Katie Kay @instantgoddess recently swapped her sun-drenched, tropical life to head back ‘home’ to London. Known in Singapore as one half of local designer champions and style influencers, @MsYinMsYang, Katie was recognisable for dressing in a kaleidoscope of colour, by direct contrast to her monochromatic other half Ms Yin. Elyse & i caught up with her to see how she was adjusting to a life less luminous and find out if a closet brimming with rainbow hues and kaftans translates to a cooler European climate.
E&i - Home is where….the heart is...your wardrobe is...tell us how you are settling back into life in London.
KK – It has been very weird being back: think time warp and serious case of déjà vu (glitch in the Martrix etc.) and then you’ll get the idea! I arrived back to our family home in Wandsworth, South West London towards the end of the Summer (basically when the epic British heatwave broke leading me to conclude that it was in actual fact fake news and didn’t really happen). We had only been in Singapore two years so it felt like an extended summer holiday in a way, especially because of the wonderful never-ending Singaporean summer. I love Asia, having also lived in Hong Kong for 7 years, I have nothing but fond regard for S.E Asia. So, would I move back to Asia? It’s such an emotional wrench to relocate, I’m not sure now, whether I have it in me again and as my daughter, Gracie, gets older it becomes more and more difficult with schools and friendships to keep-up the professional nomad lifestyle. But never say never and all that.
E&i - Your style hallmark is…..how has your style adapted since moving from SG to London, kaftans at the back of the closet or wear them with tights and cowboy boots? We’ve seen and loved the rainbow jumpers!
KK -So the obvious difference to living in endless summer is that a sundress 24/7 no longer cuts it. Due to the infamous British seasonal and unseasonal weather, layering is key whatever the season (which I find so tedious). In the summer, I could easily adapt my Singaporean style - maxis and jumpsuits with an embellished jacket or two. Even though winter really is coming and I am feeling the freeze,it is still all about the colour for me - I refuse to go back to black!
When I unpacked my UK Winter wardrobe from two years of storage, it was so black interspersed with a lot of grey - this really threw me. So I had to seek out a new look - primary colour trousers and rainbow jumpers have become my daily uniform. Dresses and skirts just don't have the same appeal for me in winter climes.
E&i - Your weekend routine is…centred on family life or finding the best instagrammable-walls for the week’s posts?
KK -There is no denying that I do love an instagrammable wall (door or floor for that matter), so yes if there is a photo opp, much to the annoyance of my resident photographers (The8YearOld is Gracie and Steve Thehusbandofinstagram) I will ask if they can take a photo. Normally, this is met with much grumbling. Apart from that, we’ve been catching up with family and friends at the weekends since we’ve been back. And don’t forget the dreaded homework…The UK loves homework and testing kids!
E&i - The best discoveries you've made since being back in London are…
KK - Oh…I should be able to rattle off a load of cool restaurants and exhibitions, but my best discoveries have been The Beachbody program and some absolutely amazing independent fashion labels.
E&i - The most surprising thing about moving back to London from Asia was…
KK -I was pleasantly surprised by the number of freshly painted houses in my neighbourhood including a stunning mural. The house paint jobs are obviously not a patch on the Singaporean shop house, but Londoners are embracing the painted house in lovely hues of pink, blue, yellow and green which made my little instaheart jump for joy. And of course, I am most definitely missing my style partner in crime @sabrinasikora who taught me everything I know about how to nail a fashion shot.E& i - The best fashion finds or style secrets you've uncovered since moving to London are….
KK – I am really loving the independents that I’ve come across on Instagram. My current favourites are @themeekboutique @stylingmatters, @prestigeboutique @eyezonzanelli (I am completely addicted to her stories where she showcases new stock) @watsonandwhite (they have fab jumpers) @tlmedit (again fab jumpers) @southoftheriver.boutique (fab everything) @kemitelford (for amazing African print skirts and funky slogan Tees) and @ginagpotter (for her signature digital printed lips on Tees).
E& i - If you had to single out the one thing I miss most about Singapore it would be….
KK – The SUN.
COMPARE & CONTRAST -
Top 5 : LONDON
- Favourite local hangout – Kings Rd (The Ivy for lunch and BlueBird for dinner)
- Favourite museum – V&A (Victoria & Albert Museum)
- Favourite ‘outdoors’ spot – Southbank riverside walk
- Favourite local food – Chips at Bradys Fish Restaurant (they are so good that I have them for dessert as well as with my main)
- Favourite London neighbourhood OR favourite date night spot – Marylebone for leisurely mooching around to feel posh. Don’t do date nights!
Top 5 : SINGAPORE
- Favourite local hangout – Duxton Hill
- Favourite museum – National Gallery
- Favourite ‘outdoors’ spot – Tanjong Beach Club
- Favourite local food – Din Tai Fung (but it’s coming to London!)
- Favourite neighbourhood OR favourite date night spot – Keong Saik Rd
Find Katie Kay on instagram at @instantgoddess don something colourful and hashtag #dressinghappy!