A stress-related breakdown inspired Bella Koh to quit her day job and focus on the good life, one that's rich with an acute appreciation of what the everyday has to offer. Living by the tenets of the slow movement, Bella's immersion in the slow life has seen her spreading the gospel to grow a community of fellow 'conscious consumers'. While the slow movement isn't new, it is certainly beginning to pick up speed here in Singapore. Bella, who's also the face behind the popular instagram account @catslavery, lets us in on what it truly means to savour the slow life.
I'm a food stylist and founder of Flea & Trees SLOWHOUSE. I live in Singapore now because it's close to all the Asian countries I love to visit.
What does the 'slow life' mean to you?
It's a life of health and sustainability, one where you take a step back to enjoy the normality of everyday. That means listening to the wind, watching the sun set, making something with our bare hands, taking in the smells of freshly cut grass and tasting food in its most original state. It's really about being more aware of all our five senses.
How did you come to embody this particular life philosophy?
Six years ago, I was bogged down by work stress and regular gastric problems. After I quit my day job, I decided to care more for myself. Turning vegan and taking up yoga have been the best things I've ever done.
Tell us more about Flea & Trees SLOWHOUSE?
Flea & Trees SLOWHOUSE promotes slowing down life's pace and looking after our well-being by seeking the right balance as a conscious consumer.
How did you begin to be involved in Flea & Trees SLOWHOUSE?
With my experience in fashion buying and product development, it was natural for me to start a curated boutique. I was also conscious of the power of social media and decided to bring my brand to the next level through this medium. Somehow, all these elements integrated with my lifestyle and it has been an amazing journey so far; especially being able to share this experience with customers.
How can someone attempt to live the 'slow life' philosophy?
It starts with your health. Take up a sport, eat well, smoke less, drink less and learn to spend more time with yourself. Surround yourself with people who inspire you and adopt this same mindset, even on social media. You will find it rejuvenating. If all else fails, quit your day job. Become a yoga teacher, a technopreneur or be your own boss and start something you're passionate about. You won't regret it.
Keen to seek out the slow life? Here are Koh's recommended top spots that adopt this life philosophy.
I'm halfway to being 'alcohol-free', but I hear that juicing is the new alcoholism. I love to fuel this addiction of mine in a well-designed space like this one. They offer an array of 100% organic cold-pressed juices using ultra-fresh ingredients.
68 Duxton Road
This place has good food and gorgeous interiors. A raw food eatery along Keong Saik road, Afterglow serves up a truly transformative farm-to-table dining experience. You must try their delicious 'raw bakes'.
24 Keong Saik Road
Flea & Trees SLOWHOUSE
I began this venture to promote a movement of slowing down life's pace, taking the time to be aware of one's surroundings, and seeking the right balance as a conscious consumer. Leading a slow life is all about health and sustainability. You learn to pull back, see the big picture, and take the time to enjoy the normality of the everyday.
68 Seng Poh Lane
Shopping at this laid-back flea market is a great alternative to big box retailers. Held twice a month, you'll find everything from vintage garments to small-batch beauty products. Take your time to browse through artisanal creations and locally-sourced goodies.
Various locations, check www.public-garden.com
ColBar Eating House
Life can get busy, but there's nothing that can't be fixed with a pitstop at this old school joint. It used to be a canteen of sorts for members of the British Army. At the end of a long day, I love to wind down here and enjoy the sound of cicadas at dusk.
9A Whitchurch Road
About Charlotte Chen