Category Archives: Singapore

We Need Some Lovin': Holster Up Your Pretty Feet

201302 We Need Some Lovin'

As a mother, I am always on the lookout for quality clothes, toys, books, foods and other knick-knacks for my daughter; ‘I Have My Eye On‘ is a collection of these finds.

Growing up is a tough act but parenting is hard work too; I believe that mummies and daddies need some lovin’! Whilst I am not busting my budget on the little one, I like to sniff out things that make our new routines a little easier, or sometimes, just a little prettier.

In this series ‘We Need Some Lovin’‘, I share some of my favourite things for us big people.

201303 Holster

[SPONSORED POST*] My feet are the bane of my existence. Really. I hate them because they are too fleshy, too wide, too ugly with too high an arch. I often find it difficult to shop for shoes without ending up with blistered feet and a self-esteem severely punctured by insensitive remarks from sales assistants on how fat my feet are. So pardon me if I don’t get that, oooh-look-at-my-Louboutins-Manolos-and-Jimmy Choos obsession with pretty shoes! Sour grapes? Yes, VERY sour indeed.

Ever since I was pregnant, the sensible woman in me chose comfort over style for my footwear. I wear a tonne of ugly shoes, right down to ah-pek (Hokkien for old man) sandals. For more than a year now, I chose to live in a world where I think that nobody looks at my feet, and that world was pretty…until I get that ‘waaah, your feet are very fleshy’ remark from yet another sales assistant.

I was recently gifted two pairs of Holster shoes by the good people at Not Too Big. I reckon someone must have noticed how wretched and tired-looking my ah-pek sandals were. Truth be told, I was a little hesitant about receiving these shoes. I am not one to write about something that I wouldn’t recommend. The Holster shoes are annoyingly pretty, so much so that I was convinced they would make my poor feet suffer a thousand deaths just for donning them, as with other equally good-looking shoes. But then, they are jellies. They have been raved about for the comfort and ease of cleaning. And they are *sigh* very sparkly. A girl’s got to do what she’s gotta do.

I took a huge leap of faith and put them on everywhere I went. I could be going downstairs for a walk in the park where sparkly, strappy shoes are taboo. I could be going to the mall. I could be running across the road. I could be doing all of the above with a 7.5kg baby strapped to my body and a diaper bag hanging off my right shoulder. I could be doing that for hours and hours on end. And I was blown away by the Holster jellies. No blisters, no pain, no aches, and lots of compliments from strangers, family and friends alike on how beautiful my shoes are! I have the Swarovski Masquerade Wedge in Champagne (pictured above), which goes with just about any outfit, including the formal cheongsam that I wore for Lunar New Year (for those who have seen it on Instagram). I was also gifted the Swarovski Masquerade Jelly (flat) in Marina, which adds a brilliant pop of blue to whatever casual drab I’m wearing. After more than a month of running about in my Holster shoes, I’m ready to retire my ah-pek sandals and other tattered, smelly flats I have in my arsenal of mum-sy footwear!

All thanks to the generous people at Not Too Big!

*I was gifted two pairs of Holster sandals to review. No monetary gift was received. All opinions expressed are entirely my own and written according to my experience in using the products. Sponsors have been notified that I am not obliged to write a review upon receipt of sponsored items, should I find the products unsuitable.

Holster is stocked at:

Not Too Big
582 Orchard Road
#02-06/07 Forum The Shopping Mall
Singapore 238884

Photo published and reformatted in poster form with permission from: Not Too Big/Holster

We Need Some Lovin': Organise in Style with Anorak


201302 We Need Some Lovin'

As a mother, I am always on the lookout for quality clothes, toys, books, foods and other knick-knacks for my daughter; ‘I Have My Eye On‘ is a collection of these finds.

Growing up is a tough act but parenting is hard work too; I believe that mummies and daddies need some lovin’! Whilst I am not busting my budget on the little one, I like to sniff out things that make our new routines a little easier, or sometimes, just a little prettier.

In this series ‘We Need Some Lovin’‘, I share some of my favourite things for us big people.

Most aspects of motherhood evoke that warm, fuzzy feeling that money can’t buy. BUT, there is one thing that really, really gets on my nerves. I hate to wear mum-sy nursing clothes, and carry mum-sy bags. There, I said it. I may not be quite the WOAH-HO-hot-mama fashionista, but I have taken to wearing my regular clothes and working breastfeeding around it. It’s not easy, but I’d rather be a contortionist (nursing mothers will know the kind of manoeuvres I am talking about) than be dressed in shapeless rags in garish floral prints and nauseating colours.

But the problem that is mum-sy bags was a tricky one to tackle. Before becoming a mother, I hardly splurged on anything but I did have a weakness for bags. Yes, I like my designer totes and invested in three that have seen me through casual outings and formal soirees. Of course, none of these were appropriate for (or could afford) the wear and tear that diaper bags so often suffer from. I declared a diaper bag emergency after failing to find one that didn’t make me cross-eyed with kaleidoscopic graphics.

My very generous sister and mother then surprised me with a simple, black diaper bag from Kate Spade, one that I love very much but is a tad heavy for lone excursions with my daughter. I have since been toting a black Longchamp, which is infinitely lighter and equally forgiving on M, should he help me with the bag (yes, I am one who loathes handing my girly bags to the man). The Longchamp is unfortunately a nightmare to rummage through without a bag insert. My keys and purse were often lost in the big black hole of diapers, wipes and baby clothes. I resorted to using good ol’ Ziploc bags to store baby stuff and while it worked fairly well, it was far from a stylish option.

201302 Anorak Toiletries Bag

Then I stepped into Not Too Big a family store at Forum that carries cult labels for daddies, mummies and kids alike, and my life was all good-looking again. The Anorak range of lifestyle goods, including towels, serving ware, baby changing bags and toiletry bags, was too handsome to ignore. I couldn’t resist getting a Kissing Stags medium toiletry bag to keep my purse, keys, lip balm and other womanly what-have-you’s, and a Kissing Robins large toiletry bag to contain my daughter’s spare set of clothes for poopy accidents, diapers, wipes and tissue. These waterproof bags are easy-to-clean, hardy, and oh, did I mention how gorgeous the bold, yet minimalistic, animal prints are? I am head over heels in love with these bags (you may have caught me showing one off on my Instagram (pleasure_monger) profile), and I am delighted to be able to organise my life in style again!

Now…I am just plotting to get my hands on more stuff from Anorak at Not Too Big…shhhhh, don’t tell the husband! He is currently under the impression that I am only at Forum to ‘window shop’…


Anorak is stocked at:

Not Too Big
582 Orchard Road
#02-06/07 Forum The Shopping Mall
Singapore 238884

I Have My Eye On: Château de sable

Parents endeavour to give their children the very best, and I am no exception. As a new mother to baby Faith, I am always on the lookout for quality clothes, toys, books, foods and other knick-knacks.

In the series ‘I Have My Eye On‘, I share my favourite finds for my little girl.

201302 I Have My Eye On

I was on the hunt for a red dress for my daughter, as the colour is deemed auspicious for the Lunar New Year, and I was delighted to find one at Château de sable.

The label by Stephanie Lemaire, carries preppy children’s clothing, and boasts of classic designs that showcase simplicity at its best. I am not usually a fan of bright reds and certainly disagree with looking too dated for the Lunar New Year. But, this cheongsam-inpsired dress (S$45) with its clean trimmings and pleated A-line cut does red-red just fine, and I am one Mama who is happy to dress my daughter in it.

Chateau de sable

My little girl has also been gifted three other outfits from this label. They wash well, hang beautifully on her frame and continue to garner many compliments, both at casual outings and formal dinners . Yes, she is one lucky and very chic baby!

Do you have a favourite from this label?

Check this listing for the boutique nearest to you.

Photo source: Château de sable

I Have My Eye On: Elly

Parents endeavour to give their children the very best, and I am no exception. As a new mother to baby Faith, I am always on the lookout for quality clothes, toys, books, foods and other knick-knacks. I also believe that parents need some lovin'; whilst I am not busting my budget on the little one, I like to shop around for things that make our new routines a little easier, or sometimes, just a little prettier.

In the series ‘I Have My Eye On‘, I share my favourite finds for my little girl. Of course, Mamas and Papas need look no further than the ‘We Need Some Lovin’‘ instalments (watch this space!) for my recommendations for us big people!

—-

201302 I Have My Eye On

Lunar New Year is just round the corner. We are particularly excited for two reasons. Having lived in London for five years, this marks our first Lunar New Year in Singapore since our return. We are also delighted that baby Faith is here to join us for the festive season!

The Festival of Spring heralds all things new, so of course we’ve got new clothes for our daughter as part of the many traditions that come with the festive season. When I was pregnant, I set my eyes on the stylish cheongsams, designed by Audrey and Carol of Elly, which are oh-so-adorable and age-appropriate. These are nothing like the kitsch, precocious versions that plague the streets of Chinatown. I couldn’t wait for Faith to be born, just so I could justify getting one.

Elly Red Fishes

This year, I am absolutely enamoured with the Lunar New Year collection. Elly nails it again with gorgeous new prints and I simply couldn’t resist getting the Periwinkle cheongsam in Red Fish (S$65) for my daughter, even if she is only 5 months old and a tad tiny for the smallest size available (9-12m). It is just too cute! Well-made, and clearly designed for the chic bub (and style-conscious, *coughsmecoughs*, parent) in mind, the cheongsam is a statement piece that is bound to have everyone talking! I noticed that the cheongsam is cut a little wider, and I reckon it will grow well with the little one, hello….mileage!

I can’t wait to dress Faith in the cheongsam! Now, if I can just get my hands on a nursing-friendly cheongsam….

Elly is stocked at:

The Elly Store
501 Bukit Timah Road
#02-29 Cluny Court
Singapore 259760

Not Too Big
582 Orchard Road
#02-06/07 Forum The Shopping Mall
Singapore 238884

Photo published with permission from: Elly

A Seductive Lunch at Catalunya

Have I told you lately that I miss my life in London? The lifestyle, entertainment and numerous gateways to the rest of Europe. The freedom to live, breathe, drink and taste whatever we wanted at affordable prices. The broad spectrum of everything that Europe has to offer. Oh yes, I sorely miss that part of my life and have been whining to my husband about how I may never make it to that part of the world again, especially since the baby will be arriving soon. I whined again on Saturday night before falling asleep. After waking up to the blistering heat of Singapore the next morning, I casually flipped the local papers over breakfast and was pleasantly gripped by a review on the newest restaurant to hit the dining scene in Singapore. Something about some place called Catalunya, helmed by Chef Alain Devahive Tolosa who spent a decade in the kitchens of El Bulli. My eyes glazed over at the words Catalunya and El Bulli. Before I knew it, my eyes were skimming over the treats Catalunya has to offer, and it was fastest fingers first on my mobile to make a reservation. You see, my biggest regret in the foodie part of my life was having missed the opportunity to dine at El Bulli. I’ve already got Fat Duck under my belt, but *wails* what about El Bulli?! Ever since it closed, I knew I would die a regretful woman but no, I couldn’t possibly let that slide, could I?

I wasted no time in getting a table for two at Catalunya. We were there a swift two days later for lunch…talk about being efficient. What can I say? When it comes to food, nothing stands in my way, not even the nearing due date of a certain baby or the aches and pains that prevent me from getting off the bed, let alone out of the house.

It was a blazing hot afternoon. We got a little lost looking for The Fullerton Pavilion which houses Catalunya and had to make a huge detour just to park our car rightfully at One Fullerton. The pavilion was merely a short walk away but the heat was rather offensive and I couldn’t wait to get to the restaurant. On arrival, we were greeted by no less than five ladies at the door and were promptly ushered to our seats. Catalunya was about 70% full on a weekday lunch service, not bad for a two-week old restaurant with the office crowd, the occasional businessmen and ladies of leisure. The decor was decent (it didn’t wow me though) and I can see its potential for dinner service, as the pavilion overlooks the bay onto MBS and the night views are bound to dazzle. I did like the way natural light streamed into the pavilion – I kinda enjoy looking at my food when I eat. Catalunya did disappoint in one aspect – it was way too stuffy in the restaurant. It was much cooler and way more pleasant in the bar area closer to the entrance, but the double-volume space in the restaurant area hampers sufficient ventilation and both M and I found ourselves feeling rather hot under the collar ten minutes in.

The food, however, was more than enough to make up for our stuffy afternoon at Catalunya. I might be biased but I have long been enamoured by Basque and Catalan cuisines. My favourite holidays were spent in San Sebastián and Barcelona (yet to blog about) and really, I would kill to relive those times. Catalunya managed to bring these memories back to me. It didn’t wow me as much as I would have been (I reckon) if I had the chance to dine at El Bulli, but the chefs did enough to get me excited. We ordered a good mix of dishes that showcased the prowess of molecular gastronomy and those that sealed the deal that was traditional Catalan cuisine.

The tomato tartar confit and deconstructed tortilla were delightful glimpses into what-might-have-been over at El Bulli’s. The confit was pleasantly tart, surprisingly beefy (even though it’s probably only finely chopped roasted tomatoes) and nicely tampered with a touch of crushed capers, salt, pepper and olive oil. It made for a very refreshing start to a meal, and paired nicely with the wafer-thin toasts. The deconstructed tortilla has the Spanish omelette taken apart down to a T – a layer of sweet onion purée is topped with a dollop of smooth and rich egg yolk sabayon and finished with potato foam. It was a playful appetiser that I really enjoyed, although I would have added a touch of chorizo as I am partial to having that in the tortillas I make at home, but that’s just my personal preference (and my way is probably not very authentic in terms of flavours).

The croquettes were worth fighting bulls over. What’s not to love about piping hot croquettes with an incredibly crisp and light batter encasing a creamy, dreamy bechamel filling of my favourite jamón, smooth cheese and butter? I could have had more of these if they didn’t cost $12 for 4 pieces. The canelón was recommended by the server and we had no regrets chomping it down. The portion was a little small at $19 (I would have expected at least two pieces for that price), but I have to say the roasted pork was subtly divine and meaty, even in that small quantity, underneath that thin pasta.

We moved on to share the veal fricandó, which was a tad disappointing in terms of portion size and flavour. A new dish on the menu (it debuted for the second day when we were there), there was something lacking in the fricandó that would have made it a very hearty, flawless dish. Whilst it was savoury and rich, I thought it would have been better if the sweetness of carrots and caramelised shallots came through a little more. The veal was tender, but not quite as tender as the braised beef cheek I had at Bistro Du Vin recently (I know I shouldn’t compare as these are different types of dishes, but I prefer the meats in stews to fall apart when I tuck into it). The whole shallots were undercooked and hence too hard. For $55, I would have expected more veal than tripe, mushrooms and shallots. The real winner was the smoked mashed potatoes though. Smooth, creamy, rich and lightly smoked with what I suspect was the flavour of bacon, it was the perfect accompaniment (and saviour) to the veal.

We couldn’t leave without having dessert; after all, Catalunya is steered by chefs coming from all sorts of wonderful restaurants including Sketch in London, which is famed for its sweets. We had the torrija with smoked milk ice cream to share. Torrija, which means fried milk bread, is a divine piece of work. Soft, achingly tender, moist and wonderfully infused with a good dose of citrus, it went perfectly well with the crumble and milk ice cream, which has interestingly been smoked with charcoal. Eaten alone, the milk ice cream was a little too ‘charred’ and weird for me, but it worked as the perfect companion to the citrusy fried milk bread and caramelised orange peel. I would have this again in a heartbeat.

It’s a shame that we didn’t quite have the budget to go for more tapas and to try the Catalan creme for dessert. Even though the prices are comparable to what we were used to paying for a good meal in London, we have been a little more cautious about spending on food as we tend to be able to get cheap and good grub in different corners of Singapore. We probably need a shove in our mindset about paying ‘London prices’ for food in Singapore but for now, Catalunya will remain a once-in-a-while-special-occasion kinda place to dine at. I hope to visit again, this time for dinner, to enjoy a decent slice of Catalan against the breathtaking backdrop of the glittery bay.

*Updated: This post is featured on Tastespotting. Check out my profile on  Tastespotting to see my other featured posts!

A Sweet Farewell to London…and Some News

I’ve procrastinated long enough on this teeny announcement. Or two teeny announcements, if you will. Some of you, whom I know personally, are already in the loop but I thought eight months is a long time to go on the blog without actually talking about it even in the most cryptic manner, so it is time to spill the beans. I had wanted to protect my privacy and keep the news all to my selfish self. The last I heard though, some naysayers have already caught wind of this anyway and I’ve been told by my loved ones that I should share the news because readers (who are still sticking around…I’m very happy to know you are, given that I barely wrote anything in the first three-quarter of 2012) would want to know, so here goes…

…I’ve moved back from London to Singapore for good, since eight months ago…and…I’m pregnant!

After five long years in London, I’m finally back home. Suffice to say that everything and yet nothing has changed since 2007. Suffice to say that I’ve done a whole lot of growing up in the UK, seen countless beautiful sceneries whilst travelling, made the most wonderful friends in the five years, tasted a decent portion of good food, started a blog that I thought no one would want to read, cooked/baked/photographed/styled my way from complete noob to amateur-amateur, interacted with the most amazing chefs, built a home from scratch (literally) and learnt a hell lot on ‘How to Live Life to the Fullest, Responsibly So 101′. I also found time to fall deeper in love with my best friend, get married, graduate with a doctorate and have a baby.

London is a big part of my life.

When it came down to the last second, to leave my home of five bittersweet years, I was devastated. The exit from London was pretty hasty. I quit my job, found out I was expecting (and hence decided that I should return to Singapore prematurely to prepare for delivery, I was supposed to leave London only in the summer of 2012), moved to Boston for six weeks as M was posted to Harvard, flew back to London for a night, switched my bags out for summer clothing and everything that I might need back home before speeding back to Singapore the next day. I didn’t really have time to say goodbye. To-date, I still keep the bucket list I had drafted for London and I hope that I will be able to return to the city one day to check the items off the list. I couldn’t even attend the Olympics events that I had bought tickets for.

The next months went by in a blur. There was so much to do with my relocation. I had to get my accounts, documents and life in order. I missed M terribly when he returned to London to finish up his studies. I went through pregnancy alone, save for support from my family and in-laws. None of the relocation bit, physical or emotional, was easy. The days started looking brighter when M came back, triumphant as a fully-qualified doctor after five gruelling years in med school. He packed up our flat in London as hastily as I had left UK, attended his graduation ceremony with his parents but without a very pregnant me, flew back to my arms in Singapore, sorted out whatever I couldn’t handle and supported me through the last trimester.

We had a heart-to-heart talk yesterday night before we fell asleep at 3.30am. It’s been a while since we chatted this much, for four hours in fact. And we both realised how different life is in Singapore. London was a dream. We lived life to the fullest, laughed and cried the hardest, seen the best and went through the worst. It was a city where we grew up the most as individuals and as a couple. It was our first real home together. Coming back to Singapore makes for an almost surreal dive back into reality, where we are suddenly challenged with obligations and responsibilities to others other than two of us, issues to do with fitting into the local culture and soon-to-be parenthood. Even though Singapore is our home, we haven’t got the slightest inkling as to what lies ahead and we will need to do to rise up to the challenges. One thing’s for sure; we are back now and we will make our lives here work. We will carve out new memories, strive towards new goals and conjure new dreams.

To celebrate the chapter that was London, and welcome the new that is Singapore, I prepared my very first dessert table before I left UK. I was challenged in every way, as I have been during my life in London. Different pastries and desserts to make on limited resources, thinking about what really mattered to me that would fit in with the theme, and putting it all together so it makes sense and gives heart. So there you have it, a blue-white-red presentation of a Victoria sponge, Marmite cupcakes with cream cheese frosting and macarons with rose buttercream, a true culmination of something that is quintessentially English, a little bit of what I have learnt to love and another that is a little cosmopolitan owing to the time I spent in Europe. I’ve also scattered the cards, letters, notes and gifts from family and friends around the entire dessert table just for…the two of us to enjoy. Shame I couldn’t offer the sweets to anyone else. Oh well, maybe next time.

Happy homecoming to us, and may we meet again, my fair London.

*Updated: This post is featured on Tastespotting. Check out my profile on  Tastespotting to see my other featured posts!

Read on for my new journey as a mother.

Like my bakes? Then check out my other sweet adventures in the kitchen!

Photolog: Singapore Eating Spree

[Food Photolog that is not suitable for viewing if you're, well, ferociously hungry.]

I have been eating lots, but I have also been suffering from tummy upsets. It’s probably a sign that I should stop eating – but other than the 2-day hiatus I took earlier this week because I was ill, I’ve been packing the calories in since. I’m eating like I would never eat again, and it’s truly getting a little disturbing. Oh well, I’m a Singaporean and our national hobby is eating, so I’m not to blame! Besides, we can’t get all this in London; even if we do, the local food is just not in the same league. Right, I’m running out of excuses as to why I’m putting on weight, the food in Singapore is just too good to miss out. I’ll show you why.

[Some photos were taken with my DSLR, others with the iPhone because I have been rather self-conscious about whipping my DSLR out. I've invited odd stares and/or feel that my family and friends shouldn't have to put up with my 'don't touch the food until I photographed it' ways...for now at least, until I return for good. So yes, this wasn't all that I ate! =p]

We’re back in time for the onslaught of mooncakes since mid-Autumn festival is just around the corner – dropped by Raffles Hotel to pick up the very delectable champagne truffle (top) and durian (bottom) snowskin mooncakes. I also got some baked mooncakes which I honestly think are done better elsewhere. The mooncakes are rather expensive at Raffles Hotel (I splurged an obscene amount, even the staff were amused) but thumbs up for the super soft snowskin and I reckon these made for perfect gifts! I’ve been eating too much so I’m abstaining from the superb durian snowskin mooncakes from Peony Jade this year, all for the sake of the ones from Raffles Hotel! *exasperated*

After weeks of planning, I finally met up with the lovely ladies, Yann of Yannisms, Sherie of Maameemoomoo, Z of Scribbles and Snapshots  and  J of Lady J’s musings who also kindly played host to us! We made ondeh ondeh with Sherie’s guidance – check out how perky they look! I gobbled 5 of these in one sitting, and mind you, they were huge! We also feasted on mooncakes, chocolates, and Sherie’s homemade sweet potato tarts – this was right before a massive family dinner. *burps*

I wandered round Chinatown yesterday (bought nothing from Sia Huat, can you believe it?!), and stopped by Maxwell for some snacks – good ol’ Rojak and Popiah – both of which were superbly done! We had this about 2 hours before the epic dinner I tweeted about yesterday.

We chanced upon Ah Balling peanut and black sesame dumplings in Chinatown, and also had these right about 2 hours before dinner.

Moving on to Thomson Road to meet our newlywed friends, we couldn’t resist sharing youtiao (dough fritters) and Rochor soya beancurd half an hour before dinner with them.

Have I also mentioned that I was munching on Garrett Popcorn on our way to Thomson?

FYI, this was just 80% of our epic dinner yesterday at Mellben Seafood (top to bottom: Chilli crabs, crab bee hoon soup, Penang durians, mangosteens).

Salivating yet? Right, shan’t torture you with more blown-up photos. Click on the gallery below, at your own risk!

Check out my other food adventures!

Nostalgia #1: iPhone, Your Phone, My Phone

I’ve been spending a lot of time with my folks these few days and nostalgia brewed over conversations I had with them. Before I knew it, I was rummaging through old photos, laughing over the silly antics that we used to pull off and found this picture of me!

I dug a little more into the albums and realised that my siblings had a thing with phones too! Perhaps it’s the buttons that oh-so-satisfy us when we hammer them incessantly [It's the same with lift buttons and anything that we can press.]. Perhaps it’s the idea of talking to someone on the other end of the line, who somehow hears us and responds to what we say, even though we can’t see them [Does this guy live in the phone?! But how?!]. Perhaps we feel like an adult just because we can use the phone [Monkeys see parents do it, hence monkeys do.]. Whatever it is, the phone provided us with endless entertainment. I remember asking my classmate, Aishah, for her phone number so we could call each other when I was in lower primary. The act of exchanging numbers alone made me feel so grown-up. Then when the teachers at school handed out an address book that listed emergency numbers and other helplines – I took matters into my own hand and called someone up on Tinkle Friend (no I wasn’t a distressed and neglected kid, I was just a chatterbox who really liked to press buttons on the phone) and chatted with the volunteers more frequently than I’d like to admit. I think I used to talk about what I did at school –  poor volunteers – they probably didn’t have the heart to tell me to bugger off…

These days, kids are equally, if not more, preoccupied with phones, but for other reasons. The iPhone is often glued to children’s hands, and they swipe with such flair that I wonder if they’ve had it since the day they were born. Photo-taking, photo-editing, playing games and videos, activities that would seem alien to even our parents are not the least bit foreign to the the modern-day child. Heck, there’s even video calling now, and no, children these days don’t wonder if person X is living in the phone, because they know that they don’t.

Whether it’s the iPhone, your phone or my phone, we all had a thing with phones. Don’t believe it? Go through your old photos and see if you can find one of you in dangerously close proximity to a phone. Post it up on your blog, tell your story and comment on this post with the link to your blog entry. Remember to link back to this post Nostalgia #1: iPhone, Your Phone, My Phone so your readers can take us on their trips down the memory lane too!

 

 

Being Home

It’s good to be home.

Eight months have passed since I last walked the streets of Singapore, since I held my mother’s hand, since I laughed to my father’s corny jokes, since I gave my sister big bear hugs just because I felt like it. And for the first time, I watched my brother and sister-in-law become proud parents of the most adorable little girl, A. Eight months ago, I knew A as a barely-there bump. Some umpteen years ago, I knew my brother as the solid older sibling, the one to look up to, and the one who occasionally ‘bullies’ me; today, he still is the one to look up to, but more, for he’s now the man of the house who fusses over his baby girl with so much love. And can you believe it? My sister and I are aunts now, and my parents…grandparents!! I can’t even begin to tell you how happy and proud we all are – it is indeed magical to be back to share this joy.

So yes, stolen precious hours with our families are the reasons why I’ve been keeping so quiet around here. Some of you told me that you miss my updates – I’m so terribly sorry…I missed you guys too! It’s unfortunate that our trip back home is so short, what with the numerous commitments we have in London. In between a week’s worth of working, falling ill and recovering, falling ill and recovering again, and barely getting over the jetlag, I’ve managed to squeeze in only that much time with our loved ones. Thanks to those who planned meet-ups way before I returned to Singapore, I’ve also been able to spend little pockets of time with friends – bloggers included. I’ve caught up with some lovely ladies over steamboat and even made ondeh-ondeh with new friends. M and I also caught up on the latest with one of our favourite couples to hang out with who very kindly treated us to a lovely brunch at Keyaki. Other peeps have asked to meet up too, but I’m afraid it’s going to be tough. I completely regret working during the first half of my trip in Singapore and wish I have more time to catch up, but I hope to make up for it next year!

As time whittles down to nothing, I’m struggling to make every second count for the rest of my stay. Something bad happened in our family this year, something that really broke my heart and scared me to bits, something that intensified our longing to be back. In fact, it was the sole reason why I wrestled some time out for a visit amidst our hectic schedules. Today, I’m just thankful to return to the family I know and love so well, yes I’m being a little mawkish over here but who wouldn’t be after all that has happened?

It feels way too good to be home, to come back and see that everything is as good as it can be. I’m sad that our trip is coming to an end so quickly. Indeed, we have a few more days on our end, but I know that time flies, especially when one yearns for it. I guess we should head on with the last leg of this race – just a little longer and we’ll make it to the finishing line. Before we know it, we will be home, won’t we?

Happy Birthday, My Little Red Dot

London. A city where M and I chase our dreams, and perhaps even living other people’s dreams. It is fun and exciting. There’s always something to do. The summers are so irresistible and pretty that they make up for all the crap weather that rain relentlessly on us during other seasons. One smells freedom in the air – there are barely any boundaries to what we can do and where we can go.

Sounds perfect, no? Here’s the newflash – nothing is and ever will be. Despite everything we’ve got going on over here, all the milestones that we’ve crossed, and everything that we’ve achieved, we miss home dearly. We miss Singapore.

Some have fondly christened Singapore ‘The Little Red Dot’, for its incredibly small size, so small that it only appears as a red dot at the tip of the Malaysia Peninsula on the world map. But small it might be next to giants in the neighbourhood, Singapore is a whole lot of everything for us.

Singapore is love. Our family and friends are there. Our parents in particular have supported us in all the tough choices we’ve made, even though it is not easy for them. This year, I lived out one of my worst fears when bad news hailed from home. I’m just thankful to the big man upstairs that everything has blown over, and that home will always be home, with my family smiling back at me whenever they pick me up from the airport. Those smiles, hugs and the tender strokes on my head when I am feeling down, they are so very precious.

Singapore is everything else and beyond. Stability, efficiency, safety, we’ve got it going as perfectly as any other country can even dream of.

Think about all the social unrest in other cities. Right now, I’m thinking of the London riots and I shudder at how a developed city could descend into such chaos. Then my thoughts wander back to Singapore and realise how fortunate we are. As M put it very succinctly in one of our conversations yesterday – in London, we have to look out for places that are safe; in Singapore, we have to look hard for places that aren’t.

Things work as efficiently as they can possibly be in Singapore. Public transport letting you down? Trains not coming on time? The city crippled because of strikes? Trains packed to the point where you have to wait ages to board another one? Try living here. Getting banks/organisations to do what you went there to do – try waiting and people even die here while waiting in hospitals. I was in a horseback riding accident once and guess what, the nurse-led unit said I had to be flown to another city in UK to get an X-ray done. Go figure. (Well come to think of it, at least I could be flown, in other undeveloped countries, people walk for a day to get a checkup and even to give birth.)

My point is, every country has its trophies and skeletons. London offers many opportunities, both for carving out a livelihood and for leisure. It gives us freedom, the room to be creative and to think out of the box. But it is freckled. I’m sure there’s much to complain about Singapore too, seeing the debates that recent elections have sparked off. We don’t have that much freedom, we are controlled, some even say we’re puppeted, but I love The Little Red Dot nonetheless. After all, it is home. We have much to be proud of for a young, miniscule country with no natural resources whatsoever next to global giants. Our forefathers built our country with their very hands and little else. I hope we can go on and do the same for our children. Here’s to 46 years of independence and magnificent strides into the future, and more to come!

Happy Birthday, my Little Red Dot. We’ll be home soon.

[Photos: Palm Sugar and Coconut Salted Butter Caramel Macarons specially made for this occasion, from yours truly to you]

If you love macarons, join me on my macaron journey.

Check out what I have been baking in my own kitchen.

Also check out my other food adventures.

*Updated: This post has been featured on Tastespotting. Check out my profile on Tastespotting to see my other featured posts!