featured in Living Etc a while back.  I remember at the time I took note of it as I’ve done something similar-ish on a smaller scale with the pendant lighting in our home (below left) and it made me regret not adding about 17 more of the blighters to our fixture.

I usually go for more light and bright spaces, but the moody masculine palette and diverse texture range really speak to me here.  Plus the botanicals situation.  Plus the reclaimed wood wall cladding.  Plus she looks like a nice lady.

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But out of all the gorgeousness it was the grey tufted leather sofa that most caught my fancy.  I did a little ode to the Chesterfield (and Queeny) a few years back now but I’ve never really looked into these more modern versions.

So in order to desperately delay for as long as possible the process of figuring out all the costs, both direct and indirect, sunk and opportunity, going into 101 individual home decor pieces (GAH), I have been on a little internet perambulation (hope you’re not reading this Sarah – ha, busted) looking at more of these contemporary tufted beauts.

The one in this home is apparently from a store in Cape Town, but Restoration Hardware’s Soho collection (upholstered / leather) is oh so similar.

soho leather sofa restoration hardware

soho upholstered sofa restoration hardware

Mmm mmm mmmm, I can see one in Chestnut (caramel, duh) leather in my life.

Also check out their Soho daybed – look at it, it’s a monster:

soho daybed restoration hardware


Don’t think it would do well in Asia, it’s about the same size as the average flat over here.  Crumbs.

Ok back to business, accounting beckons.  Wish me luck please…