The Drinks

At a recent friend's wedding dinner, this sight amused me but I should already be used to it.

Most of the guests have left, leaving just the bunch of us closer friends. The merry making made the group oblivious to the time, and we went way past the closing time of the restaurant.

Finally, when asked to leave, the guys realised they had all these bottles of half drunk alcohol they brought. So the pouring began!

Formula 1 - Singapore Grand Prix

I actually made it to watch the qualifying round of the first ever Formula 1 night race!

We were hanging out at Greenwood Avenue with 2 other couples having dinner at Pepperoni. While deciding what to do after dinner, one of the girls suddenly quipped that her brother had 3 tickets to give away. Her husband, not being a fan, had preferred to hang out with us all, rather than to go (again, for him) to watch an F1 race.

So, as it was, the guys were only too ready to let us 3 girls go experience the race. It was then a mad rush to get home to pick up a (better) camera, and head to the race venue. The guys ended up chilling at our home.

Anyway, as far as an untrained eye (and ear), and non-fan's opinions of the race goes - the atmosphere certainly had a buzz in it. I for one was quite thrilled by just how loud the engines of the cars go, especially the tud-tud-tud sounds they make when shifting gears to make the bends.

I had borrowed Roboman's SLR, after getting a 2 minute verbal guide about how to use it. Alas, I just could not understand that piece of equipment, and ended up using my trusty Canon Ixus 8015.
We were seated near a stairwell where we could climb to look down at the cars as they made a sharp turn. We weren't allowed to photograph the cars right from above them (perhaps for security and safety reasons), so we positioned ourselves diagonally above, hoping to get glimpses of the cars. After many fluke shots (they were JUST TOO FAST), this photo below is the best one I got. Muahahahaha
So am I now an F1 convert? A fan friend texted me after the race. Hmmm...unfortunately no. Besides the flash cars, and engine wooshes, and the glitz that goes with it, I must say it is more of great marketing than a great sport to watch.

Still, I'm proud that Singapore pulled this iconic event off, the horrid squeeze of the crowds after the race notwithstanding.

**********************
I won't be there to watch the actual race tonight. Flying off for a few days for a beach holiday. But this blog will continue to be updated, so stay tuned :)

SPAMed Out

I just discovered an important email sent to the yahoo account on my sidebar. It was somehow relegated to the SPAM folder, so while the mail was dated 19 Sep, I have only just read it.

It was by pure boredom and curiosity that I opened the SPAM folder. I almost never do.

I wonder if I have lost any other mails this way?

= (

Sarong Cover-up

I received this gorgeous sarong from dear my sister-in-law. She was in Myanmar doing relief work soon after Cyclone Nargis, and came back with this for me.

Am thinking of taking this along for the holiday next week. Seeing imp's holiday entries is making me really look forward to mine. It'll be great even if it is half as good :)

Because of where this sarong comes from, I'm soberly reminded that I am really blessed amidst a lot of poverty, pain and suffering in the world. I'm reminded that I really am a steward of all I have been given, and that I should use what I have well, and in service to others.

I'm aware that I've kept the mood of this blog rather light and void of sharing of many deeper issues. Those have been kept to be voiced elsewhere.

But because that other side is a dollop of me as well, maybe I should start sharing more of it.

I'm hoping the holiday will also a spiritual retreat. Of quiet prayer and reflections.

Kueh Pie Tee

Where can I find good Kueh Pie Tee? I had this at Chomp Chomp. It was okay but I miss my favourite one at the now closed The Simple Life. I want crisp, melt-in-your-mouth Pie Tee moulds, juicy prawns and turnips, and of course the perfect sauces.

Killing the germs

It has been almost a week and I'm still sporting a bad throat.

Last night we decided to have dinner at West End, where I was a copycat and ordered a T-bone steak like Roboman. I had very little for lunch, so I was famished, and relished the thought of tucking into good steak. Alas, it slipped my puny brain that the T-bone, unlike my usual order of Tenderloin, was going to be tougher, meatier, and would scratch my throat.

Anyway, Roboman always believes that alcohol kills germs in the throat. He says whiskey does it best. I ordered a glass of the house red wine instead, and loved the feeling of fluttery tickles down my throat as I sipped it throughout dinner.

Amazingly the throat felt totally fine after dinner! I forgot about whiskey when we got home, and promptly went to bed.

Today, my throat is no longer painful, but it feels scratchy and occasionally itchy. Seems like it is healing!

Tonight I'm going to try whiskey to kill off the rest of the germs!

Random Art

I saw this banner put up in a housing estate recently. Doesn't it give a cheerful and positive vibe? I kind of like it!

Tableware Outlet

Some of you might have already seen this in the Singapore papers a couple of weeks ago. If not, then here is a nice little secret to get beautiful crockery at (incredibly) marked down prices.

After reading about it, I made a mental note to visit Java Factory Outlet soon. I brought along a friend who is familar with the place. The outlet is nestled in an industrial area, not the usual shopping haunts. When we arrived however, we were not disappointed.


We were greeted with a HUGE warehouse "room" with rows and rows of ceramic tableware and incredibly cheap prices. More so now that they are selling everything at 50% off the already low prices.

There are tableware sets, and also many individual pieces you can buy to mix and match. Granted, not everything was beautiful. There were many well-made pieces but in designs that were rather dated.

We were also perspiring in the non-air-conditioned and rather dusty place, held in awe by the things around us.


Surprisingly, after spending more than an hour there, I emerged with a paltry 4 Christmas themed platters, and a set of coffee cups and saucers (because I don't have one).

My headache got to me and I couldn't make up my mind what to get for a friend's new green and white themed apartment.

I think I will go back - or better still, take her along!

Flowers for me

I have been feeling under the weather this weekend, with a painful throat and a lingering headache.

Thankfully after downing lots of Vit C tablets and Manuka Honey on Friday night, I managed to get myself out of bed on Saturday and keep a date with a friend.

She wanted to pop by the nursery to pick up some flowers. I love going to there, seeing rows and rows of beautiful flowers of different types. I would have lingered longer to pick out other things they sold, like vases and ribbons, but I was feeling woozy, so I settled with a (huge) bunch of little flowers.

Looking at them makes me happy :)

The Godfather

I have been sleeping late thanks to this book.

About a Sicilian Mafia family based in New York in the 1940s-50s, it is a book with a multitude of colourful characters, with plots and sub-plots written in a heart-thumping fast paced manner.

It is a story that gives one a glimpse of a totally different organisational system, and a peek into the minds of people who reason with values that on the surface would seem very much at odds with the rest of the civilised world. But these reasonings make so much good sense in their world.

It is a story about power in different forms, relationships, money, vengence, traditions and above all, pure intelligence and far-sighted tactics.

I can't seem to put the book down.

I don't feel the need to watch the film. There's something so much more fulfilling and enjoyable in reading a book and letting the characters and scenes form in my own imagination.

These days anyway I only seem to watch movies on the plane!

My Skin. Finished.

I wrote about wanting to try M.A.C's Mineral Make-up a few months ago.

I finally got mine in Hongkong (my colour sold out in Singapore), and I chose to get the Mineralize Skinfinish instead of the loose powder that I tried on at the airport in Sydney. Loose powders are just too cumbersome to use!

Not someone who wears a lot of make-up, my morning routine is simply the dusting on of some powder and blusher. I don't wear lipstick or eye make-up unless there is a need to be more dressed up (or if I look an absolute wreak because of a late night). Because I still have quite a lot of the L'oreal's Mineral Foundation left, I did not try the M.A.C one until I gave in recently.

So here is my little review:

The powder is very fine and goes on the skin smoothly. I apply the powder using sponge applicators that I bought from M.A.C. However, I must be careful not to apply too much, because it easily looks cakey when I do.

It does not provide too much coverage but I wouldn't expect it to, since this is not a foundation. I have some freckles which can still very much be seen.

Now, the one thing that has really jumped out at me about this powder, is that it seems to force oil out of my face! The first day I had it on, I noticed that my skin got shiny around lunch time. I was really surprised because I don't have oily skin. I have combination skin but even the oily parts don't get particularly oily. As I blotted my face, I thought about it and concluded that it was probably a case of overacting hormones due to PMS.

However, my skin was perfectly fine when I went back to using L'oreal the next day. And on all subsequent days I used M.A.C, my skin ended up oily!

:(

So I can only conclude that this make-up makes my skin oily, and I really shouldn't use it anymore.

What a waste of money!

Margarita's

I'm not really a fan of Mexican food.

I always feel that I could pick anything on the menu and the dish will turn out tasting more or less the same at any other dish I could have chosen. Flavours don't seem to vary much from dish to dish.

I do however, like Mexican soups, especially the spicy ones, and plan to make one at home some time.

After our dinner plans were thwarted because we did not make reservations, we headed for Margarita's, a place we recently heard about from a friend who lives around the corner from the restaurant.

It is exactly the type of restaurant that we would like. Free parking, in a quiet neighbourhood, quaint decor, reasonably good service, and not too bad food.

We decided on something quick as we had guests at home watching the Liverpool vs Manchester United match, and wanted to get home before the match ended.

So it was a tortilla soup to share, and a platter (I forgot what it is called!) for two. The sauces were really tasty (especially the spicy bean one) and the strips of beef tender and juicy. The soup was pretty good too, with the right flavours and very hearty.

Best Mexican food I've tasted (not that I've had a lot though)

Not bad!

Mum's Cooking

Between my parents' and our own activities and social commitments, we manage to do meals at their place about once a week.

Invariably, we'll always be treated to a pot of double-boiled soup - where the goodness of all the meat, bones, and many herbs are infused into the broth.

There will also be freshly steamed fish, of which my mum often chooses to do cod, as it is Roboman's favourite. This one pictured here was delicious. I don't know why it didn't taste as good the last (and only) time I attempted to cook the dish at home!

We will also always have the obligatory green leafy vegetables. The greens that my mum feels we don't eat enough of, and she is probably right!

And, saving the best for last, there will always be one 'special' dish. Something different from the staple soup-fish-vegetable dishes - a dish varies with each visit.This week it was Chilli Prawns. Yummilicious! I loved the spicy gravy and had lots of it over my (white) rice. (The parents eat brown rice when they are on their own - but I don't like brown rice so when we're visiting mum cooks white)

Mum also always prepares HUGE fruit platters for the after dinner chit-chat sessions. With this particular dinner, she served us blueberries, strawberries, purple grapes and papaya. Now you know why I love colours =)

We're so loved!

The Nanny

The friend and I arranged to have a long-procrastinated lunch with a girlfriend.

She brought her 18-month-old son along. Much to our delight!

I was seated across him at lunch, so I could only "play" with him through words and funny faces.

The friend however, thoroughly surprised me. Not only did she sacrifice her glass of water for him to dunk his dirty spoon in (together with a couple of Cheerios), she was responsive to his gurgles and expressions throughout lunch, and even took it upon herself to pick up his shoes when they fell off more than once, gently putting them back on for him.

After lunch, the boy got fidgety, so she took him out of his high-chair, and meticulously followed him around in a half-bent posture, holding on to him to ensure that he didn't bump into anything or fall down steps. The boy obviously knew he was in good hands because he started to plunge down steps with his little legs, knowing that his new grown-up friend would keep him from falling.

This is the friend who has often declared that she would help me babysit in the future, when I have my own babies. I have always been a leetle skeptical about that, having never seen her with kids, but always with perfectly curled hair, manicured nails, and toting one of her many Chanel bags...heh heh. Now I know better!

Alas, this is also the same friend who has declared more than once that she doesn't want to have kids of her own.

At least now I now I have a part-time Nanny secured! ;)

So long as it's black

On the way to work today, I felt that the weather was a little chilly, so I popped into a nearby store to pick up a pair of sheer black stockings.

A friend's friend whom I met for the first time at lunch today commented that I am so colour coordinated.

Looking down at my outfit, all I saw was a sea of black.



After zany, colourful weekends, this seemed fitting for a Monday.


The Thing


My favourite exercise machine.

I call it The Stepper/Slider Thing.

It works both my arms and legs at the same time. 20 minutes is enough for me to break out a sweat and get the heart thumping a bit.

Great when I want a quick, fuss-free workout!

Water Babies

A bunch of ex-schoolmates decided to meet up for a "baby-swimming" session. Most of us haven't seen each other for a while. In these couple of years, the girls have gotten married, and a number are now mothers.

Having recently met up with one of these new mothers, I was invited to join them for this swimming session. I decided it would be fun to go, although I was aware that I was going to be the only non-mother in the group, with no baby to take swimming.

We met at a friend's apartment, where I was taken by her unique clock. She said she'll probably have to replace it soon, lest it confuses her son when he starts to learn to read!

I decided not to join them in the pool for the swimming session, which I amusingly observed made up mostly of the mothers duck walking in the pool while holding on to their kids.

The oldest boy was able to stand in the pool, and he had a wonderful time making splashes and chasing after floating toys. He also absolutely loved applying sunblock, and asked for more to be rubbed on him even when it was time to leave.

Floating contraptions seemed to be very unwelcomed by the kids, who preferred free movements, secure in mummys' hands. One in particular, seemed to be ready to learn proper swimming, laughing with absolute glee as he attempted to move his arms and legs to push himself forward.

The littlest of the lot was taking his nap when the older boys started swimming. When he woke up, he was introduced to the pool by having his little feet popped under the water fountain. He took everything in his stride as he quietly observed what the rest were doing.

When it was time to go, all the kids were quickly bundled up in all manner of towels.

It was also time for me to leave to meet up with Roboman.

Observing little children at play is such an enjoyable experience for me. I wonder if I'll feel the same when my own children come along? Or will it be a hassle duck-walking in pools with them, and making sure they're safe?

Friends @ Work

For colleagues who become friends, I naturally open my life up to them.

I introduce them to the important people in my life, share my frank views about many issues, and am happy to spend after-work hours together. They are the ones whom I would actively seek out for meals and offer lifts when I am heading towards town. It is a respite from the work environment being with them, and I feel I can be myself, even if that means being quiet or even grouchy.

So while I really wasn't totally impressed with the food at Szechuan Court, I enjoyed the evening spent together.

As for the food, well, I enjoyed the spicy Szechuan style cod fish soup, and the pork rib. The Zhajiang Mian was also a surprise delight - light and flavourful despite the suspicious-looking bright yellow of the noodles.

The typical Szechuan fare of Kung Pao Chicken though, was a real disappointment. They used cheap peanuts instead of the tastier cashew nuts! The sauce was also a tad too sweet and the chicken pieces not well-seasoned. We didn't think it was acceptable for the kind of prices they were charging. Roboman recalls of good Chinese restaurants in KL that even use macademia nuts!

Although we might not have ordered the restaurant's specialities, I doubt I would choose to dine here again when Szechuan food craving hits. I can think of other little small eateries that would better hit the right spots.

Me the Marilyn

A beach holiday is on the cards, so I was trying to get a new swimsuit to take along with me.

EVERYTHING I tried just looked terrible. I gave up and decided that a two-week fast from sugared foods and drinks should take place before I attempt swimwear shopping again.

Last night Roboman suddenly said he had something to show me. He took out one of his car magazines (either Autocar ASEAN or TopGear, I can't remember) and started flipping the pages.

Finally, he landed on a photo of the late Marilyn Monroe sitting in a car. He said: "Look, if she is around today, she will be considered fat." I stared at the photo and saw at least 2 rolls of fat around the tummy area. The angle which she was seated accentuated her waist and thighs.

I turned to him and asked: "Erm, so what are you trying to tell me?"

Grinning, he replied: "Just trying to make you feel better! (Because you look like her)"

I'm born in the wrong era!!

Sashimi Overload

Roboman and I eat out almost every day of the week. We're always on a look out for good food recommendations - and like to zoom in on those that don't require us to travel too far off our route home, and where parking is readily available. (no fun waiting for parking when one is hungry!)

Recently we were told about Sakuraya. It is one of those places where I have passed by, but unfortunately never quite gave a second look at.

We found that our friend was right, that this place is great for reasonably priced fresh sashimi. You pick your choice of fish from a chiller, much like choosing fish in a supermarket. They come in whole pieces, and the chef will slice the fish up only when you order them. Because you pay by the weight of the whole piece of fish, you do get generously thick slices.

Salmon, Swordfish, Octopus & Scallops
I was ravaneous and overordered a bit. I don't know why but the fish looked much smaller to me before they were sliced! My tummy was feeling rather cold after that, and needed some warm soupy soba to comfort it. We also ordered an Avocado and Salmon Maki, mainly because I really like avocado and haven't had it in a while. The creaminess of the avocado slices was quite lovely.

But I would probably recommend this place solely for their fresh sashimi. Great to note for when cravings hit!

Tagged!

I have what some people consider to be a bad habit: Wearing new clothes soon after buying them.

At work the other day, I felt something prickly and realised that I forgot to cut off the tags on my tank-top! Good thing they were hidden by a snug cardigan. Hehe =D

Weekend Colours

Cheery, bright colours made their appearance on me this past weekend.

I think I'm influenced by my yellow bag!


Pampered Legs @ Changi

I love the leg massagers available for all travellers passing through Singapore's Changi Airport.
10 minutes was all it took to massage away the aches on my ankles, feet and toes.

Hong Kong Finale

I thought I'll end off my entries about Hongkong with a series of photos showing the mix of old and new in Hongkong. You will see very old apartment blocks nestled among modern skysrapers and alleyway market stalls between buildings housing designer boutiques.

This is the charm of Hongkong - kind of messy but things work! I would definitely like to visit again, and in the next trip I will be more prepared to brave the crowds.

Finally, I would definitely recommend the Hongkong Museum of History. It is a pity I didn't get photos because we were too engrossed with the exhibits. But it is a fantastic place to get a quick understanding of what makes Hongkong the place it is today. The museum starts from the pre-historic geological evolution of Hongkong, and lead on to how people of the past lived (eg. displays of how fish is salted), the various religious rites/customs, the wars - WWII, Opium War, the post-War developments like how public housing came about, the development of the Stock Exchange, and finally about the reunification.

The Peak


The other place I'm glad I visited in Hongkong was the trip up to The Peak. This is where many of the rich and famous Hongkongers live. The steep slopes allow residents to get both the advantages of living in a landed house, and having a beautiful view usually restricted to high-rise apartment dwellers.
We were blessed with absolutely clear air the evening we went up, none of the smog Hongkong is famous for. Roboman was thrilled because the last time he was there, he could not see anything beyond the harbour.
We chose to travel up on the traditional Peak Tram, the rails of which were first built in 1888. The tram now takes people uphill to the newly constructed Peak Tower, where there is a viewing platform. Because of the steepness of the slope, the floors of the tram have grooves built into them to prevent people from slipping.
Overlooking the beautiful views of Hongkong Island and Kowloon while enjoying the cool breeze was lovely. It didn't matter so much that the tram ride was cramped, or that people where jostling for the best views on the deck. We took our time to take in the sights and to steal a kiss :)