Thursday, December 25, 2014

Merry Christmas from the Chungs!

I'm married! Wheeee!

We had a beautiful ceremony on 20 Dec 2014 at the Halia at Raffles Hotel. Family and friends flew in from Indonesia, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Australia and the United States. It was amazing.

Hard to imagine that we have already been married for 5 days. The few days after the wedding was spent passed out from exhaustion, and also catching up with our relatives.

Had a nice dinner at home last night with mom's signature beef (and chicken) lasagne, that sour tang hoon dish, beef and lamb chops (courtesy of SY), a baked ham as well as macaroni salad and buku salad for dessert. Yumz.

Met up with the entire R clan and watched Big Hero 6. It was a fun movie and was glad everyone enjoyed it. Walked around Orchard Road and then headed back home.

2014 is coming to an end and I must say that it's certainly been an amazing year. I'm thankful that we are surrounded by so much love from family and friends, and blessed that everyone supports our union.

Here's to a wonderful 2015!

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Counting Down!

A few more days to the big day and things have been hectic. The biggest surprise, however, is receiving one of the bestest wedding presents ever. My sister and baby-I surprised me by coming to Singapore!!! *love*

Apparently her father-in-law is not coming but she told me he was so that she would make sure she had a seat at the dinner.

It's great having all the kids in the house, and seeing the older cousins play with the baby makes me look forward to starting my own family.

Which makes setting up the marital room so important. Who knew so much was involved in getting that done? CK came over last night with all the necessary bells and whistles- bedside lamps la, face powder la, 13 different ang paos to be placed in strategic places in the room la, a plate of fruit la, bowls to eat tangyuan la, and of course lots and lots of shuangxi stickers to be placed all over the house.

We are also planning to get baby-I to bounce on the bed. No live chickens needed! Hehehe.

Friends and family have also started streaming in to Singapore and it's a mad rush having to co-ordinate airport pick ups, meet ups and various meals and hang outs.

But it's all good. I even managed to squeeze in a manicure and pedicure yesterday, and was pleasantly surprised that doing gel nails is faster and lasts longer (and probably more damaging to ones nails but I don't plan on doing this regularly anyway).

Don't think I'll be getting much sleep in the next few days but thankfully I have an awesome make up artist hur hur hur. Feeling so blessed by all the love around me!

Thursday, December 11, 2014

30 Days of Thanksgiving - 16/30

Went to the eye doctor today. Woke up with a sharp pain behind my right eye, and it hurt when I looked around. Worried, I thought about heading to the GP to check it out, but my boss asked me to see an eye doctor instead for a more thorough check up.

She recommended her opthamologist, and I made an appointment and headed down to the clinic. The location, Mt Elizabeth at Novena, was an indication of the price tag that would follow.

Registered, and had a quick eye check by the assistant. She checked my eye sight, and also eye pressure. She did that by using a machine that blew some air into my eyeball.

Saw the doctor who said such pain was quite common and could be due to sinuses not draining properly, and the resulting blockage could cause pain. He did a quick check involving shining bright lights at me, and poking and prodding my eyeball to see if it hurt (it did).

Had an ultra scan (ultra sound?) done of my eye balls, and went back to have it checked by the doctor. According to him, there was some swelling in my right eye, and I was prescribed anti inflammatory eyedrops.

Got my bill and am now poorer by 308 bucks. Although I feel the pinch, I am immensely thankful that I can afford to see a specialist and that my medical problems are taken care of by professionals. Not everyone is so lucky.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

30 Days of Thanksgiving 15/30

Yikes I'm 3 days late. Don't really have an excuse except that I was feeling lazy and forgot hehe.

Over the weekend, we did our laundry. 5 loads worth! For the first time in months, our cupboards are bursting with clean clothes and linens, and our laundry bin is empty. I threw in a pair of pants on Monday and realised I forgot to empty my pockets, and had to bend down to reach inside the laundry bin. A rare occassion!

So I'm thankful that we do not have an overflowing pile of clothes that need washing, which means we can relax for a couple of weeks. Hehehehe.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

30 Days of Thanksgiving - 14/30

Met my parents this evening to catch Interstellar at the Shaw Lido IMAX. So exciting!

IMAX is one of the things that +3 introduced me to when we first started hanging out a couple of years back, and we've always enjoyed watching movies together. The first movie we caught together at IMAX was Life of Pi (the first movie we watched together was The Perks of Being a Wallflower).

I'm glad we managed to introduce this to the parents, although my dad wasn't all that impressed. "The screen is only a little bit bigger mah, and the sound is so loud. Anyone with a weak heart can get a heart attack." Lol.

So today, I am thankful for new experiences for me and my family. May we never stop trying new things!

Saturday, December 6, 2014

30 Days of Thanksgiving - 13/30

Eeks I'm late! Forgot to do a post yesterday because I had a busy day. Work has been piling up and I rushed off to meet Summer for a quick catch up before going for my extraction facial.

I'm thankful for a good week at work. Despite it being my peak period, work on my big event started earlier than we did last year, so everyone has a bit more breathing space and it shows. Meetings with my vendors are more relaxed and everyone seems to be in a good mood because they don't have to rush as much.

I'm also thankful for friends like Summer, who I got to know in my very first job way back in 2003! Although we don't hang out as much as we used to, it's nice to catch up once in a while. Scary how quickly time flies. When I first met her, her kids were only in Primary school and now they are in Uni!

Happy Weekend!

Friday, December 5, 2014

30 Days of Thanksgiving - 12/30

Had dinner at home this evening. Met my mom at Compass Point, and she was thinking of getting a pair of earrings for me for my wedding. She was going to have dinner with some girlfriends, so +3 and I headed back after she had shown us off to her friends. Hehe.

Dinner at home was good, as usual. Nanny made mee hoon kueh, and we bought a couple of tubs of ice cream from Island Creamery, which we had with laopa after our meal.

The mood at home was happy and relaxing and all of us just chatted the night away. Mom came back and we continued talking about random things.

At some point, I asked the parents if theu wanted to watch a movie. See, my mom is game to go out and have dinner but she isn't a big movie fan, especially if it's a horror or suspense flick. Dad is generally anti social and prefers to stay at home.

To my surprise, they both agreed to watch Interstellar at the IMAX theatre at Lido on Saturday night! Waaah after all these years of asking them out, they finally said yes! I whipped out my credit card and made the booking on the spot. Hehe.

So today, I am thankful that my parents agreed to watch a movie with us. I'm always glad to spend time with them.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

30 Days of Thanksgiving - 11/30

My mom sent my sis a text this morning, saying that she had run out of a certain tea that she bought when she was in the US. She couldn't find that same tea in the supermarkets, so asked my sis to give me info so I could buy it online.

Thankfully, iHerb sold the tea my mom was looking for. I was also planning to get more essential oils to make poo spray, so added these items (plus a few more other stuff) to my cart and checked out.

I love that you can get a large variety of stuff on iHerb. And I was lucky enough to get a lifetime VIP membership when there was a promotion earlier this year. So all purchases I make on iHerb are discounted! Yippie!

Yummy is also sharing the account with (you can save a few shipping addresses and billing information), so I'm glad to be able to share these savings with her. Every cent saved adds up!

So today, I'm thankful to iHerb for stocking up on so different things and making it so easy to shop there.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

30 Days of Thanksgiving - 10/30

Aaaand it's December! I'm thankful for this whirlwind of a year, which was full of amazing life changes. Bought a house, travelled to London and Scotland, got engaged... and there is still one more month to the end of the year!

I'm thankful for all the good and the bad that has happened this year, and for all the changes in various aspects of my life. While some changes were painful, they were absolutely necessary and I've come out all the stronger.

Here's to having a fantastic December!

Monday, December 1, 2014

30 Days of Thanksgiving - 9/30

Will do a quick and short post today. I'm thankful for my life. For all the ups and downs that make me who I am today.  Sure, it's easy to wish for a better life, but the chances of that happening are about the same as getting a shitty lot too.

I'm trying to make my life a good one, to leave a positive impact on the people around me. Doing the best I can to be a good citizen of this world!

Saturday, November 29, 2014

30 Days of Thanksgiving - 8/30

Today I am thankful for facials. I went for my first ever facial today (yeh, yeh my skincare habits are appalling) and oh-em-gee what have I been missing!

I was doing research online for "best facials in Singapore" and came across a few blog reviews for this place called Porcelain Face Spa. Sure, they looked like a sponsored campaign from 2012 but the reviews came with pictures, and it's hard to fake images of all the extracted gunk from your face.

Emailed them and was pleasantly surprised to get a well written reply asking about my skin condition and what objectives I had. After discussion with the lady via email, I booked myself for 2 trial sessions. One is an oxyrevive facial (to hydrate and good for first timers cos not pain) and the second was the extraction a week later. I also had a complimentary half an hour pick-me-up facial thrown in, which I will do the day before my wedding.

I arrive at the facial place and get changed and lie on the bed. The therapist is gentle and explains each step that she does. Cleansing, cleansing again, removing blackheads with a gluey gel thing stuck on to a paper and the oxyrevive thing which consisted of jet spraying oxygen and salt water (I think, wasn't really listening) on my face. She finished up by spraying some rose water mist, then a moisturising rose + chamomile mask while giving a shoulder massage. She ended the session by applying a soothing gel and aloe vera gel on my face, and topped up with sunscreen (which is very, very important).

I didn't care too much about the technical aspects about why they were doing what they were doing to my skin (short attention span and I tended to zone out when she was explaining stuff) but it felt so good.

My skin was visibly brighter and felt so much smoother! Amazing! No wonder people go for facials. Lol.

Friday, November 28, 2014

30 Days of Thanksgiving - 7/30

Happy Thanksgiving! At least I think it's thanksgiving based on the posts I see on facebook. Hehehe.

Today, I'm thankful for the love and support that I receive from family and friends. I'm lucky to be blessed with an amazing bunch of people around me, both near and far.

2014 has really shown me how loved I am when we announced our engagement and wedding plans. I'm touched by everyone who is genuinely happy for us and who offered to help in one way or another.

So a big hugs and kiss to all of you out there. Too many of you to tag! Muaks.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

30 Days of Thanksgiving - 6/30

Posted yesterday's thanksgiving a day late because I had crafted an entry and fell asleep halfway. Feeling tired because it's the peak period for me in the office.

It's easy to complain and moan about being overloaded at work (and I'm not saying I don't), but today I'll focus on the positives.

On days that I'm feeling whiny, I remind myself to be thankful for my job because at the very least, it helps to pay the bills. With the year end 13th month aws bonus coming in, that extra bit of dough will help defray some of the wedding costs.

I'm also thankful that no one bats an eye when you go for tea at 3pm. The food in the canteens are cheap and I have really been able to save quite a bit of money because of that.

Most recently, due to circunstances at work (our in house designer quit and the other designer is overloaded), I offered to do some simple web banners despite having zero technical skills in photoshop or illustrator.

Although I'm struggling with it (took me 2 days to do one banner), with +3's help, I'm picking up enough basics to cobble together a fairly decent web banner.

So yay to having a stable job!

30 Days of Thanksgiving - 5/30

I don't really talk much about my nanny, but just like the rest of my family, my nanny has been there since day 1.

Now that I'm not staying at home, having a home cooked meal by my nanny is always something to look forward to. She knows what my favourite foods are and happily prepares those few dishes whenever I'm back.

My nanny works hard to provide for her family back in the Philippines, always making sure she can send them a care package at least once a year. She also has a fondness for korean drama serials. Lol.

I'm thankful for my nanny, who took care of me since young and who has always  took care of us while we were growing up (and still does!), always watching over us, cooking the meals at home and upkeeping the house.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

30 Days of Thanksgiving - 4/30

I've not always been very close to my brother. When you have a brother who is eight years older than you, it's hard as a child to connect with the teenage boy in the house who wants to play guitar and who has an obsession with joining the commandos.

He was a good brother, though, and used to read Bible stories to us at night, and let us tag along if we wanted to go for church service with him. I remember taking the bus with him one day, and he offered to share one earpiece from his walkman, and he was listening to praise and worship songs.

I also learned the phrase "buay tahan ah!" from him and that jeans were meant to be used to wipe your fingers on after eating goreng pisang. Hehehehehe.

I was only 12 when he moved to Australia to study. After that he got married and settled down there. He came back to Singapore to work for a year but decided to move back to Australia eventually because they were expecting their first baby.

With all the bad press about Christianity these days, I have to say my brother and sister-in-law are the type of Christians who lead by example and give religion a good name. The amount of love and patience they display when raising their three children is something to admire. My brother almost never raises his voice and a stern word is usually sufficient to keep the children in check.

Now that I'm older, I'm glad that I am able to have a better relationship with my brother. And with whatsapp and group chats, communication is so much more convenient.

Anyway Co, thanks for always keeping me in your prayers, whether I wanted it or not. I'm lucky to have you as a brother.

Monday, November 24, 2014

30 Days of Thanksgiving - 3/30

There is something special about the relationship between two sisters. Despite the yelling and the fighting, your sister is always someone you know who  will always have your back. She knows all the embarrassing stories about you but loves you nonetheless.

Growing up, I'm sure my sister found me a pain. From the constant non-stop yakking at night, to having to deal with my tantrums and violent outbursts, there was so much she had to put up with. Imagine being smacked in the face with a badminton racket or being stabbed in the arm with a mechanical pencil. (Sorry Che!)

She probably also found me highly annoying. We were in the same Primary school and I remember every time I walked past her classroom I'd wave and shout out "Heeeeyyyyy Che!!!!" Another time I fell down and scraped my knee, and instead of going to the staff room and seeking help from the teachers, I crashed her choir practice and cried to her for help.

We got closer as we grew older, and our bickering made way to more mature (but not always- we can be rather bo liao too) conversations. We'd meet each other for dinner after work and enjoy a meal together before heading home. She was always my sounding board and someone I could count on to give me a logical point of view about things. When I was going through difficult times, she always encouraged me and told me that I'd get through it.

It's the random little things I miss since my sis moved to the US. Singing together (somewhereeee out thereeee, beneath the pale moon liiiiiiight!), going for dinners, cooking together, being annoying by giving her wet sloppy kisses. But thank god for technology (another thanksgiving post on that later hur hur) that allows us to keep in touch readily.

Now that babyWei is here,  it's amazing to see how well she is settling into the role of being a mom. If she could love me so much despite all that happened growing up, babyWei is super lucky to have my sis as a mom.

Thank you, Che, for being the best older sis one could have. And also for giving birth to babyWei who is too cute for words. Hehehe.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

30 Days of Thanksgiving - 2/30

Yesterday, I wrote about being thankful for my mom, and it's only fitting that I write about the other half of the pair that brought me into this world.

I'm thankful for my dad. Together with my mom, they are the first two people who knew me and loved me even before I was born.

He has always provided for the family. Even when things were bad and we had to sell the car and house, there was always food on the table and he always made sure we had enough. His mental strength and perseverance is something I always admire and look up to.

Every year, without fail, he would call all his family, friends and contacts to wish them Gong Xi Fa Cai during the first day of Chinese New Year. He is charming when he wants to be, but usually leaves my mom to entertain and make small talk.

My dad has seen the best and worst of me, and has always been patient with me, giving me advice and words of wisdom to help me become a better person (although I admit I was probably the child who tested his patience the most hehehehe). He always taught us to be grounded, kind, and generous if it was within our means.

He is a night owl, which meant that he always knew when I got back home late after a night of drinking. Our usual exchange at 2am would go something like this. "You're drunk ah." "No... *stumble*" "Drink water and sleep soon la." Hehe.

Even after all these years, I know he still worries about me and wants to make sure I'm ok. And I'm glad he feels happy with and approves of who I've chosen to spend the rest of my life with, and that he will be proudly walking me down the (very short) aisle. Love you, laopa.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

30 Days Of Thanksgiving - 1/30

There's one of those things going around on facebook where you post something you are thankful for, everyday for thirty days. I wanted to do it on facebook, but realised that I probably wouldn't be able to save those posts, so thought about posting them here.

Then I thought maybe I'd combine everything into one giant post, but was reminded that being thankful should be a daily exercise and that I shouldn't be taking short cuts. Hur hur.

So here it is. Day 1/30.

I'm thankful for my mom. Anyone who has met my mom will probably remember her as someone who is friendly, warm and kind. She is also the perfect hostess. When there are guests coming, you can be sure that the dinner table will be properly set, silverware neatly wrapped in matching napkins and food beautifully garnished.  

She never gets mad, and even if she does, she never shows it. I remember when we were younger, the harshest thing she would say in frustration is a muttered "punyeta!" which, according to Google, is tagalog for "what the shit".

One of the wisest things she taught me (that I really ought to follow more) is that if you have nothing good or kind to say, it's better to not to say anything at all.

And I know it's so easy to take her for granted, because she will always be there for you, whether you ask or not. If I was down after a relationship ended, she would always be ready with a song to put a smile on my face. Gotta admit, singing "Diamonds are forever" (who needs men?!) and "Who's sorry now?" is something only my mom can pull off to help mend a broken heart.

Of course, now that I'm preparing for my big day, I'm honoured that my mom will be singing at my wedding. We've asked her to sing something for my walk-in and I'm excited to show off her singing to all my friends (family already know hehe).

I should say this more: I love you, Ma. Thank you for always being there for me and loving me unconditionally.

Monday, November 3, 2014

Sambal Goreng Tempeh

I'm a big fan of tempeh and came across this dish one day when I was buying my lunch at the Malay stall. Apparently it's quite common but I've never had it before! Asked my colleague what it was called and googled the recipe for sambal goreng tempeh. 

Found a couple of recipes and headed to Sheng Siong after work to buy what I needed. Unfortunately, I don't have a blender at home so I thought I'd just buy a sambal paste and see if it would be successful. 

Chose the Singlong Sambal Ikan Bilis because I thought it would go well with the tempeh. And it did! 

Ingredients:
Tempeh (3 small blocks, 2 slabs in each block)
Salt
Sugar
Coriander seeds
Water
Oil
Sambal ikan bilis paste, 2 heaping tablespoons
Kecap manis, 2 tablespoons
Method:
Cut tempeh into small 1cm pieces. Add salt, sugar and coriander seeds in water. Soak tempeh. 

Heat up oil (enough to deep fry) and drain tempeh. Fry tempeh till golden brown, remove. 

Heat up oil and fry the sambal till fragrant. Add kecap manis and mix well. Add fried tempeh to paste, mix well. 

Ta da! Serve with rice.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

The Shapewear Saga

For those of you interested in the shapewear saga, I've finally found something that fits relatively well!

Went to OG (since I'm a member now) and headed to the lingerie section. I was looking at Triumph's range of shapewear when this salesgirls approaches me and asks if I need any help. Naturally, I ask for the most-control underwear, and the most-push up bra available.

She picks out a few pieces of super-tight-dress-like things, some high waisted panty-looking things, and some push up bras with various widths of straps (apparently the thicker ones are good to hold in back fats hur hur).

I have to say, salespeople at OG are generally quite genuinely friendly and helpful. We try on a few pieces and none are as much of a struggle to put on and pull off as the M&S ones. The level of control and shaping is quite decent, and I'm pleased.

The shocker is when she shows me the push up bras that she picked out. After taking my measurements, she whips out a D-cup bra.

Me: I'm not D-cup.
Salesgirl: The cutting is small. Just try first.

LO AND BEHOLD. I AM A TRIUMPH D-CUP.

I don't know how to process this information, but I'm glad I manage to get something that fits. The cost is a bit steep (I've never bought underwear that cost SO much) but I guess that's the price to pay to look good. At least I hope I look good and not fakely well-endowed in my new D-Cup bra. Lol.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

On The Quest For Shapewear

The lady at the shop where I'm making my dress suggested that I get a push up bra and girdle for my next fitting. "You want this *pokes boobs* to stick out and this *pokes belly* to go in." 

Okaaaay. 

So I shop around. Marks & Spencers have a decent range and the salesperson at the shop was really helpful. She picked out one that looked like a swimsuit. "Convenient," I thought. "No need to buy separate pieces."

I pop into the fitting room and strip to my undies. "Pull it down from your top," was the instruction I was given. The piece fit over my head but got stuck at my shoulders. After much yanking and contortion, I finally manage to get it on. I button the clasps at the crotch and put on my clothes. 

No wonder people wear shapewear. My body is noticeably tighter and although difficult to put on, it was fairly comfortable. Feeling pleased, I strip off my clothes and unbutton the clasps and attempt to pry this tight fitting thing off my not-so-tight body. 

If it was hard to put on, it was even harder to take off! I yank and I twist and I sit on the floor, on the verge of tears. I consider buying the thing on the spot and heading home to ask +3 to pull it off for me. 

I channel my inner yogi (from that one yoga session I did seven years ago) and try again. Eventually I manage to extract my left arm, which is now red from all that rubbing, and finally remove the darned piece. 

Plus ten points for shaping my body as advertised, minus a billion points for being so effing hard to put on and off. 

A few days later, undeterred, I pop into another M&S shop. I spied a waist-cincher which looked relatively easy to put on - just wrap around your waist and hook it up. 

I have to say M&S have really decent shapewear. I managed to do up all the buttons and have my waist squeezed by probably and inch or more but all that squeezing meant that my fats had to go someplace - up (back fats, not boobs) and down (reverse muffin top). I looked like I was going burst. 

After having squeezed myself into two M&S shapewear, I thought I'd try out another popular brand, Spanx.Unfortunately, the pieces I tried didn't feel like they had very much control and really just felt like I was wearing something fitting. 

Sigh.

The search continues but I only have a few more days before my fitting. Need to find something soon!

Monday, October 27, 2014

Spoke Too Soon

Ah how optimistic I was when I last wrote that we were almost done with our shopping for wedding stuff. Was at OG today when I realised we still needed to buy bedsheets for our new bed. Lol.

So we shopped around and thankfully OG was having a sale, so we managed to get some really nice sheets (with a quilt cover plus a quilt too) for a decent price. Sure there were cheaper sheets but why not start our married life with something better?

Beginning to feel the pinch in our wallets but I guess that is all part and parcel of the whole works. Counting down!

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Shopping, Shopping

I think we are almost done with shopping for wedding essentials. I've gotten my dress, +3's gotten his suit, and we both bought shoes today. All I have left to do is buy a push-up bra hahaha.

It feels good to know that things are moving along. Counting down!

Beef Stew - Cooked in Pressure Cooker

One of the best beef stews I've cooked. Really love the pressure cooker as it makes the beef so tender.

Ingredients:
Beef, cut into cubes
2 beef stock cubes
2 carrots
1 onions
5 cloves of garlic
2 tablespoons tomato paste
12 baby potatoes
1 punnet cherry tomatoes
butter
water
salt
pepper
3 bay leaves

Method:
Marinate beef with salt and pepper. Melt butter and saute onions, garlic and beef. Mix the beef stock cubes in a cup of hot water and add to pot. Add tomato paste and stir. Add chopped carrots, potatoes, cherry tomatoes and bay leaves and enough water to cover. Cover pressure cooker and cook for 20 minutes once the pressure is up.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Have Bed, Can Sleep

And we've ticked off one more item on our wedding to-do list, which is to buy a new marital bed. +3 had initially thought of looking for one closer to the wedding date, but since we were in town we decided to have a look and see what the price range for beds are.

We were lucky that Tangs was having a sale, and we managed to snag a bed (plus frame and four free pillows) for a pretty good deal. Yippie!

Now that one more major item is done, it's a load off our shoulders. Onwards, we march!

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Pressure Cookin'

Put my birthday present to use these couple of days and used the pressure cooker to cook a few meals. I was initially hesitant to use one (tales of explosions in my mind) but now I'm a fan!

The first meal I made was ayam pop, a fairly simple dish which cooked oh-so-quickly (5 minutes!). I let the cooker de-pressurise naturally and had such a tender, fall-off-the-bone chicken dish. Happiness!

The second dish I tried making today was porridge. I wasn't too sure the rice to water ratio (winged it with a 1:4 ratio of rice to liquid - I mixed stock and water) and read somewhere online that you have to pressurise and de-pressurise a couple of times. I'm not sure what the logic was though.

So I did just that. Turned off the heat after 5 minutes and was too anxious to wait for the pressure to go down naturally, so turned the knob like how the lady at the shop showed to de-pressurise. And that was a mistake.

I had let go of too much pressure too quickly, and rice water was gushing out of the vents. GAH. +3 came to the rescue to help me move the pressure cooker to the sink, so that the induction cooker wouldn't get too wet.

Long story short, we had a huge mess to clean up, I finally figured out the proper way to de-pressurise, and we had an idea of how much stock/water to use. But porridge that came out had the right texture, so I have to say it was a success. Yay!

It really cooks everything that much faster, and I have to say I'm glad we bought it. Yippie!

Monday, October 13, 2014

And The Shopping Begins

Oh dear. Apparently I need to have at least 2 dresses for my wedding- one for the tea ceremony and one for my solemnization. Tried to see if I could get away with just one dress but everyone says no.

Sigh.

See, if I enjoyed shopping this wouldn't be such a big deal. But I'm not a shopper (unless I'm looking for kitchen appliances) and the mere thought of shopping for clothes just makes me want to curl up in bed and sleep.

Thankfully I have girlfriends who enjoy shopping, so I can delegate this duty to them hehe. I'm sure there will be other things I need to buy too (shoes?).

Anyway counting down! Got to get these things settled soon. Taskforce meeting this week. Oh yeh!

Family Meet Complete

We just got back from a weekend in Jakarta and now we've both met all the siblings on both sides of the family. Yippie!

It was a fun weekend, and fun weekends always just fly by in a flash. Didn't really do all that much except eat, go to a couple of malls, hang out at home, walk around the neighbourhood and play monopoly.

Managed to buy some sweet potato and a large block of tempeh, so I'm quite pleased with our haul. Guess meals for the next couple of days are set! Hehe.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Being Disconnected

This is something +3 and I are trying out and I think we will continue to do. In an effort to be less connected to our phones, we have decided to not bring our phones out when we go for walks or keep our phones in our bags when we have meals together.

It's a small gesture but really makes you realise how easily distracted one gets when the phone is within arms reach. This also allows us to pay full attention to each other and our surroundings. Hehe.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Four Days?

Have we figured out the way to "extend" our weekends? Hmmmm I think we might have! The last 2 days was a perfect mix of activity and laziness, without feeling overly rushed. In fact, it feels like we've had a four day weekend!

Woke up early on Saturday morning at about 530am. Had a quick glug of lemon juice and was out of the house by 6am. Walked all the way to Old Airport Road and had breakfast there (mmm lor mee).

Took the train back, showered and napped. This was about 10am? Woke up at about 3pm, had a late lunch (Din Tai Fung you are so yumz) and headed to Vivocity where we ran into Shiny outside Toys R Us. Hehe. Bought some toiletries, hung out at Starbucks and went back home, showered, did some laundry and napped again hur hur.

Woke up and made begedil for a night time snack and then to bed afterward.

We had breakfast at Maxwell market on Sunday, then headed to China Square, Emporium, OG and Sheng Siong. Got back home, cleaned up our fishtank (2 tanks in 1!), did some laundry, then showered and napped.

Took a stroll to Robertson Quay and had a late lunch at Red House where we had Chilli Crab slurp. Browsed around Great World City after, did a spot of grocery shopping then went back home to ... (make a guess) ... nap. Was too full to have dinner hehe.
Monday was a public holiday (yay) so we cooked a nice breakfast- sausage, pan fried potatoes, grilled portobello mushrooms and a cherry tomato salad. So delicious. Lazed about at home, falling in and out of naps, and at some point I think we may or may not have had lunch. Lol.

Met my parents for dinner at Vivo and ate at Madam Kwan's. Walked around a bit despite the haze, and then home again.

Such a brilliant long weekend! I think the key is to go out in the mornings, have more naps, eat late lunches and nap again. Hehehe.

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Begedil / Perkedil / Fried Potato Patties

Oh happiness! We had some potatoes sitting around and I had recently read a recipe on how to make these oh-so-delicious begedils and thought, why not? The ingredients are simple enough- potato, shallots, spring onion, salt and oil for frying. You can add some mince beef to make it extra tasty but I was too lazy to get some and didn't want to waste any meat in case my experiment went wrong.

Made 8 small patties with this recipe.

Ingredients:
3 large potatoes, peeled and sliced
4 shallots, sliced thinly
1 stalk of spring onion, sliced thinly
oil for frying
salt to taste
1 egg

Method:
Fry shallots in oil till golden brown. Remove from oil and fry potato slices till golden brown. Once potatoes are cooked, remove and mash. Add shallots, spring onion and salt. Mix well.

Roll into patties, coat with egg, fry till golden brown.

One tip I have to prevent too much splatter when frying is to dry the potato slices / shallots on a paper towel. Less water = less splat.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Our New Setup

We've got a new set up for watering our plants. The last time we went for a 2 week trip to London, we tried to buy those gel ball things and cover our pots with them. Didn't work too well and we came home to three pots of very dried basil plants.

The recent trip to Indonesia was only four days, and we tried a new method to keep our plants watered. What we did was to set our pots in a shallow basin and fill it with water, and let the soil absorb the water. It was a gamble but when we came back, not only were our plants still alive, they actually looked happier!

We decided to keep this system of watering the plants but now we had to worry about whether mosquitoes would breed. +3 then suggested keeping tiny fish in the water to eat any mosquito larvae/eggs, and the fish would also fertilise the water to give our plants added nutrients.

He also suggested adding plants in the water to provide oxygen for the fish (I think).

Finally got some fish and plants and the set up is perfect. The fish were a little stressed at first and kept trying to jump out of the basin, but they calmed down and were much happier after we added the plants to the water.

Plus we have breakfast at the table and can also throw in some bread crumbs for the fishies. Hehehe.

I'm so happy we have this set up and it makes me really thankful to have a partner like +3 who does these projects with me. As my sister rightly said, this guy's a keeper!

Booked!

Wah, I really am quite efficient. We managed to secure someone to conduct the solemnization for our wedding. Yippie!

It's interesting what people look for in a solemnizer. There are tonnes of wedding forums where people discuss all sorts of random stuff relating to the planning of their wedding. One of the more interesting things I read was of a bride-to-be (who is probably married already) who wanted her solemnizer to have a grandfatherly look. Heehee.

Anyway, I am happy that we managed to confirm our solemnizer (one with a grandfatherly look too haha). One less thing to check off the list!

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Efficiency Is My New Middle Name

Hur hur I'm quite stoked that we managed to confirm a venue for the wedding within a week. We managed to find a place that was conveniently located, had gorgeous architecture and within budget (ok we bust the budget by a couple of hundred bucks but considering most other places were either fully booked or way exceeded our budget, we were happy to confirm our booking).

Next to finalise the guest list, and find someone to conduct the solemnizations. Things are moving along!

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Venue Hunting

I forgot how much trouble it is to find a venue for an event that is within budget, to my liking and also available on the date I want. Lol.

Been emailing a number of places and still looking for a wedding venue. Eeks!

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Aaaand We Have A Date!

For our ROM, that is. +3's eldest sister got back to us with some auspicious dates, and the best date for us is perfect! My brother and family will be in town, +3's second sister will also be in town, and it falls on a weekend (so I don't need to take leave hur hur). Too bad my sister and BIL will already be back in the US. :(

Anyway, we're thinking of a small do with family and close friends only. Easier to plan and more intimate and hopefully, enjoyable. Amazing how everything is falling into place.
 

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Meeting The In Laws

We're back from our trip to visit +3's hometown! It was a great trip, better than what +3 expected, and I'm glad to report that my future MIL is a super friendly and nice lady, and I got her chop and approval. Yippie!

We took a flight to Bandung, and met +3's BIL who happened to be at the airport waiting for someone else. +3's mom was waiting for us at the cafe across the road. Made our way to +3's eldest sister's place and chatted there for a while. +3's mom and sis had to settle some errands, so we were left with the car and driver and made our way to get some snacks.

First stop was Batagor Riri, where we ate batagor and siomay - local Indonesian friend snacks. Glugged down 4 bottles of Teh Botol as well, hehe. Had a couple more hours to kill after, so we asked the driver to take us to the factory outlet (which Bandung is supposedly famous for) and we did a bit of shopping and got some really cute outfits for baby Ivy.

Went back to pick up +3's mom and made our way to his hometown. It's a 3-4 hour drive, and we stopped halfway at Asep Stroberi for lunch. It used to be a place where one could pick strawberries (I think) but then now it's a restaurant with a gorgeous view of rice fields.

Lunch was delicious. We had ayam bakar (grilled chicken), gepok (another name for empal) and tempeh mendoan (tempeh fried with flour). So yummy.

Finally arrived at his home in the evening. The sun had set and it was already dark. Was introduced to his cousin (who stays there as well), had a tour of the first floor of the house, and sipped on some bandrek. Bandrek is a spiced ginger drink, which is served hot with some condensed milk and coconut flesh. It's such a warming drink, which is perfect for the cool evenings that Tasikmalaya has. We sat in the garden terrace and just chatted till it was time to go to bed.

The next morning, +3's mom got some bubur ayam (chicken porridge) from the street vendor down the road. There is something about local street food that just tastes so much yummier than the stuff you get in sterile restaurants. Got to walk around the town with +3 and it was nice to hear stories of his experiences growing up. We drove down to +3's dad's grave after and paid our respect.

Lunch was at another restaurant which had several ponds containing various fish and prawns. The fish were caught straight from the pond and prepared to order. We had ikan bakar and ikan goreng (grilled and fried fish) both so fresh and tasty.

Headed home and took a tour of the rest of the house, had a nap, and woke up to discover that his mom had bought beef sate and rojak, and also prepared a pork dish (one of +3's favourites). We had dinner in the garden terrace again and also a round of bandrek. Slurp.

We were heading back to Bandung the next day, so visited an aunt and then went to have some mie from one of the shops not too nearby. We had to take a trishaw and +3's mom and I squeezed into one. Eeks. I need to lose weight. (Or just say I have child bearing hips.) Lol.

Just as the car arrived, +3's mom's friend sent some grilled ube (sweet potato) so we dabao-ed some and took it back to Bandung with us. The drive back was really long (5 hours!) because of the poor traffic.

Got to the hotel, starving, and took a bite of the grilled ube. OMG. I'm sure the taste of the ube was enhanced because I was so hungry, but I honestly think that it was the BEST ube I have ever had. I might write another blog post about it. Too bad I didn't take pictures! Was too busy stuffing it in my mouth. Hehe.

Walked a couple of streets down to get sate kambing (goat satay) and martabak and then back to the hotel to rest after a long and tiring journey. Met his sis and the family the next morning for lunch and then made our way to the airport and back home to Singapore.

It was a really great trip, and we came back with a sense of relief (no objections from the family!) and happy that everything went smoothly. Now to prepare for his mom's trip to Singapore to visit my parents! :D

The Mystery Of The Missing EZLink Card

Had a strange encounter last week. Was heading home from work on Monday with my colleague and took the train from Yio Chu Kang station to Chinatown station. Usually I keep my EZ link card in the front pocket of my bag for easy access.

The next morning, as I was making my way to work, I couldn't find my EZ link card. Used my spare card instead (which is usually kept in my wallet) and took the train to YCK as usual.

Got to my desk, thinking that I had lost my EZ link card, and there it was! On my desk!

Told a few people about this and everyone said I must have forgotten about leaving my card in the office. But if I had used my spare card I would have remembered because the gesture of having to dig for my wallet then subsequently dig for the card would be something I'd recall.

Anyway I found out that one could track transaction histories of EZ link card, so I went ahead and checked the histories of both my cards.

What I found out proves that my story was what I told - there was a transaction from Yio Chu Kang to Chinatown on Monday evening on my usual card, and a transaction from Chinatown to Yio Chu Kang on my spare.

So how does one explain how the card mysteriously appeared on my desk the next morning? Spooky.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Two More Days!

I just received an SMS and email notification reminding me that I can check in for my flight to Bandung. Not that I needed any reminder, it's hard to forget a trip that important. After all, it will be my first time visiting my future mother-in-law.

I'm so excited! It'll be the first time I meet her, and I will also get to see +3's hometown. One more new place to visit (oh actually two, because I've never been to Bandung too) that I can check off my list. Hehe.

This has been an amazing year so far and I am so thankful for all the blessings and opportunities that I have had. We are heading towards the last quarter and I think things are just going to get better!

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

On Being Positive

Sometimes it's easy to remember to be positive in certain areas of your life but forget to take that same attitude in other aspects. Was reminded of this by +3 today.

It's no secret that I have put on the pounds and instead of doing something about it, I've just been whining and being miserable and unhappy. When the words "ugly" and "disgusting" came out of my mouth one too many times (well, according to +3 one time is already one too many) he took me in his arms and reminded me that I was the one who told him negative thoughts are bad and to replace them with positive ones instead.

And then he told me to blog about it so I wouldn't forget. Hehe. 

So today, I thought I'd focus on being positive about things I don't feel positive about and to take action and change what I do not like. Positive thoughts lead to positive actions and positive change!

Friday, August 1, 2014

It Works!

Just learnt a new technique to stop hiccups. If drinking a tonne of water or holding your breath doesn't help, try taking a deeeeeeep breath and then letting the air out slooooooowly.

Don't know what or why but it works!

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Tomato Basil Bread

I was browsing through the Zojirushi website and came across a list of recipes. Found one that piqued my interest and I decided to try it at home. Tweaked it a little as I did not have dried basil or garlic powder, and used fresh ingredients instead.

Ingredients:
3/4 cup tomato juice
1 tbsp olive oil
2 1/4 cups bread flour
1 1/2 tbsp sugar
1 1/2 tbsp milk powder
1 tsp salt
10 basil leaves, chopped finely
2 garlic cloves, chopped finely
1 tsp instant yeast

Instructions:
Add all the ingredients to the breadmaker and let it do its magic.

One Year


















It's hard to imagine how much my life has changed in the past year. I started dating +3. We bought a house. We travelled to London and Scotland. We got engaged. And now we are looking forward to the next phase of our lives together.

Looking back, it doesn't seem like only a year has passed, especially if you judge the passage of time by how comfortable you feel with your partner.  When I think about my relationship with +3, it doesn't feel like we have been together for only a year. In fact, there's a very "old couple" feel to our relationship, like we've been together for years and years.

But because it's still a relatively new relationship, there is still much to learn about each other and I guess that's what makes this so much fun. A combination feeling of old and new, of being so comfortable with each other yet learning and adapting to live together better.

I've definitely grown as a person in the past year. One thing I love about +3 is how he is always able to give me a different (usually more logical) perspective on things. I also love how we can be absolutely silly with each other, making up songs and dances (in the privacy of home, of course) and yet when it comes to serious business, we work well as a team and are generally on the same page on things.

We have our fights too, as all couples do. But we talk about the issues, work things out, and we have come out stronger and closer as a couple.

--

Thank you, dear, for loving me and my family and for being such a wonderful partner. I've been so happy and am excited about what the future brings us, knowing it will be good with you by my side.

The Pros And Cons Of Owning A Breadmaker


















I don't really remember how my obsession with getting a breadmaker started. Perhaps it was a conversation with 222, I'm not too sure. But anyway, somehow it got into my head that I wanted one and +3 bought one for me to celebrate our first anniversary.

To be frank, I think he wasn't all that keen to get one but I kept talking and talking and talking about it. Thankfully, after waking up to the smells of freshly baked bread the next morning, he was sold.

I've been posting the pictures of bread that I've baked, plus incessantly yakking to anyone and everyone who would hear about the awesomeness of the breadmaker. And so I thought I'd summarise the pros and cons of getting my breadmaker (Zojirushi Home Bakery Mini -  BB HAQ10).

Pros- Yummy Smells + Timer Setting
I think one of the best things about  getting a breadmaker is waking up to the smells of freshly baked bread in the morning. I'm not sure if it is something all breadmakers can do, but mine has a timer function that allows you to set it up to 13 (I think), hours in advance.

Pros- Easy to Prepare
I usually prepare the ingredients before going to bed, set the timer, potter around the house and then go to bed. When we wake up in the morning, it's done! No need to knead and wait for the dough to proof, then punch it down and proof again before baking. Heck, I don't even need to mix the ingredients together. Just measure it out and put them in the pan (in the order stated in the recipe book). It's *so* easy.

Pros- No Preservatives
A big draw for me was being able to bake bread that had no preservatives in it. Because we bake the bread in small portions, it also means that we finish the bread sooner and do not need to keep it.

Pros- Environmentally Friendly
I didn't really think about this but +3 shared that one of the things he really liked is how we consume less plastics now since we don't have to individually wrap each loaf of bread in plastic packaging. A good point!

Of course, I have to be realistic and talk about the cons.

Cons- Space
One of the major reasons +3 wasn't so keen on getting a breadmaker is the lack of space in the kitchen. But eventually we found a space for it.

Cons- Not So Cost Effective
On top of the cost of buying the machine ($338 on sale), you have to keep buying ingredients. To start we bought a 1kg bag of bread flour ($3.50 I think), some yeast (5 packets for $2), and dried milk ($19.90 for 1kg -  why is milk so expensive!). We already had sugar and salt.

I'm assuming the milk powder will last forever since each loaf only requires about 2 tablespoons of the stuff.  A packet of yeast lasts for about 4-5 loaves, and the bag of flour about 3 loaves. So you will keep having to buy flour if you plan on baking bred regularly.

Cons- Hot Loaf And Slicing
Ok maybe this isn't really a con but being used to having room temperature sliced bread from the supermarket, it does get a tad tiring to have to deal with hot appliances when you just wake up in the morning. And we don't have a bread knife so I've been hacking at my loaves of bread with a chopping knife.  Lol.

Cons- The Mess
Again, this could be because of aforementioned hacking of bread but the crumbs make a mess. 
Anyway all in all I do think the pros outweigh the cons and would highly recommend getting one.

Monday, June 23, 2014

A Date!

Oooh I'm so excited. I'm getting ready to leave the office (in about 5 minutes) to go on a date!

Was chatting with a colleague today and somehow ended up talking about Geylang. Me, being the glutton that I am, immediately thought of the beef hor fun and how it's been a long time since I've eaten there (almost 10 years methinks).

Pinged +3 and asked if he would mind going there for instead of having the steamed vegetable dinner we originally planned, and the answer was obvious. Hehehe.

I'm excited because it's been a while since the both of us did something new and different. These days, we tend to meet at the same places or just have a home cooked dinner. But now it feels like we're going on a date and I can't wait!

Happiness! It's almost 6pm. Time to log off. Wheee!

Monday, June 16, 2014

Green Chilli Sambal

Here is a very simple recipe for a green chilli sambal. The level of spiciness can be adjusted by the number of chilli padi added - more if you like it spicy, less if you prefer a milder version.

Ingredients:
10pcs of green chilli
4-5 pcs of green chilli padi (more if you want it more spicy, less if you prefer is milder)
3-4pcs of shallots, sliced thinly
3pcs of kaffir lime leaves, julienned after centre stalk removed
salt
sugar
lime juice
oil

Instructions:
Steam green chilli and chilli padi for about 5 minutes till it softens. Remove and roughly blend in a food processor, or pound it using a mortar and pestle.
Heat up oil with high heat, add the chilli paste, shallots and lime leaves. Reduce heat and keep stirring. Add salt, sugar and lime juice to taste.

Oh Such Joy! - Simple Granola Bars

Found a very simple recipe online for making no-bake granola bars. This was perfect because we do not have an oven at +3's place, and the ingredients required were quite minimal.

Ingredients:
1 1/2 cups rolled oats
1 cup almonds
1 cup pitted dates (I'll reduce this next time)
1/4 cup peanut butter
1/4 cup honey
parchment paper to line

Instructions:
Chop dates finely. You can use a food processor but I just chopped them up with a knife on a chopping board.
Add peanut butter and honey to a small pot and heat it up to melt. Mix thoroughly and remove from heat. Add oats and peanuts and chopped dates and mix thoroughly till the dates are well incorporated.
Line a small tray with parchment paper, and put the granola mix on. Cover with parchment paper and use a rolling pin to roll it flat. The mix should be packed quite densely.
Leave to cool and place in the fridge overnight. Remove the next morning and cut into bars.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Malgudi Days

I'm reading a collection of short stories that I studied for Literature when I was back in school.  Chanced upon a copy of Malgudi Days in a bookshop on one of my many trips to India a couple of years ago, bought it out of nostalgia and left it in my cupboard.  It was only when I was going through my shelf last night did I find this book that I once spent days reading and re-reading in preparation for the exams.
The stories are familiar but there is a new pleasure in reading these words again.  Perhaps my many jaunts in India has given me a better appreciation of the descriptions of the sights and sounds written in these stories.  Perhaps it's knowing that I do not have to remember details of names and the corresponding facts to be questioned on later. Or perhaps it is just really being able to enjoy lying in bed with my book in hand.
Doesn't really matter why, does it.  Back to my book.  :)

Thursday, June 5, 2014

I'm An Aunt! (Again)

My sister has popped, and we welcomed baby Ivy to the family.
Don't want to be biased or anything but I must say Ivy is such an adorable little bub. She looks just like how her parents did when they were babies, and everyone who has seen pictures all remark how cute she is.
I can't wait to meet her. Hopefully my sister will plan a trip to Singapore to show off the baby soon. Haven't met her yet but already I love her so much. :)

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Thankful

Sometimes, I look back at the past couple of years, and I am thankful for the experiences and the people around me that have helped me to grow and develop as a person.
Can't say too much on this space, but I'm glad to be able to have a glimpse at another perspective on things, which allows me to appreciate what I have now.

Monday, May 19, 2014

The Downside To Holidaying

One week after coming back from our holiday and we are slowly recovering from our trip. Jetlag, piles of laundry, and reviving our dried up basil plants.

Saturday, May 17, 2014

It's The Little Things

I was telling +3 that I was unable to sleep well because the aircon in the room made my throat dry and "stick" together. When I got back from work, I found out that he had moved our little Muji diffuser closer to my side of the bed! Such a thoughtful and sweet gesture. I'm so blessed. :)

Friday, May 16, 2014

Random Thoughts Of Someone Who Needs Sleep

It's 8.30am and I haven't slept since I woke up from a strange dream (involving my pregnant sister, a rave party, drugs, and getting lost) at 1am.

On my way to work and only starting to feel sleepy now. Brilliant.

Hopefully I'll last the day and then can have a good rest tonight.

Met up with Cheryl for dinner yesterday and finally got to meet baby Liam. Oh my, he is such a cutie. Had a nice catch up with her, lots to talk about seeing how the last time I met her she was probably only about 6 months preggers.

It's interesting to see how everyone's lives are changing, and how we have all grown and evolved since oh so many years ago. Who would have imagined back then that we'd be talking about grown up things like buying houses and having babies?

The Moment I Realise I'm Not So Smart

It's 3am and I'm wide awake, thanks to a cup of coffee I had at lunch and another cup I had at 5pm. Given my extremely low tolerance for anything with caffeine content (yes, even panadol extra keeps me up), it wasn't very smart of me to have even sniffed the coffee cups, let alone glug down the contents.

Ah well. Shall listen to +3 snore and rumble in his sleep. Hehe.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

The Oats Experiment

One of the things that made me go wow during our B&B stay at the Isle of Skye was the yummy oats that the owner prepared for breakfast.

Porridge, as it is known there, was cooked simply and served with honey or cinnamon sugar.

What we really liked about it was the texture. It was a nice consistency, a litle more "solid" than what we have at home. Excited and impressed, I asked the owner what kind of oats he used, and he shared the brand of porridge oats and some tips on how to prepare it.

Naturally, we went to the local co-op and got ourselves the very same brand that very evening.

Fast forward to this morning and I happily prepared the oats, as per the instructions. Lo and behold! I managed to recreate the same consistency with the oats I bought in Scotland.

The actual uncooked oats didn't differ much in terms of looks from my usual oats, so I tried to cook them in the same manner. Sad to say, while the texture did improve from our usual servings, it still was too soft and couldn't get to the right texture.

I guess the type of oats used really do matter, so once we are done with our stash at home (oats are awesome!) we will start exploring other types. Yippie!

Sunday, May 11, 2014

A Week In London

I think after a whirlwind trip around Scotland, +3 and I were beginning to lose a little bit of steam and weren't too keen on packing our days chockful with activities. When we got back to London, we...

- Went to the Lego store and ate Pasta at the mall at a small (but so yummy) shop, Pasta Remoli
- Cycled to the Olympic Park
- Bought our engagement ring at a jewelry shop in Hatton Garden
- Had a picnic at Greenwich
- Met Emmeline for dinner at Bistrotheque
- Went to the Natural History Museum to see the dinosaurs
- Had pizza at Franco Manca at Brixton
- Went to Burough Market
- Got too lazy to travel out to places like Oxford (but that's ok - next time)

We also had dinner at Hawksmoor, L'Entrecote and bought ourselves a nice 24cm Le Creuset cast iron pot. K and S also kindly gifted us a Le Creuset cast iron grill pan as an engagement gift.

Typing this out as we are heading to Heathrow Airport. Have to say we had an epic holiday and really got to know +3 better. Heading home soon!

Homeward Bound

Can't believe we have to head back to Singapore today. Where did all the time go?

Quick recap of our trip since my last update.

We took the train to Edinburgh on Monday, a four hour journey. Arrived, checked in to our hotel, grabbed lunch. Went to a place called Mum's - food was so good. Walked around the royal mile, to Edinburgh Castle, had some whisky. Also went to look for a Charles Jenck landform that +3 wanted to see.

Next day in Edinburgh, we took a day tour to the lowlands. Went to Holy Island, Alnwick Castle and the Alnwick Gardens. Alnwick Castle is apparently where they filmed the quidditch scenes in Harry Potter.

Took a "Lost Cellar" tour at the Alnwick Castle as well, a 20min ghoulish performance. Have to say it was pretty good. Also visited the Poison Garden at the Alwnick Gardens, and learnt a bit about poisonous plants (did you know rhubarb leaves can kill you? We only eat the stems).

Went to Glasgow the next day, visited the Scottish Parliament House (designed by Enric Mirralles) as well as the Riverside Museum (designed by Zaha Hadid) which had a trasport museum exhibition.

The thing about traveling with architects is that you learn a thing or two about landscapes, public realms, buildings and architects.

Took a 3 day tour to Isle of Skye while K and S went back to London. Isle of Skye and the Scottish Highlands are gorgeous and breathtakingly beautiful. Our tour guide was a history graduate so he had lots to share about the history of Scotland.

Random things I remember:

- Scotland has lots of water. Take all the water in all the lakes in the rest of UK and it would only fill 3/4 of Loch Ness.
- Loch Ness is the second longest and the second deepest, which makes it the biggest lake in Scotland.
- Scotland has an estimated 31,000 lochs (lakes).
- People in Scotland pay a flat fee and can use as much water as they want.

The highlight of the Isle of Skye trip was that +3 proposed. It was a gorgeous day and even the tour guide said that it would be a pity to spend this day indoors (having lunch) when the weather was so beautiful.

Will post about the proposal in another entry heehee.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Monday, April 28, 2014

Today (Yesterday, Actually)

Quite a productive day today! We went to:

Bricklane Market
Spitalfield Market
Tower Bridge
Tower of London
Thames River
Big Ben
London Eye
Paddington
Hyde Park Estate

Ate fish and chips, lamb skewers, churros and a salt beef sandwich at the market. And finally had the dinner at Colbeh that +3 keeps telling me about. So yum.

It was a good day. Lots of walking, taking the buses and train around. Cold weather and sunny skies.

We're off to Edinburgh in a couple of hours so better try to get some sleep now.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

London Calling

We are in London! I'm still in bed so excuse me if sentences don't string together very well. Hehe.

We took an Emirates flight from Singapore to Dubai, which stopped over at Colombo. It was a rather uneventful flight, although I have to say I had higher expections of the in-flight service (a smile is free!) and food. In-flight entertainment was excellent, and kept us entertained in between dozing off.

The transit at Dubai International Airport was also fairly painless. We had a salad and smoothie at Giraffe, one of the cafes in the airport. This made up for the meh meals we had on the plane (too salty- need to remember to book low-salt meals instead).

I found these tiny bottles of nutella there as well, which made me a really happy girl. Heehee.

Our flight from Dubai to London was also pretty good, and we managed to catch a couple of movies. We had better food and a more smiley cabin crew as well.

Landed in London and headed to the cafe to have a cup of coffee. Took the Picadilly Line to Covent Garden (actually the stop after, but I forgot what it's called), dumped our luggage at +3's BFF's office, and walked around.

I think we covered Covent Garden, Chinatown, Soho, Trafalgar Square.

Had a burger at Meatmarket at the Covent Garden Market which was so yummeh. Also had a pistachio gelato but I don't remember where we got it.

My first impressions of London- I like it. The buildings are beautiful, there's a certain buzz in the air of a city that is sure of itself and is not trying to impress. The weather is gorgeous as well, cool and clear blue skies (apparently I'm lucky).

:)

Friday, April 25, 2014

Foodie, I Am

So we're off tonight to London, and already people are sending me links of things I need to do when I'm there. Actually, more specifically, food I need to eat.

Am I so predictable?

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Two More Sleeps!

.. And we will be in London! Yippie! So excited!

Monday, April 21, 2014

Because I'm Lazy

I mentioned in an earlier post that I had a tonne of draft posts saved. Here are some of the headers, let's see if I'll finish them any time soon. Haha.

Gratitude - a post where I start talking about the things I am thankful for
Bored - a random rant about how bored I am in the office
Friendship Life Cycles - where I ponder about how some friendships come to an inevitable end
I Love iHerb - about my new favourite online site
Music - I rediscover my mp3 player and reintroduce music on my commute
Losing Trust - how I feel about some people in my life
Baked - talking about baking the lemon poppy seed cake

Hmm now that I have summarised the draft posts, maybe I don't need to finish them up after all.

I'm The Luckiest Girl In The World

Hehe these were the lyrics to a song I made up randomly yesterday. We had a long weekend (Happy Easter!) and what a wonderful time we had. Three day weekends are the way to go!

On Thursday night, we had dinner with the parents and ate the lemon poppy seed cake that I had baked. Was discussing with CH on whether we would feel any of the side effects of consuming poppy seeds, but I felt nothing. +3 on the other hand, slept like a baby when we got home, so maybe...

Slept in on Friday, went to the shops and bought luggage for our trip (matching luggage too - hur hur so couple-y). Popped by the temple and had a late lunch at the Platypus Kitchen. I have to say, lunch was disappointing. It was a far cry from the last time I had dinner there with CH a couple of months ago - the portions had shrunk and it felt like eating ordinary pasta. No wow factor at all. I don't think I'll be going back there again!

Had a lazy Saturday, went to the TCM to stock up on meds, bought some stuff from Marks & Spencers and Spotlight, and watched a Game of Thrones marathon (trying to catch up!). +3 cooked a really delicious sayur assam which makes me salivate thinking about it. Slurp.

Sunday was productive. We did grocery shopping at Meidiya, ate ramen at the basketball ramen place, packed and folded all the clothes in the cupboard (yay for the clothes folder) to make space for my stuff. Also started packing for our upcoming London trip. Whee!

All in all it was a good weekend. Five more days to our holiday!

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Updates, Updates (Random Stuff, Of Course)

I've been rather lax about updating this space, mostly because I usually start a post and then get distracted and subsequently forget about it. I have so many draft posts about this and that which I really should get round to completing.

Anyway, other than buying a house, the other major thing that's happening is our upcoming trip to London. Nine more days!

I have to admit, though, that in the mad excitement of buying our new place, we kind of "forgot" about our holiday. Which I guess is a good thing, because now I'm not obsessing about finding THE perfect B&B to stay in. Hehe.

But now that the countdown is in the single digits, I can definitely feel myself getting more and more excited about the trip. The sting of writing such a big cheque for the option to purchase our house has also somewhat subsided, and I'm feeling less stingy about how much money I want to bring. Lol.

I'm also excited to meet +3's BFF, whose place we will crashing at when we are there. With all his best buds all over the world, it's not so easy to get to meet all of them! (I need more international friends too!)

And the food! And the markets! And we are going to Edinburgh! And the Isle of Skye! We might even catch a musical!

Also in unrelated news, I baked a Lemon Poppy Seed cake yesterday. Unfortunately my first batch of cake batter was made using salt instead of sugar (never assume!) but luckily I had enough ingredients for a second batch. It was sosososo yummy. I also made a lemon glaze that made everything come together so well. Happiness!

And I'm going to be an aunt soon! Yes, I know I'm already an aunt to my brother's three beautiful children, but now my sister is expecting. Whee! Her due date is in early June, but I think I may only be able to visit in Jan next year.

As part of the baby shower, +3 and I sponsored an MMA cage for Baby Wei, as well as some matching apparel for her careee as an MMA superstar. Lol.

Mmm I think that's about it! Family is well, love life is going strong, work is good. I'm blessed and always so thankful for it. Now to enjoy the long weekend.

:)

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Random Things I Miss About My Ex Workplace

1. Colleagues who are taller than me
2. Good looking colleagues (both male and female)
3. No bad smelling colleagues (none that I knew of at least)
4. Proximity to lots and lots of good food
5. Two hour lunches

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Time Warp

It's one of those days in the office where time is crawling by ever so slowly.

I had a lunchtime class from 12-1pm, and then had a nice leisurely lunch after.

I cleaned up my desk (a major feat, considering how many piles and piles of stuff I managed to accumulate) and now can actually see my table's surface.

I cleared out my cupboard and got rid of all the old work samples that are not needed anymore.

I surfed the net.

I chatted with people.

And still, it's not yet time to knock off work.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

We Bought A House!

We did it! Went down to the showflat with my parents today and signed on the dotted line. Man, buying a house sure requires a lot of paperwork and signatures.

But oh yeh! First step is done. Still need to finalise the bank loan yada yada, but will focus on that next week.

It's so exciting! Our place will only be ready in 2017, so that gives us a bit more time to save up for furniture and think about what we want and how we want to do up the place.

And it does feel like a load off our backs now that we've kickstarted the whole process. Looking forward to a new chapter in our lives! :)

Saturday, March 29, 2014

It's Been A While

It's almost 4am and I'm wide awake. It's been a while and I blame the cup of teh-o I had this afternoon for my tea break. It doesn't help that I'm hungry too.

Sigh.

Maybe I should get me something to eat. At least my belly will be happy. Lol.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

These Are A Few Of My Favourite Things

I mentioned in an earlier post that +3 recently bought a juicer and I have to say, that is one of our favourite purchases to date.

We've stopped juicing lotus root because it clogs up the juicer and we have to wash it a couple of times just to finish juicing one lotus root. Much too troublesome.

Instead, we start our mornings with a fruit and vegetable juice. I try to vary it and so far we've juiced the usual- apples, carrots, celery, tomatoes, spinach, to the not so usual- brocolli, bittergourd, grapes, ginger.

It's fun trying to mix and match and create yummy juices, and it's good for our health too.

While buying the juicer, I chanced upon a water filter jug that was selling for only $39. It was the display piece and was originally sold for $59. I'd been looking for a water filter jug but was always quite reluctant to buy one as they tend to be quite pricey.

Anyway, I bought that water filter jug and use it in the office. No more buying bottled water, yay! Use less plastice and drink more water. Wheee!

A couple of weeks later, the electric kettle at +3's place died and he had to get a new one. Found one that was silver and black and matched the juicer (heehee). Small purchase but I like that we are slowly accumulating things that will go to our new home.

Speaking of which...

We are buying a place! More details to come once we have finalised the purchase but wheeeee! We are going to be home-owners! Our parents have given their blessings and now all we need to do is confirm the unit that we want and make the first payment and hope our application is successful.

:D

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Fart of Love

Sometimes when you are feeling bloated, it feels really good to let rip a fart. Hehe.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

The Seven Minute Workout

There's an app that I came across the other day that guides you through a series of short, simple exercises which takes a total of seven minutes to complete. The science behind it is that this will get your heart beat going and raises your metabolism bla bla bla.

We downloaded the app and never really did anything about it until Saturday, when +3 suddenly asked, "Do you have seven minutes?" and started doing jumping jacks.

So I joined him in the exercises- jumping jacks, wall sit, push up, crunches, planks, leg steps, running on the spot with high knees, lunges, tricep dips, rotating push ups, and side planks. All for 30 seconds per exercise with a short rest break in between.

The exercises are easy enough, but considering our fitness levels, we were huffing and puffing towards the end. You do work up a good sweat though, and today I ached in places I forgot existed.

We did the seven minute workout again today, and all I can say is sorry to our downstairs neighbours for the sounds of elephants stomping on their ceiling. Lol.

It's good though and hopefully we can sustain doing this more often. Do you have seven minutes today?

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Happy Weekends

Been really lazy to write here, but here are some happy stuff that happened in the past few weekends.

- Paint! We bought a small piece of canvas and decided to paint together one day. I must say +3 is a really good teacher, explaining concepts of light and colour and going through the basic steps. We decided on a painting of a sunflower, and I got to draw the flower, paint the base colours, and mix the paint. I'm really bad at the details though, so he took over and made my flat sunflower come to life. A couple of hours later, a masterpiece was born.

- Walk! We realised that our weekends were beginning to get increasingly inert, and decided to make more of an effort to get off our arses and walk. Plus, what's the point of living in the city if you don't get out to enjoy the convenience of its location? So while home cooked brunches are awesome, going out to jalan jalan is also just as fun and it gets us out and about.

- Juice! Went to the TCM cos +3 had been having some stomach cramps. Turns out it might be a stomach ulcer and the poor guy has had to cut coffee, spicy foods and sour stuff from his diet. It was recommended that he also take lotus root juice every other day, which is apparently good for the stomach. Bought a juicer and we've been juicing. Not just lotus root juice, but fruit and vegetable juices as well. Yummy!

It's already March! 2 months down, 10 more to make a fantastic 2014!

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Die Worms, Die!

Had a chat with +3 about worms. Specifically intestinal worms, and he shared his first experience pooping worms after taking some de-worming medication. Since then, he used to take the de-worming medication regularly when he was still living in Indonesia.

Anyway apparently most of us have worms, but living in sanitised Singapore, it's probably not too serious. However, +3 reminded me of my trips to the Philippines, India, Indonesia and Malaysia and suddenly the idea of having these creepy crawlies in my gut just got a bit more real.

The medication he used to take is called Combantrin but they don't carry it in Singapore. A quick check at the pharmacies produced Zentel, another de-worming medication also quite commonly used.

Spoke to CH about it and got her paranoid enough to take Zentel, especially since she has traveled to more exotic places than I have. No visible worms on her poop though. Phew!

+3 and I just took our dose of Zentel and will see tomorrow how its. Hoping I don't have anything too gross coming out of my bum tomorrow. Wish me luck!

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Done and Done!

Ahhh it feels so nice to cross out items on the to-do list. +3 and I had a couple of things planned for the longest time that we never really got round to doing.

First was going to Universal Studios Singapore. My workplace had a promo on tickets to USS so I asked +3 if he wanted to go. This was way back, way back when we weren't even officially going out!

I collected the tickets and we kept saying that we'd go, but never really made it happen. Fast forward to a couple of weeks ago when I looked at the tickets again and saw that they were going to expire on 28 Feb!

Nothing to motivate you more than a couple of soon-to-expire tickets, and we headed down to Sentosa on Sunday.

USS was pretty fun. The rides were interesting and the queues weren't as bad as when USS had first opened. We had a great time and even had 20 bucks off our food purchase, thanks to a food voucher that came with the tickets. Score!

The other item on the to-do list was to stuff face with crab at Mellben Seafood. I bought a groupon voucher and only got round to making reservations on the day before the voucher ended. Heehee.

We ordered crab bee hoon, salted egg yolk crab, and sambal kangkong. OMG so much food, so much yum. Everything that came was so yummy, and we were licking our fingers and rubbing our bellies at the end of the meal.

The only downside was that food took a really long time to come (an hour or so) but entertained ourselves with a drawing contest lol.

Anyway it was fun finally doing these things that had been planned months ago. But lesson learned, pre-planning is not one of our strong points. I think we'd be better off with impromptu plans instead.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Dong Dong Qiang!

It's the eve of the eve of Chinese New Year and boy, do I feel festive. Maybe it's the in-store music, maybe it's the bombardment of all that red everywhere.

Nonetheless, it's great to celebrate so wishing everyone a prosperous year ahead. Huat ah!

Monday, January 27, 2014

Things I Learned This Weekend

It's been a great weekend spent with my brother and his family, and I'm glad I decided to come over to Penang to catch up with them before they go back.

It was a little different from the type of holidays I'm used to though.

For one, holidays with children means that food and activities will be centred around what they will or will not eat, and what will keep them entertained.

They had booked themselves in a hotel that had a big-ish pool so that the kids could play in the pool in the afternoons. The downside was that the hotel was a little far from town, and nearby food options were quite limited.

My first meal in Penang? MacDonalds. Lol. Which, of course, the kids loved. We had tze char from the nearby coffee shop for dinner that day.

The plan was to explore the street art along Armenian Strert in Georgetown so we booked a taxi to head down. It was a very nice and pleasant walk around, looking for the street art and exploring the town.

After having roti canai for breakfast, we walked around and took the free shuttle bus, and went hunting for the famous Penang assam laksa.

The shop was packed and we had assam laksa, rojak, char kuey teow and cendol while the children ate bread buns.

Took the bus back to the hotel, an hour's ride but really convenient. Spent the rest of the afternoon napping while the kids played in the pool again.

Dinner was at a nearby western restaurant because the kids wanted spaghetti. Lol.

Had dim sum the next morning while my brother went to MacDonalds to pack breakfast for the kids. Then we headed back to the hotel to pack.

I had originally booked an extra night in the same hotel as my flight was the day after my brother left. But after chatting with +3 we decided to book me in a hotel that was actually in town so that I could easily find food and walk around easily. (Gotta love +3!)

Took the bus to town again and checked in. Am so glad that I changed my room! Walked about, had the assam laksa again, went to the market, got back when it got hot. Went out again in the evening, had a ramlee burger, and back.

Location really does make a difference hehe. I enjoyed my walk about last evening- there are so many beautiful old buildings around.

Anyway I am having the hotel buffet breakfast now, leeching off their wifi, and planning my day. Back home today!

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Penang!

I've booked my first trip of 2014! Was chatting with my brother (who is *still* on holiday) and the last leg of his trip will be in Penang over the weekend, before they all head back to Perth.

It's been a lull period in the office and I've been itching to book a trip so decided to join them in Penang.

How exciting! I'm so pleased that I will be able to see the kids again and I don't think I've been to Penang, unless it was when I was a child.

Looking forward to the good food and playing with the kids. Wheee!

Thursday, January 16, 2014

My Quest For The Perfect Pair Of Shoes

There's a saying that goes something like this- In this world there's no such thing as an ugly girl, only a lazy girl.

What this means is that any woman, regardless of how she looks, can become beautiful if she puts in the effort. And how true this is. The internet is full of before and after pictures of plain janes who transform to beauty queens with the magic of make up.

Unfortunately (or fortunately?), I'm a lazy girl when it comes to my looks. I barely use any make up, can't be bothered to dress up, and can happily leave the house with messy hair (ask my mom).

Of course, I can't deny that I am blessed. No acne or scars that need covering up, nothing about my face that I do not like or would want to change.

I do have moments where I feel girly and want to dress up, but those moments are few and far between. Usually I'm quite content to just be comfortable, walking around in flip flops (fit flops to be exact, hur hur).

Thing is, I was snooping around on the corporate website and found an article about dress code in the office. Bla bla bla about looking professional and then I saw the line that said "No flip flops or sandals."

Say, what?

Ok la, I can't say I didn't know flip flops were too casual for the office, I just didn't really care. But that got me thinking.

Wouldn't it be nice to find the perfect pair of shoes? One that is comfortable enough to walk long distances, of good enough quality to last a while, basic enough to match anything I wear, and decent looking enough to pass off as almost professional (ok, to pass off as NOT casual. No need to be professional haha).

I'm sure such a pair of shoes exist. I added the bit about quality because there are these ballet flats-type of shoes that are comfy, match almost anything and can pass in the workplace, except they tend to fall apart after a month or so.

So that's what I am going to look out for this year. Me? Shopping? Wish me luck.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Happy 2014!!!

What a perfect way to usher in the new year, high on the caffeine buzz from our new Nespresso machine and surrounded with family and loved ones.