My day at Google

 

 

I was in Silicon Valley a couple of weeks ago to attend the BlogHer conference. Since I had a few days to spare and shopping wasn’t really the goal of the trip, I thought, why not try to get a tour of Google Campus? It is, after all, said to be one of the best companies to work for. And who hasn’t seen the movie The Internship?

So I did some research and found out that one has to be an invited and registered guest in order to get a tour of Google Campus in Mountain View, CA. The setting of the Google offices are spread out like a university campus, hence the popular reference as the “Google Campus.” It is huge. Like in North American universities, anyone can drive or walk through the campus and see the buildings. But you can’t gain access to the buildings unless you are a registered guest.

I found my way to Google through my friend Eliza Romualdez Valtos, who, through her husband Billy, asked a friend in Silicon Valley for a Google contact. One thing led to another and I got connected with Shrikand, who works for Google Chrome. My childhood friend Nina Carino drove me to Mountain View and joined our little tour. Security was strict. We needed to sign in and agree to some conditions.

 

 

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Google Building 43, part of Googleplex.

 

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The Google Campus is set in the quiet town of Mountain View, California. Lots of big trees and bike lanes.

 

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We walked through so many buildings. Here’s a section of Building 43.

 

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I met my host at Google Building 1950

 

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The compound sprawled further. We walked up to the pond area. Then rode the bike on our way back.

 

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So here’s the real “Google Drive”

 

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Very bike-friendly.

 

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Everywhere you look, you see the Google colours.

 

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Adirondack chairs everywhere. I think it’s to get the Googlers’ mindset into a more relaxed state.

 

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With our very patient host, Shrikand.

 

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This is Googleplex. It’s exactly what they showed in the movie The Internship. Here there is a sculpture garden and outdoor cafe.

 

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Public art everywhere. Here is the famous Google dinosaur statue. Apparently the Google founders bought it as a reminder for Googlers not to let the company become extinct like a dinosaur.

 

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Plastic pink flamingos strewn all over the dinosaur.

 

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More public art.

 

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Don’t let those yellow and blue Muskoka Adirondack chairs fool you…

 

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It’s THIS big.

 

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We went to the Android building.

 

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This is where all the Android operating systems are created. There is a sculpture for every Android operating system like Cupcake, Honeycomb, Gingerbread and Ice Cream Sandwich.

 

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There’s the newest Android baby, KitKat. At this part I saw a lot of visitors. Some were probably kids from the nearby houses. Though it seems to be a destination for curious tourists, there are no official tours as of yet. It’s not exactly open to the public, so like I mentioned above, you still have to be an invited and registered guest.

 

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In my few days in Silicon Valley I was so dependent on car rides from friends like Nina and Gari Camaisa (more on our sightseeing at later posts). California and mass transit don’t really mix. So naturally, a lot of Googlers drive to work. Good to see that a lot of them drive electric cars. Here’s one of the many electric recharging stations on the Google Campus.

 

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Of course I would like to highlight this. One of the Google employees told me that they have very good daycare facilities for employees kids.

 

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We also saw one self-driving car!!

 

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The sight of Googlers on bicycles made me giddy. Gosh that movie. Stop it already.

 

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In keeping with the brand’s identity, all the Google bikes had the bright Google colours. They were just parked outside every building. No one owns a particular bike. You are free to use one to get from A to B.

 

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So of course I had to get this photo for the books. Initially it was just a photo op. But really, after having walked the entire stretch of the campus, I asked Shrikand if we could just bike back to our initial meeting place.

 

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So this is me in the real bike that I rode. I loved it! I wasn’t exactly dressed for it, wearing a dress and French Sole flats. But I had to get from A to B. Loved the feeling!!

 

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These bikes were so much fun.

 

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Saw this conference bike parked outside. It’s a circular bike for 7 people. One person steers and six pedal (or not).

 

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Yes there really is an airplane/space ship inside one of the buildings. These next few photos are by my friend Lylah Juinio, who went to visit with her family a day after I did.

 

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And yes it’s true, all Google employees get free food and drinks. All meals are free. All. Photo by Lylah Juinio

 

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There are over 40 cafes in the Google Campus. My friend took us to the biggest one in Googleplex. This one had various themed cuisines – Italian, Indian, Middle Eastern, Asian, Mexican, American grill etc. And don’t expect your typical cafeteria food. They have gourmet chefs designing the menu.

 

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My lunch. After getting a slice of ham and really good gourmet pizza, I lined up for a burrito.

 

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Sorry for the shaky photo. I was balancing my tray. The pizzas were so good.

 

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Pho soup and some dumplings

 

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This isn’t the first playful office space I’ve seen. Locally there was the P&G head office that had sleep pods and spa treatments. Google had all that too. Here’s one with a pool table. Photo by Lylah Juinio

 

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Some of the services for employees. Photo by Lylah Juinio

 

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They’re big on composting and segregating waste. Yes!

 

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The Google store where I bought some Tshirts and pens. It isn’t open to the public. You need an employee to bring you in. But if you really want Google merchandise you can purchase them all online in the Google shop.

 

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So that’s how my Googliest day went.

 

 

* My trip to Silicon Valley in California was sponsored by EVA Air. Travel arrangements by Jeron Travel.

All my photos are taken from a Samsung Galaxy Camera 2. I love that it is directly linked to the Google cloud and all my photos are stored automatically.

 

 

Good Stuff 100

 

 

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You probably noticed that I’ve been making these layouts occasionally. I don’t use a quick program. I do old-fashioned cut and paste on Photoshop. Since I’ve been doing them for the past couple of years, the most troublesome part for me has always been putting a title on each collage. So I’ve decided, with the help of Patrick, to name this series “Good Stuff.” This is number 100 because I’ve lost track of how many Good Stuff collages I’ve made, so let’s just call this 100.

In my weekly “Good Stuff” collages I will highlight things that I love, wish, covet. Some are from my site partners, some are just picked off the net. It may or may not include gifted items or PR samples. I will indicate if so. All items will have links directing you to sites where you can buy them directly or get more info on them.

This week, my collage stemmed from that beautiful ivory coloured dress from Reiss. Everything else just followed.

 

01 I love the way this ivory dress is tailored. It can give an illusion of a small waist, long neck and a flattering neckline. Perfect dress for day or evening events.  Natalia dressicon from Reiss.

02  Soft Dog Pendant designed by Henrik Pedersen at Design Within Reach. DWR is my newest site partner and I can’t wait to work with them on highlighting some of my favourite things from their roster of good stuff. With this pendant lamp is, Pedersen wanted to evoke a lightness and purity that are reminiscent of Scandinavian design. What he achieved is a soft, sculptural, less industrial form that’s simple and welcoming.

03  Carmen sunglasses from House of Harlow 1960 comes in different colours but I’m loving this grapefruit version. It has this vintage feminine vibe that’s perfect for our tropical climate in Manila.

04  Hand-Painted Equestrian Charm Bracelet from One Kings Lane, on sale for $49. Made of 24-kt gold-plated intaglio, 24-kt gold-plated steel, and faceted glass. You know how much I love my hand-painted enamel medallion charms from Europe. Here is a chunky charm bracelet version from Susan Shaw.

05  After years of wearing uncomfortable underwire and padded bras, I’ve gotten rid of all of them. Since I am slightly built, I have found the perfect fit in soft bras and bralets. Feel free to discuss. I don’t really know if this is good or bad. But for me and my physique, I’m ok with less support. Loving this Trenta Soft Bra from Cosabella

06  Much to my husband’s dismay, I am never going to be a minimalist. Though I appreciate modern design like that pendant lamp from DWR, there will always be a part of me that will like kitsch and novelty. Like this Cockatoo Pitcher from Fitz and Floyd.

07  One Kings Lane works on flash sales. So if this pretty brass tray catches your fancy, click the link now. I think there’s only a day left to get this piece on discount.23″ Grandeur Brass Tray with leather handles from One Kings Lane.

08  Again, tugging on my old soul’s heart strings, this Pioneer Tea Kettle from Jacob Bromwell is perfect for my kitchen. It’s handcrafted from pure copper and is ideal for heating water for coffee, tea, or cocoa. A true collector’s item you can actually use, made the same way it was hundreds of years ago from when pioneers carried them in their wagons.

 

Let’s go to Taiwan

 

 

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“Do you want to go to Taiwan?”

“Hmm. Can’t say it’s in the top of my travel wish list. What’s in Taiwan?”

I don’t know what I was thinking or not thinking, but wow Taiwan is such a charming place. All these years of living in the Philippines, with Taiwan being our closest neighbour in the north, and I never thought of going there? Until now, when I got an invitation from Chal Lontoc del Rosario of Jeron Travel to join their media tour to Taiwan.

 

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Our journey to Taipei started with Eva Air. I thought we were in business class when I saw our seats. They were wide and roomy. Turns out this was Premium Economy. Impressed!

 

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While flying I checked out their pamphlet about the EVA Air Hello Kitty Jet.

 

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I would love to bring my girls on the EVA Air Hello Kitty Jet someday.

 

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Barely two hours up in the air, we were in Taiwan! So close.

 

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I don’t know how to travel light. Haha. This is what I bring for a three night trip. The smaller wheelie was my carry on. It was empty except for my heavy MacBook Pro and cameras.

 

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From the airport of Taipei our bus took us near the Taipei train station near our hotel.

 

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From my hotel room, this was my view. I love the layers and mix of old and new.

 

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Our hotel was the very chic Palais de Chine.

 

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The ground floor street level display showed these red “doors” with all things symbolic in my life – the letter P for Paez and the hummingbird as a symbol of my dad (the helicopter pilot). The cursive P here of course stands for Palais de Chine.

 

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Upon entering the ground floor lobby of the Palais de Chine, we were immediately drawn into a “story” that would keep unfolding as we went up the higher floors – one about travel and exploration. This life-size wooden sculpture of a gallant horse was brought in from Paris. It is surrounded by lush, reddish-purple velvet curtains, reminiscent of a European theatre. A long leather bench surrounds the space, while a giant crystal chandelier adds drama.

 

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Across the wooden horse was the hotel’s concierge. In keeping with the cross-cultural theme of travel between the orient and Europe, there is a giant bookcase conveying the idea of future travels.

 

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The waiting areas reflect European style decor and show antique art collections. As the name suggests, Palais de Chine is an elegant French-style hotel inspired by Parisian romanticism. It is common to see a mix of cultures in Paris, and this is what the hotel wants to convey with their mix of east-west, old-new.

 

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I don’t have a clean shot of my room but it resembled this. Except that I had a corner room so my bathroom was off to the side with a full view of the Taipei Train Station. This photo (and others) is from the hotel’s PR kit. This is the Executive Deluxe room where the bathroom has no walls or doors.

 

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I had a corner room and this is what my bathroom looked like.

 

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I had a wall-to-wall window view the old Taipei City.

 

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The 6th floor main lobby, enveloped in cobble stoned walls, felt like a European castle.

 

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Antique-like mirrors are the signature of Palais de Chine. You find them all over the hotel, including the elevators. The designer, Ray Chen, visited antique markets in Paris to source original mirrors. In Taiwan, he had craftsmen wash away the mercury on some parts of the mirrors using acid etching in order to achieve the look of old mirrors.

 

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Group check in was made easy with the help of Jeron Travel’s Chal del Rosario.

 

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I love the rough-cut stone walls of the lobby reception.

 

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The buffet at La Rotisserie is a feast for the senses.

 

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The dining area reflects idea of mixing eastern and western influences. The ceiling was made to appear cloud-like using the same antiquated mirrors arranged in the shape of the Chinese character “pin” which is also the second character in the Chinese name of Palais de Chine.

 

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The salad bar was what Taiwan was all about for me – fresh produce!

 

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Fresh fish.

 

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Le Bar is located outdoors in an upper deck. It was made to feel like a North African safari.

 

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Just a dog, not a Chinese Fu Dog (which is actually a lion).

 

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Even the wooden floors are made to look old and weathered. Ray Chen asked carpenters to apply a special liquid solution to speed up the aging of the wood.

 

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And the fun part of Palais de Chine… there’s some lovely shopping right below it.

 

The Palais de Chine was my entry point into Taiwan. And in a matter of a few minutes I realised how much I’d been missing by not thinking of Taiwan as a vacation destination. This hotel was a sophisticated mix of old and new, east and west which were elements that I would see throughout my visit. More on Taiwan’s attractions, food and shopping coming up soon.

My trip to Taiwan was sponsored by Jeron Travel, Taiwan Tourism Bureau  and EVA Air.

 

 

I’m thinking about…

 

 

july anthro collage

 

01 I’m loving pleated dresses this moment. And this one with its gorgeous floral print is just perfect. Meadowlight Dress from Anthropologie.

02 Another flash sale. This time from One King’s Lane. Whenever you see a sterling silver anything at a yard sale, don’t think. Just buy it. As long as it’s sterling silver and not just plated. This is extra lovely as it stands on 4 legs. Vintage Sterling Silver Mini Pot Used to be $225 now $79.00 for a couple of day only.

03 Riding on the trend started by Dior, Bauble Bar has its own line of 360 stud earrings. This has the arrow point design. Check out their site to see the spherical versions as well. Pave Stud 360 Studs.

04 Adorable umbrellas with pet silhouettes. I particularly love this one from San Francisco Umbrella Company – “Dog Park” Welsh Corgi Umbrella $25.90 (regularly $40.00) Link closing in 1 day.

05 A perfect combination – carved wood and delicate glass. Wood & Glass Pedestal Plate w/ Dome from One Kings Lane $59.00 (originally $140.00). Hurry because OKL doesn’t keep their items posted for long.

06  India, particularly the Rajasthan area, is one place I vow I should return to. I loved everything – the architecture, history, culture, textiles, jewellery. I’m glad I splurged a little while I was there and bought me some fine jewellery. This particular piece is a beautiful take on Indian jewellery by Amrita Singh. Maharaja “Nadra” 18K 22.00 ct. tw. Turquoise Enhancer It is currently 65% off in Rue La La. For two days only.

07 We are redecorating our home office to make room for the kids’ study area. I’m thinking, something like this would do the job. I like that it folds up. Retractable Writing Desk from Anthropologie.

08 I’ve always been a fan of chunky rings and gem stones. Here’s a good deal from Rue La La. Ippolita “Modern Rock Candy” 18K 14.00 cttw. Gemstone Ring on flash sale at Rue La La for $1,199.90 (original price $3,000.00). Link valid til July 3, 2014.

nawwTy with O&M Home

 

 

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Home of Trish Panlilio

 

Last week I received an invitation for lunch at Trish Panlilio’s home. Unbeknownst to many, the very fashionable Trish has developed a love for cooking. It began as a simple hobby of cooking for friends and as a daily labour of love for her sons. By October 2013 Trish introduced “nawwTy’s kitchen” to her public with home cooked meals on order-basis. nawwTy’s kitchen not only offers homemade a mix comfort food like roast chicken and decadent meals like crab fat paella and prime rib roast, they also can deliver straight to your home and custom cater your events of up to sixty people. For info on how to order, see directory at the bottom of this post.

Trish’s luncheon at her home was also the setting of lovely tableaus showing pieces from Oliver & Maude Home, an online seller of all things monogrammed — acrylic trays, carved tangile cheese boards, pillows, placemats and napkins.

 

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With the pretty hostess, Trish Panlilio, who was hands-on at the kitchen while making sure all the guests were comfortable and well-fed.

 

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With Javi Martinez, Tessa Valdes and Vicki Zubiri

 

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This is the only photo I have of the ladies at the table. Sorry if we all look like we are attacking the paella. Haha. Seen in photo, Grace Barbers Baja, Cheryl Tiu, Rory Manzano and Rica Lopez de Jesus of one of my favourite local blogs heart2heart. So, about the paella, from left to right, crab fat paella, paella valenciana and paella negra.

 

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The very aromatic T’s pollo arrosto

 

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Prawns thermidor

 

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Prime rib roast

 

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Herbed butter logs

 

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I couldn’t resist taking snapshots of Trish’s homey place.

 

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I loved her accent pieces such as this wing chair

 

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I was charmed by all the little pops of colour

 

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That blue chair!

 

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Every woman needs a glamorous reading corner.

 

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Interesting mix of textures

 

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Her pool bar and garden was the showcase for Oliver and Maude’s pieces.

 

 

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Acrylic tray

 

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Julia Morales of O&M Home

 

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Personalized napkins, glass

 

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Placemats and napkins can either be monogrammed or have your whole name embroidered on it. Same goes for the wooden boards.

 

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So ya, in my future next home, I want an outdoor bar (as well-stocked as this).

 

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More monogrammed placemats, napkins and hand towels

 

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The acrylic trays are sturdy and can be engraved with any design or logo.

 

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Monogrammed glassware. This season O&M Home also has a gold santol bowl.

 

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Wooden chopping boards were a very popular gift item last Christmas. I received a couple with “PAEZ” carved on to the boards. Now I have a “Daphne” and a “D”. Next on my list is to have a couple of those acrylic trays.

 

Thank you Trish and Julia for a lovely lunch!

 

For more information on nawwTy’s kitchen check out their Facebook page here, email nawwtyskitchen@gmail.com or call (0918) 936 9854 or (0920) 907 9122

To order O&M Home, email oliverandmaude@gmail.com or call (0917) 809 7287