Category Archives: Food

A Birthday Spent with Loved Ones

Andrew: Okay, I promise this is the last birthday post – given that there have been 3 posts on my birthday within the last week. Heh. Anyway, we intended for my birthday itself to be a more quiet day in case Jas gave birth. In fact, I was hoping little baby girl would be born on my birthday so we can celebrate two birthdays together in future and Jas would have to pay for it – since you can’t possibly make the birthday boy pay for his celebration right? 🙂

Jasmine: Moot point. I’m still around, as pregnant as ever.

Andrew: Anyway, in spite of it being a more quiet day, it was still a very meaningful day spent with those dear to me – my 3 ‘families’ – Jas and Dylan; my church family and my family (mum, brother and relatives)! This post will be divided, as such.

1. Jas and Dylan (actually, mostly Dylan)

Sunday mornings are usually time with my son, as it is my helper’s off-day and Jas is well, resting. Sometimes I bring him to the playground, or to NEX for Toastbox while he has his raisin bread.

Well, since it was my birthday, decided to treat myself to a dim sum breakfast at the Fortunate Restaurant outlet at the Food Republic food court. Honestly, it was my first time trying it, but I had always noticed the queue being very long.

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Shark fin dumping, siu mai, chee cheong fun with char siew and bo luo bao (From top left, to bottom right)

It was surprisingly quite good – especially the bo luo bao, which was so soft and pillowy with tasty, char siew filling! One of the best I’ve tried in a while. Chee cheong fun was good too – very light with melt-in-your mouth texture.

After breakfast, it was back to the usual Sunday routine with putting Dylan down for his nap, buying back lunch, then doing a bit of cleaning up after lunch before heading down to church. Thankfully, I had a little helper for the cleaning up:

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Jas was resting most of the time, preparing for little girl’s arrival. 🙂

Jasmine: Have been seriously wiped out by enduring three months of contractions. Even changing positions or stretching my legs can trigger a contraction. We managed to work in a staycation for D’s birthday last week, so on his actual birthday, I tried to accompany him to things he would like doing, like going to cell and his family’s for dinner. I know it wasn’t a big deal but I was absolutely exhausted by the end of the night. Sorry D.

2. Church Family

Andrew: As we headed down to church, I didn’t know my boys had planned a little celebration for me with a cake and an ‘e-candle’! We always struggle with lighting candles at our cell venue, because it’s so windy, so one of my cell-boys found an interesting phone app which had a blow-able candle – the candle would go ‘off’ when you blew into the speaker! Genius!

We didn’t have a knife, so we improvised and used Dylan’s baby fork:

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Dilly sees these people regularly enough that they have also become like ‘family’ to him. He usually takes a while to warm up, but after about 10- 15 minutes, he’ll be running all around and playing with everyone. Here, he’s being entertained endlessly by Yihan’s water-bottle cap .

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Cute, glum face

The boys also got us two piggy-banks – which they had won at the Touch Young Arrows funfair last week using the coupons I had bought – supposedly to help Dylan and little girl with financial planning. How thoughtful and long-sighted of them. Heh.

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3. With my family

After church, we headed to my mum’s place for dinner, where my sister-in-law had prepared a sumptuous Western spread, with some ingredients all the way from Melbourne!

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Baked Portobello Mushrooms

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Roast Chicken with potatoes, carrots and herbs

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Baked fish with garlic

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Pasta with pesto (pesto was freshly made!)

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Pizza with ham and rocket

It was a meal of my favourites, so besides all the above, there was lotus root soup and kou rou bao (fatty pork with mantou)!

Dylan also had a feast. Besides his porridge, he had lots of spaghetti and a fruit platter –

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Little boy amused everyone with all his cute antics, like banging his feet non-stop on the sink as I washed him up after his dinner, and learning how to kick a ball around.

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It was great to see him so comfortable in my mum’s place, just roaming around and exploring the cabinets, wall decals, the mirrors and the other rooms!

Ended off the celebration with a small black forest cake!

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What a happy, meaningful birthday spent with my loved ones!

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Bali Birthday! (2013)

Andrew: For my birthday last year, Dearie planned a getaway to Bali which was just pure pampering – a beautiful villa, a refreshing massage, great restaurants and shopping (where I finally found a suitable casual bag for myself)! With her usual trip-planning finesse, Dearie had meticulously researched all the good restaurants and possible things we could do. It was also our first time away from Baby D, as my mother-in-law helped us take him. (Jasmine: Thanks alot Mum!!)

This being our first time in Bali, we were actually quite surprised at how easy it was to get around and how much there was to do, in terms of dining and shopping. We didn’t actually do any touristy-stuff, but did most of what we would usually do in Singapore – which was great too! 

Here are some highlights from this wonderful getaway:

1. Great Restaurants

Breeze at The Semaya

Andrew: I am not exaggerating when I say that this is the most romantic restaurant I’ve ever been to – I really went WOW when we arrived at the restaurant.

IMG_4331Beautiful Dear with our celery amuse bouche

Jasmine: This was the top-rated restaurant in Seminyak and I could totally see why. The path leading to the restaurant was stunning too, lit dimly by candles floating on long narrow pools. When we reached the restaurant, we were given seats right by the beach. It was the very definition of romantic, dining by the waves under hurricane lamps.

Andrew: There was something just so calming about dining by the sea, with the sound of the waves gently crashing and the sea breeze gently blowing. We even had to use reading lamps to peruse the menu. It was amazing. We were so hungry by the time we got there, so we didn’t take many photos and since it was dark, the photographs are too blur, but we can guarantee you that they certainly didn’t disappoint in terms of taste! The less blurred photographs are below. 

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Bread, with butter & chives

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Roasted Pumpkin Soup, crispy bacon

The pumpkin soup was rich and hearty – each scoop was flavourful and the cheese souffle was the perfect texture, absorbing and complement the flavours of the soup.

As for our main courses, we wanted to try a mix of their Western and their Asian dishes so Jasmine had the pork belly and I had the duck curry (bebek menyatnyat). Both were good! 

Sardine

Jasmine: Even after a year, I’d still say that this was my favourite restaurant in a long while, period.  The lunchtime atmosphere was buzzing, and the view of rice paddies drenched in water was not only serene but provided a respite from the busy-ness of the lunch crowd, as you could walk into the rice paddies from the restaurant.

Sardine, as its name implies, specialises in fish, and I relished the freshness of all the dishes. The drinks were refreshing and good for countering the heat too!

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Andrew: I ordered coconut water, and they put the coconut water in one cup and the ice and lemon in another cup, so that you could just transfer it over when you wanted to drink it and not let the coconut water get diluted! How thoughtful!

These were the dishes we had there, all of which were excellent: 

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 Home Cured Salmon on Grilled Flatbread, Lemon Aioli, Arugula Salad

Andrew: As I don’t even like salmon in any form except for sashimi, I was very pleasantly surprised that I loved this dish so much. The flavours balanced off so delicately and the whole dish tasted so light and refreshing. Great appetizer to start off the meal!

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Salad Nicoise, Fresh Yellow Fin Tuna, Mix Greens, Tomato, Olives, Green Beans, Anchovies & Quail Eggs, Red Wine-Herb Vinaigrette (what a long dish name)

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Grilled Whole Fish “Jimbaran Style” with Sambal Matah Organic White Rice & Bedugul Vegetables

Andrew: If there’s one thing that characterises the food here, it’s the freshness and lightness of it. The flavours are not intense, but  all the flavours are well thought-out, playing off each other in a well-balanced manner, which is light on the palate. The grilled fish was done just right, with the fish moist and tasty with natural flavour – it went perfectly with the rice on its own, the sambal added a nice sourness and spice! Loved it all.

After our lunch, we took a little jaunt around the rice padis and even though the sun was hot, there was a nice breeze as well. I could imagine us just spending a whole afternoon here, chilling out and chatting 🙂

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2. Wonderful Villa!

Jasmine: Our hotel, Seiryu Villas, was quite special. 5 min drive from the main shopping stretch, yet so tucked away and exclusive that taxi drivers usually got lost, giving me a heart attack one night as the driver had us circling for 20 min and could not call the hotel because, as we later found, he was illiterate 😦

The Japanese-Balinese decor was striking and graphic. The open space of the zen garden at reception gave way to a completely dark passageway lined with heavy wooden doors, that seemed to hint that we were being transported to our own private hideout. Then the space opened up again, as we opened the doors to a lush Balinese garden with a pool, that would be our villa and home for the next two nights.

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My favourite feature of the villa was that you could walk right into the pool from the bathroom or vice versa, which makes perfect sense since people usually shower right after a swim, and who needs those silly standalone showers by the pool, anyway? The pool was framed at one end by the bathroom and at the other end by a pavilion which was perfect for breakfast or lounging.

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Some of the more traditionally Balinese aspects of the villa, including the stone and wood finishings in the toilets:

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And as mentioned previously, we could walk right out from the bathroom to our plunge pool!

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Had breakfast at this pavilion on our last morning too!

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And the Balinese entryway and garden!

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Andrew: We didn’t take any shots of the room in the morning, but you can imagine how it’d be like too. I spent the morning swimming in the pool and just chilling out in the pavilion reading.

What we forgot to photograph as well was the breakfast which was served in the kitchen in this villa itself. It’s almost like having your own private butler service, where they come in, lay out the table and prepare hot drinks for you. It was quite a feast, really! They also prepared a birthday cake for me, which was your usual chocolate cake – nothing fantastic, but a sweet gesture nonetheless.

3. Great shopping!

Jasmine: Shopping in Seminyak was lots of fun. I had feared that it would be touristy and overpriced, but there were many independent Indonesian and European (living in Bali) boutiques, and I managed to buy 3 or 4 dresses. The prices were not cheap (think about SGD$60 a dress) but the level of detail in the beading justified those price tags as such embellishment would easily cost twice as much in Singapore. Just driving along the shopping stretch was like window-shopping in itself, as all the storefronts were beautifully lit and the collections appealingly presented.

Seminyak shopping was more upscale and sophisticated, whereas Ubud shopping showcased Balinese artistry and craftsmanship for prices you can haggle down in the markets. I love both places and can’t wait to go back to Bali a third time!

Andrew: Managed to get myself a casual sling bag here, which I had been looking for for ages – so I’d say the shopping was fruitful enough.

Thanks Dear for planning yet another wonderful birthday!

Dylan’s Staycation at Skang-rila

Andrew: While Mummy and Daddy were away staycationing at the Quincy, Dilly was also having his own little staycation at Skang-rila Resorts. Shall let him relate his experience 🙂

Dilly: Mummy and Daddy always try out different hotels for their staycation, but I have only been to one place and it’s my top choice – Skang-rila Resorts, SK for Sengkang, and named after its giant mascot, the Rila-kumma, which I love so much!

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My Daddy is freaked out by this huge monster of a soft toy, but I love it so much… The soft toys in my home can’t compare – there’s only one pathetic little teddy bear which is so hard and uncuddly, even after I’ve thrown it on the floor endless times.

Skang-rila is my top choice because of its location (5 minutes walk from the shopping mall or playground), food (yes, just like my Daddy) and the range of activities over the weekend:

  • Full range of play activities from outdoor playgym, pull-toy extravaganza and other sensory activities;
  • All day drinks and snacks from Four Leaves (best bakery ever – even better than Dean and Deluca snacks that Daddy and Mummy had which were hard and dry – or so I heard);
  • Spacious rooms with lots of running space
  • All meals fully provided for, complete with personalised feeding and cleaning up services;
  • Full day photo shoot (provided by Ee2 Mobile-Photography Services) from start till end
  • Welcome gift, of my own selection!

With all these activities, what’s there not to be happy about! I’m a happy baby, especially when I get to try out spa treatments like my Mummy!

Hmm, isn’t it a bit inappropriate to be photographing me without my clothes! This is a family friendly blog here.

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After lunch, it was playground time! Even had my personal escorts – 3 of them!

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Doe eyes

Granny and Ee Ee patiently escorted me over…. Hey Ee2, isn’t this just below your house, I mean, hotel? Why you dress so nice?

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My body-guards, side by side 🙂

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This playground beats the one at my place! Nobody else is around…

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This whole playground is mine!

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Ooh… let me make my way to the other side to the slide – on my own! Daddy always never lets me go on my own, because he’s so worried for me…

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Yes yes yes… I’m getting closer to the slide… I can’t wait to go down!

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Yay I got there! Oh noooo Uncle YZ… Why are you holding me back? I wanna go down on my own! Let me go again!

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Bring me back to the slide again! Stop taking photos!

So after playground time, I went back to have the all day bites (just milk and raisin bread) and take a nap. This is the life!

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Wow – this photographer is really committed. Even photographing me in my sleep! Oh, by the way, don’t I look like an angel here?

After waking up, it was time to go exploring again! This time to the mall to buy a welcome gift!

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Met another friend at the mall, a fellow baby… but she was rather quiet, and didn’t move much. Her eyes were so big, she was kinda scary…

Granny ended up buying for me a truck, which was converted into a pull-toy! Now, why can’t I get an actual pull-toy instead of all these improvised pull devices… First, Mummy used Daddy’s belt on my truck which kept collapsing. Then we used our tape measure at home and now, raffia string… Wow, things just keep going down, don’t they? (Andrew: Dilly, please be appreciate of what you have!) Oh okay…. of course I am Daddy (you cheapo – by the way, I heard Melissa & Doug pull-toys are really good, I have them on my Amazon wish-list. Thanks!).

Anyway, in case anyone accuses me of being picky, I LOVED my new toy! Kept pulling it all around Granny’s place, which was so spacious and baby-friendly…

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And as you know, we brought almost half of my house over with me, so along with me came my favourite book – which Uncle YZ read with me. By the way, that little Panda you see there is kinda freaky but intelligent…. it copies exactly what I say, but in a higher pitch that sounds like Mummy!

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After a very eventful Day 1, I was all tired out and went to bed after a sumptuous supper of my favourite milk…. Life is good!

Just to add that I not only got porridge for dinner, but my favourite corn too, which was actually from Ee Ee’s dinner! I get away anything because I am so cute 🙂

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Day 2

Had a good sleep and woke up well-rested the next day…

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This is not a good just out-of-bed look of mine then started off with some quiet time….

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So Daddy woke up at 6 a.m. to sit by the pool to have some quiet time during his staycation. Here am I, having a pensive moment at 11 a.m. – holding my pull-toy and staring out at the grass patch below. Hmmm, fascinating….

After my lunch, there was a whole line up of activities for me!

1. Sensory Play with Paper Stars

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2. Make-Believe Play – bottle becoming chew-toy and telephone!

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Hello Mummy and Daddy, when are you all coming over? (Don’t come back too soon, I’m having too much fun.)

3. Musical Dinosaur!

This dinosaur, which used to be with me at home, but has since moved over to Skang-rila, much like many of my other toys, by request of Granny…

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4. Random photo-taking of my handsome face 

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5. And back to my pull-toy!

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Trying to transfer the ‘smell’ of my smelly penguin over to another penguin…

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Here’s even a collage of all my activities!

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After the 5 exciting activities above, I heard that Mummy and Daddy were arriving soon…. so I thought I’d be on my best behaviour and help with the housework before they arrive!

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Went down for my nap before they arrived and Daddy rudely awakened me from my nap… so I was very moody until they brought me out for dinner!

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Daddy walked so fast I had to chase after him….

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Wait for me, Daddy!

It was hands-down one of the best staycations ever! I love Skang-rila! A big huge for my favourite Rila before I go!

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[Afternote: Dilly really enjoyed this ‘staycation’ of his. As I was doing up this blog-entry, he kept staring at the computer, looking at the photographs and smiling or laughing. We are really thankful for family members who enjoy playing with him so much, so that Jas and I can go have a relaxing break too!]

Andrew’s Birthday Celebration

Andrew: Celebrated my birthday early this year as Dear is expected to pop any time soon. As always, it’s a combination of staycation, food and shopping and this post shall be divided as such.

1. The Staycation @ Quincy Hotel

Andrew: We selected Quincy this time, for its location (5 minutes walk from Paragon or Far East Plaza) and range of activities over the weekend:

  • Art Jamming at 3pm
  • Movie under the Stars
  • All day drinks, snacks and Dean & Deluca pastries/cakes (note that it is advertised as “all day bites from Dean & Deluca”, which is not entirely accurate- only some items like the teas and cakes are from Dean & Deluca)
  • cocktails with canapes from 6-8.30pm
  • breakfast
  • entry for 2 to Butter Factory (hahaha)

Jasmine: Although the amenities sounded really impressive, the hotel and service were only adequate at best- we’ll be highlighting some lapses and AFIs (sorry for geekiness) if you read on.

Andrew: We didn’t know that we could only sign up for the activities if we were on the Qool weekend package. However, given Dearie’s condition, I don’t think we’d be up for all the activities. The Art Jamming was done outdoors at 3 p.m. and I’m sure Dear would have complained about the heat and the Movie Under the Stars was actually done in their pool area, with sofas and some couples sitting in floats on the pool watching the movie. Dear would have been very uncomfortable on that float! Heh. We planned our own itinerary and had a really great time!

Our Room  

We got a Deluxe Studio room, which had a decent view overlooking Orchard Road. We had stayed at smaller rooms before, like at ParkRoyal@Pickering (Jasmine: actually we got a free upgrade to the suite, dear, but it may have felt smaller coz the bedroom and living room could be sectioned off), but somehow this room lacked that cosy feel, which we felt the ParkRoyal room had, which really made you just want to hang out in the room and chill out for the whole day.

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Jasmine: The bathroom- again, only ok by my standards- lacked the luxury finishings and double sink that I expect from a really good hotel.

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Jasmine: However, the bathroom did redeem itself somewhat by offering Molton Brown toiletries- the only other hotel I’ve seen offering Molton Brown is Fullerton Bay, albeit packaged even more classily there.

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Minibar and mini pantry.

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Andrew: Free snacks in the room, replenished daily. Dear, of course, seized the packet of Lays and finished it even before I knew it!

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Jasmine: The mini fridge also held several cans of soft drinks and mineral water which were free for the taking! Never made sense to me to charge exorbitant prices for basic snacks in hotel fridges which you can get at nearby supermarkets for a fraction of the price. So glad Quincy at least got this right!

On another note, I’m kinda tempted to put a bar fridge in my bedroom, and stock it with cold water, midnight snacks and icepacks!

Tea Time Snacks

Andrew: After taking some photos around the room, we headed down immediately for the tea-time snacks!

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Tea time snacks included free flow soft serve ice-cream with toppings, juices and canned drinks,hot drinks, dried fruits and nuts as well as pastries from Dean and Deluca. Honestly, we felt the Dean and Deluca bites were over-hyped. The chocolate-pecan pastry I had was rather dry, but the Lemon Pound Cake was good – cake was moist and each bite was full of lemon zest! I didn’t expect to like it, but I eventually finished off Dearie’s slice!

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The free flow soft serve was something that would definitely have been a hit with kids! However, there weren’t that many kids at this hotel – it’s definitely built itself more of a niche with couples. Nonetheless, Dear had a lot of fun making her own ice cream concoction below:

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Andrew: After our tea time snacks, we took a little stroll around the hotel and Dear was quite intrigued by these  ‘busts’ around the toilet.

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We also went upstairs to take a sneak peek at the Art Jamming classes through the gym window! They have quite a well fitted out gym – decent for such a small size and this floor is also where they have their infinity pool.

The gym and pool are open 24 hours, so it’s a real nice place to chill out. I went to the pool at 6.30 a.m. on Sunday just to have my quiet time and it was really serene and peaceful, lying on the very cosy benches, looking out at the skyline slowly turn bright as dawn broke. Had a real nice swim after that too.

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Evening Cocktails and Canapes

Andrew: Quincy is arguably one of the most blogged about hotels we’ve stayed it – there were pages upon pages of Google search results when we did our search and most had quite mixed reviews of the dinner. Food was decent, spread was good, but not stellar – so we went out for our own dinner (and shopping) which we will talk more about later!

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Came back around 7.45p.m. just for some post dinner snacking and was actually quite pleasantly surprised by the food. What was good was that they kept the selection of hot dishes small, but because of that, the dishes were replenished very often, hence you could easily get a freshly cooked batch of food every 10-15 min. We sat there for about 20 – 30 minutes and within that span, we had freshly cooked penne, Vietnamese Chicken fried rice and mussels in cream sauce! I quite liked the Vietnamese Chicken fried rice and had about 3 servings of it (yes, even after I had my dinner) – mushrooms were juicy and tasty, chicken chunks moist and well seasoned!

There was also a selection of cold cuts, cheeses, fruits and desserts.

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Along with our dinner, we each got a selection of a cocktail/mocktail. I had a Singapore Sling and Dear had a Qool Breeze mocktail!IMG_6011

As a nice touch, they had this bowl of chocolates right next to their main entrance, with a cute caption ‘There’s Always Room for Chocolates’ and free flow of mini Mars bars! Looks like free food is the theme of this restaurant and certainly a way to win guests over and keep them in the hotel. (Jasmine: The all-day bites are a good way to distinguish them from their competitors in the same price range, as it’s for all guests at Quincy, whereas you would have to pay extra for club privileges at other hotels to enjoy free flow snacks.)

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The breakfast spread

Breakfast spread was the usual continental spread with pasta (yes, it appears quite often in their menu, because Modestos is just next door, part of Elizabeth Hotel), scrambled eggs, chicken ragout, spring roll,  sausages and bacon.

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Along with the hot food, there was a spread of freshly cut fruits, yoghurts, nuts and dried fruits as well as juices, cheeses and breads! I have to say, I really really liked the bread they served!

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Specifically, I loved the raisin and orange peel loaf that you see on the top of the picture below. I put one slice through the toaster, tore of a bit and ate it and immediately, I was won over. The texture was so light and crispy, and the bread so fragrant and flavourful – went great with cream cheese or even on its own. I had 4 to 5 slices of that. (Think Dear and I wiped out about half of that loaf on our own). I asked the waiter where they got their breads from and they couldn’t answer me – I shall have to hunt down this loaf.

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This is Dear’s platter below! Didn’t get to take a picture of mine, because I was too busy eating.

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An area that we felt could be improved about Quincy was the service. It was adequate, but it didn’t have that extra mile that great hotels have, which I thought was a pity and not something that require much more ‘investment’ in terms of money (perhaps though, in the form of training). We would have appreciated if the waiter or manager could have helped us find out where the bread was sourced from, given that we had given it a positive review. That would have scored them some points! Also, we only realised later that we could order eggs freshly cooked from the kitchen, either sunny-side up or an omelette, but this was not highlighted to us.

When we had to shift table as it was too warm for Dear, the wait-staff didn’t come along to help us move our stuff, even though they were standing by and evidently quite available. When I was swimming, the hotel staff asked me if I would like them to remove the floats from the pool. Honestly, it didn’t bother me, but since they offered, I said okay. However, nobody came to remove them in the 1 hour that I was there. It’s not that we needed such pampering or attentive treatment, but it would have added to the experience. Which is why I said the service was adequate, but didn’t have that ‘extra mile’.

[Plus points for service recovery – they sent us an email today to ask for feedback and I pointed them to our blog entry. The Hotel Manager, Christina,  immediately responded to share that they were acting on our feedback and also, that the bread came from Swiss Treats! I even asked specifically which loaf was it that I liked so much and she told me it was Traditional French Brioche with Fruits. Shall go hunt that down at NEX!]

Sunday Afternoon Bites 

Andrew: Oh, and what I didn’t mention earlier was that our offer came with a late check-out at 4 p.m. – which gave us another opportunity to enjoy their afternoon bites. Even though we had a lunch booking at Gordon’s Grill, we just had to eat a bit of what they had. The spread was much more extensive than the day before, with laksa (made to order) on the menu and sandwiches!

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The Dean & Deluca spread was similar to the day before, with the addition of… Rainbow cake!

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I had paid $7 dollars before to eat this cake at their Orchard Central outlet, so just out of cheap thrill, I had to have a slice here, for free! I didn’t quite enjoy it the first time, but this second time where it was free, I must say it tasted better. Haha!

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All in all, it was a decent experience at Quincy. Facilities and food were decent enough, room could be improved and service definitely could have been improved. For the price we paid, we could have gotten a room with club privileges at Intercontinental Hotel, hence I would consider this rather pricey. Propose the hotel looks into improving its service and also providing a frequent shuttle into the heart of Orchard. They could also allow an on the day sign-up for their activities, because not all couples would want to do all the activities.

2. The Food!

Andrew: It seems like we’ve already blogged so much about food @ Quincy that I can’t imagine there’s a separate section on it. This section is on the meals we had that were not at the Quincy. Unlike other times where we could splurge on more expensive degustation menus, this time we went to more mid-range places, and interestingly, by coincidence, places that we had been to during our dating days, which did bring back good memories!

Day 1 Lunch: Hatched!

Andrew: So, before we checked in, we dropped by Hatched at Evans Road for a quick lunch as I was fasting breakfast that morning (yes, even after a 10km run!) –so you can imagine, I was famished!

One thing Hatched hasn’t lost is its quirky charm and one of a kind decor and design. Just check out these really cute salt and pepper shakers! (Jasmine: actually, I know exactly where to buy them.)

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They had plenty of cute lamps about, but we didn’t take shots of them. These were our drinks below: a fruit tea and iced caramel latte!

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And my food – a ‘Burly Benedict’, poached eggs and corned beef on English muffin.  Ironically, the egg was the worst part of this dish. The corned beef was alright and the English muffin was light and fluffy, even the mashed potato with a mushroom sauce was creamy and comforting.

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However, the egg was disappointing – the sauce on top was tasteless and the texture of the fried egg was quite ‘rubbery’. Quite a disappointment! Serving was small too, given that I had already ordered the double egg – but I didn’t quibble too much as we had the light bites at Quincy to look forward to!

Dear and I had come to this outlet before while we were dating and quite surprised to find the standard drop quite significantly!

Day 1 Dinner: Everything With Fries

Andrew: We wanted a quick dinner on Saturday after we had spent more time than expected on shopping (more on that later!) and wanted to rush back in time for the dinner canapes, so Everything with Fries at Orchard Central it was!

It was extremely crowded, but a couple was nice enough to offer us their seat, so we returned the favour later too when we saw a couple finding a seat.

Here’s what we had – a crumbed fish burger with sour cream and onion fries, duck leg burger with curry fries and a side of har cheong kai.

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The har cheong kai was the best! Chicken chunks were so juicy, the batter so crispy and well-seasoned, and it went perfectly with the mayo sauce on the side.

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Of the burgers, I loved the fish burger more. The duck leg burger was interesting and tasty, but because it was duck, the patty lacked the chewiness and juiciness that we usually appreciate about burger patties. The fish patty was so light and soft that it almost ‘melted’ together with the bun with each bite! Completely divine! The fries were generously seasoned and tasty! Such a simple, sure-win formula.

This restaurant has significantly improved from the time we first went there during our dating days. Dear used to stay near an EWF and this used to be our dinner before we went for cell on Fridays. It has retained its high quality of food as well as strong following, and I can see the range of burgers has increased, as well as desserts!

Day 2: Lunch – Gordon’s Grill 

Andrew: This was the ‘birthday treat’ of the weekend – Sunday roast at Gordon’s Grill! I had been there ages ago with my family and always wanted to come back. This meal was a real steal – at $50 per pax for a 3 course lunch, and $60 for a 4 course (including coffee or tea at the end) – if you check out the a la carte menu, the main course itself is already $40 plus, hence it’s totally worth it!

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The courses included a starter – we had the escargoes and the cold cappellini with crab, truffle and caviar. The cold cappellini was their signature dish and rightfully so – each bite had such a delicate mix and cacophony of rich flavours. Fantastic! The escargoes were well done and juicy, but not out of this world.

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Next course was the soup, where we had French Onion soup and Lobster Bisque with a splash of Napoleon brandy. The Lobster Bisque was the winner here, with a rich, creamy and robust flavour. 

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And then, it was the main course! Since their wagon-roasted black angus beef was the signature dish, both of us had it! The other dishes didn’t sound as attractive anyway.

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As the signature dish of the restaurant, it definitely didn’t disappoint! The serving was generous and the beef was just divine – so tasty, tender and juicyyy! Loved the Yorkshire pudding at the side and the boiled vegetables with mash. Serving was so big that Dearie couldn’t finish half of hers, and of course, I volunteered to help!

Jasmine: I rarely eat beef, but I had read that the roasts were the star of the show at Gordon’s Grill, and it didn’t disappoint! Juicy, tender and one of the most generous servings I’ve ever seen! My one small disappointment was that the meat wasn’t carved and plated tableside, since the roast meats trolley is supposed to be a Gordon’s signature and dying trade in Singapore restaurants- a waiter later told me that that was just for the a la carte orders but I still don’t understand the difference…

Andrew: Finally, we had a mini Baked Alaska to share, because I didn’t want to over-eat!

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Besides the food, there were other nice little touches, which made this restaurant unique. Dear’s Dior Ling got VIP treatment, with a little chair of its own! (Jasmine:  Wow! I’m amazed Dear remembers the name of my bag! Last time he would have just called it “the pink thing”.)

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Andrew: And all around the restaurants were these paintings in recessed walls, which Dear is planning to do in our home! Oh, someone please save me! (Jasmine: relax… I said, future home.)
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Jasmine: As a sidenote, I love the decor of this restaurant: elegant but not stuffy, with a nod to the colonial building through its classic furniture but given a modern update with the neutral palette and fantastic figurative artwork in “reverse framing”, yet small enough such that you feel comfortable and not intimidated by the poshness of the surroundings.

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Andrew: All in all, a great meal. Thanks Dear!

3. The Shopping!

Andrew: As always, we save the best for last! Now, Dear had asked me where I wanted to go to shop and I told her let’s go to Orchard Gateway, since I wanted to try out Daniel and Jamie’s latest restaurant – Dulce and Sucre! Little did I realise that Orchard Gateway was a heaven for men’s shopping because they had an entire floor dedicated to men’s shopping! This is something that no other mall in Singapore has. I believe all the shops there are also unique to Orchard Gateway, giving it a true niche in the market.

We didn’t take a picture here, but they had a store where you could get custom-made shoes, with a choice of the material and design of sole, the type of material used, the design of the shoe etc. The designer walks you through the design elements, then they send the design back to Korea for them to tailor make it. We saw some truly stand-out pieces, but immediately left when they told us that each piece starts from $500. (Jasmine: Allow me to just point out that two days later, Andrew told me he was thinking of going back to check out this shop.)

One shop which we spent a lot of time at was this shop ‘S2VS’, where I bought 3 new shirts – one of which you’ve seen extensively in the pictures at Gordon’s Grill. This I quote from Dear, the shop ‘does colour blocking really well’, which is something I currently do not have in my wardrobe! Well, since she said it, I had to plug that gap in my wardrobe, didn’t I? Heh.

Jasmine: I’ve created a monster. I should never have introduced that man to the concept of coloured shoes. I should have just let him think shoes only came in black. Now he’s talking about colorblocking and custom made shoes, for goodness’ sake. Sighhhh.

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Jasmine: We also spotted this shop, City Flow, near the escalator, which sold a whole range of creatively designed products from Taiwan, some winning Red Dot Design awards, ranging from quirky Oscar trophy and industrial lamps, to ice cub trays which can make transparent ice cubes (instead of the normal whitish ones), to tissue boxes designed with springs to help get the last piece of tissue out!

Andrew: I was drawn to this amazing range of rings they had, which resembled my wedding band. Dear identified a really nice design in ebony and stainless steel and bought it for me as my birthday present:

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Even the ring box is stylo

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Nicely matches my skin tone…. and my new Ted Baker watch! (Jasmine: I don’t understand.. why is this watch picture here? Told you I created a monster.)

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Andrew: Wow, now that we’ve blogged about it, I can’t imagine so much was done in the short span of just 1 day! Thanks Dear for this amazing birthday celebration. Beyond all the treats and presents, what was truly good was the  couple-time where we had, just laughing, chatting, and reminiscing about our dating days. It was a much needed recharge for the week ahead and also, for the next phase of our lives when baby girl arrives!

Wacky Baby Products

Jasmine: I guess it’s no secret that we quite love testing out baby products and toys- if I were to link all the posts we’ve done, I’d probably need a glossary. Heh. We do believe in durability, aesthetic appeal, open-endedness and ease of cleanliness, and read reviews with great fervour to separate the must-haves from the nice-to-haves.  (Andrew: Dearie’s the one who judiciously researches every product we buy on Amazon to ensure we buy the stuff that has the best customer reviews – to the extent that once we stood at Isetan for about 20 minutes, while she checked thru Amazon for which wooden toy had the best reviews. Yes, that’s how crazy my wife is.)

We have, however, occasionally caved in to buy some silly or outright wacky baby products- and here are our reviews:

1. Baby shower hat ($6 at Isetan)

Jasmine: This is supposed to keep shampoo and water out of baby’s eyes as the water drains off the grooves. In reality though, using one hand as a “visor” to shield baby’s eyes works just as well. (Andrew: No it doesn’t… when was the last time you bathed baby?) Now I supervise, dear 😀

We just bought this silly hat on impulse coz it makes Dylan look like a sunflower. Weirdly too, we found this in the kitchenware section of Isetan.

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Andrew: Dylan used to detest things on his head, like hats, and would keep pullin them off, but he had no issues with this shower hat. It worked well when I had to wash vigorously, with the showerhead to remove the rice grains in his hair after a very messy lunch. Well, aren’t his meals all messy? Anyway, the size is also customizable to your baby’s head size, by cutting slits in the middle. The crazy things people come up with! Dillie looks soo cute in it!

2. Japanese baby banana toothbrush ($9.90 at Kiddy Palace)

Jasmine: We were actually rather late in starting dental hygiene. Apparently, we are supposed to start brushing as early as 4 months of age, or whenever baby gets his first tooth. The idea is to start young so that he won’t be resistant to having a toothbrush in his mouth- however, if you know babies, they can’t resist putting things in their mouths, especially contraband items, so I don’t really feel like we missed the boat here. Heh.

We did get this Japanese baby banana toothbrush for him, which also doubles as a teether as there are different grooves on the base. Dyl loves the squeaky sound of the brush against his teeth, and will not only brush his teeth (and gums) himself, but let us do so for him as he squeals happily.

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It’s easy to hold and looks like his favourite thing in the world, bananas! What’s not to love?

We later realised this was an imitation of the original Baby Banana Toothbrush- which costs double the price (Oral B should really tap this toddler market) but is supposedly very good quality- reinforced bristles to withstand the tearing power of teething babies who use it as a teether. We bought one for Baby Leia, hopefully she will like using hers too.

3. Summer Infant Tiny Diner placemat ($12 from Amazon)

Jasmine: “What is this thing?” was the unspoken question my family had when we unrolled it and put it in front of Dylan when we went for Mother’s Day dinner.

It is a placemat with suction cups to adhere it to any table, to provide a clean eating surface for baby. We thought this would be quite handy for Dyl to practise Baby-Led Weaning (BLW) or have finger foods at restaurants.

Well, he didn’t get to make much of a mess ‘coz all he got was cucumber…

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Sorry, I take my words back.

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Also comes with a crumb-catcher pocket to minimise spillage or droppage.

Andrew: This is a great invention, which makes meal times that much more bearable. At restaurants, we usually like to give Dilly some finger food, because that means we can continue to eat while we occupy ourselves with our own food. Problem is sometimes the surface can be dirty, or Dilly just ends up smearing the food all over the table. With this mat, that reduces the mess slightly. More good meal-times ahead for Jazzy and Andrew!

4. Pacifier Medicine Dispenser ($4.90 at Toys R Us)

Jasmine: And lastly, most babies hate being given medicine through a syringe, so we thought this was equal parts ridiculous and genius. We haven’t tried it yet, but Andrew suggests that we can offer this to baby with some yucky liquid inside to break Dylan of his pacifier habit. So mean.

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Andrew: We bought this when we first had to give medicine to Dillie and he kept squirming whenever we used the syringe to ‘squirt’ medicine into his mouth. However, since then, he has become used to taking medicine from a spoon, so no more use for this! As you can see, it’s still nicely packaged, so I’m not sure when we’re going to find a use for it – maybe for baby girl?

Jasmine: I think maybe Andrew can try it if he falls sick. Men tend to be so whiny when ill…

More on New York: Winter Fashion and Food!

Andrew: Right after completing the entry of top 10 on NYC, I realised there was still so much to write about NYC – in particular food and winter fashion! Okay, honestly I just wanted to write about the food places we went to, but when compiling the photos, I realised that there was so much fashion (mainly Dearie’s) to feature, hence decided to make it a fashion and food post – much to Dear’s delight, I’m sure.

Bouchon Bakery

Andrew: We actually visited two Bouchon bakery outlets during our time in NYC – the outlet at Rockefeller Centre before our NBC tour, and another one at Time Warner Centre after a long walk following a Christmas service.

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Enjoying a chai tea latte from Bouchon Bakery – sad to say, Starbucks was much better!

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Rows and rows of sweet delights!

Andrew: The pastries here were just fantastic. We had a raspberry croissant, which was just out of this world as well as a pistachio macaroon, which was top notch too! Really enjoyed sipping in our hot drinks and soaking in the Christmas atmosphere.

Me sporting my new scarf from H&M and Dearie wearing her rabbit fur scarf + XXX (pls fill in fashion details)

Rabbit fur scarf from Shanghai, woollen beret from H&M Washington and white coat from Warehouse

Andrew: The dinner that we had at Bouchon was not as impressive, I felt, perhaps due to what I ordered. Dearie, however, enjoyed her salmon rillette a lot!

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Leather jacket from Uniqlo, Polo-T from H&M

Scarf from Edinburgh, peacoat from Topshop

Jasmine: I saw these salmon rillettes on Food Network in Singapore and was so happy when I saw them on the menu! It is essentially just shredded cooked and smoked salmon with butter served in a jar, for you to spread on crispy brown bread. So simple, yet so delish!

Shake Shack

Andrew: Classic case of over-dressing – going to a fast food joint in vest + pants for me and Betsy Johnson dress for Dearie. This was our indulgence after our NYC photo-shoot and we had missed our lunch cos we were too caught up in photo-taking. Think we had quite a few people staring at us. Do note that the temperatures were close to zero on this day!

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Dress from Betsey Johnson Washington, hairband from Christmas market at Bryant Park (a Spanish designer who recycles scrap metal and plastics into accessories)

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Tailored vest from my wedding suit and shirt from POA; hair styled by Jasmine

Andrew: Shake Shack is immensely popular in US and there was a crazy queue almost every time we went. There are many outlets too throughout NYC, so you can’t miss it. It was great comfort food – burgers with juicy patties, melted cheese and greens, cheese fries, and thick milkshakes (or what they call frozen custard)! Not sure if I would queue up again for it, but it was certainly worth trying.

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Chickalicious Dessert Club and Bar

Andrew: This place was recommended by a colleague I met at a department retreat before our trip. It was rather out of the way and we had to walk quite a bit from the train station to find it, but the plus point was that there were no crowds, hence we could just enjoy our lovely desserts. Did some research too prior to going and when you read one long, photo-heavy entry just on the cookies and cream ice-cream alone, there’s no way you can not go to this place. The ice cream certainly didn’t disappoint – just look at those huge cookie chunks – it’s even chunkier and less overwhelmingly sweet than Ben & Jerry’s.  Bring this to Singapore!

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Andrew: The chocolate éclair didn’t disappoint too (and yes, there’s another blog entry I read just on that eclair). The above photos were from the dessert club – just across the street is a more classy version called the dessert bar, where there is only one fixed menu, kind of like a degustation menu and you are served several courses of desserts! Just imagine having desserts being split also into starter, main course and erm… dessert? LOL.

Nanette Lepore blazer from Filene’s Basement Boston (another shopper said, “I’m lazy to try it on but it looks good on you so I’m just gonna buy one”), necklace from Christmas market at Bryant Park, turtleneck from China

Jasmine: Yum yum! I was worried that dessert served in three courses, fine dining style, would be glucose overdose, but it was done just right… and oh my, that crazy ice-cream with the humongous cookie/ cake chunks!

Andrew: Not sure what this was – think it was some kind of apricot tart, but it was good!

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Grey sweater loaned from Jasmine’s brother – thanks Gab!

Greatest buy of the trip [a gift from Dearie!] – industrial watch from Grand Central, which is made of recycled metal and the face is hand-painted, so every watch is different – it’s the only watch I still wear now.

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The petit fours: closest to camera is an almond toasted marshmallow

Andrew: While I don’t recall the specific names of the dishes we ate, I recall that every dish was a hit and not too overwhelming (in terms of taste and portion size). Unfortunately, it wasn’t filling enough, so even after two ‘meals’ of dessert, I still had to go have my ramen! 🙂

Magnolia Bakery @ Bleeker Street

Andrew: We tried really hard to find this place. The cab got lost, so we reached there really late and hungry. Sad to say, we weren’t impressed by the desserts offered and I found cupcakes at Sprinkles and DC cupcakes so much better! There was a long queue still though – wonder why?

Jasmine: Probably because of the name- Magnolia Bakery of Sex and the City fame! I heard that there are tour companies offering SATC-themed tours, with a pit-stop for coffee and cakes at Magnolia Bakery. However, as pretty as the place was, we were let down by pretty much every item we tried- perhaps we ordered the “wrong” things?

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Icebox cake – tasted to me like any regular cake, just more creamy. The cream might have fared better if it had been placed in a chiller for awhile to enhance the sensation of coolness?

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German cupcake with coconut, caramel and pecan, and the classic buttercream cupcake

Andrew: The cupcakes fared better, and the German cupcake was lovely! I still recall we were very hungry after this meal still and because the place was so packed, we had to eat these cakes while standing by the street. The bakery was also in a more upmarket district, which had less food areas, hence we had no other food options. However, shortly after, Dearie discovered a Cynthia Rowley shop and eventually bought a dress from there and her mood immediately picked up for the rest of the day (You’ll see that dress soon).

Cantina Corsino Italiana

Andrew: This was another place we just discovered while watching TV in Yotel. It was featured on Food Network and because it was near High Line, we went there for an early dinner after our romantic stroll 🙂 We needed to have a light dinner as we had our Babbo Christmas Eve dinner booked for that same night at 9.30 p.m. (latest I ever had dinner). It was a really nice place, with great service and the crostinis were perfect for what we needed.

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Nice mix of sweet and savory crostinis 

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Can’t remember all the dishes but the first two were the best – the orange and ricotta cheese as well as olive tapenade! This was our first round of crostinis!

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There you have it – the Cynthia Rowley dress! Paired with a Betsey Johnson belt from Filene’s Basement Boston.

Jasmine: Like Andrew, my favourite was the olive tapenade, which packed quite a flavour punch, and the orange ricotta, coz the tartness of the marmalade contrasted quite well with the mild sweetness of the cheese!  They also change their menu seasonally, so do ask if there’s any special of the day. Great for light bites with a whole bunch of friends.

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Attacking the last two! (Okay, think I didn’t quite nail the savage look in this pic – looks more like staring blankly)

Christmas market

Andrew: I used to frequent the Christmas market every year when in Leeds so I was quite delighted to find one here in NYC. This was at Bryant Park, where we also ice-skated! And for me, I don’t really care about all the Christmas decorations and little ornaments, all I care about is the food!

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Yummy churros!

Jasmine: Maybe I’ve not tried many churros in my life, but this was pretty much perfection for me! Warm, crispy, not too sugary- eating this in the wintry Christmas air while chilling out with my husband was a wonderful way to end the evening.

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Cranberry mulled wine with lemon – this was seriously so good and perfect on a chilly night!

Andrew: As mentioned, NYC brings back so many great memories. There was so much to do there from morning till night and I still haven’t even started talking about the museums we went to, the parks, the historical monuments/areas – that might be our next post! Nonetheless, we’ll definitely be back again!

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Our Fantastic New Zealand Hotels

Jasmine: This is another supremely backdated post, as we went to New Zealand two years ago– and in fact we haven’t finished blogging about it, nor the NYC portion of our honeymoon *looks pointedly at Dear* (Andrew: oops.)

However, the two NZ hotels we stayed in were so phenomenal that they’ve left such a deep impression on me that I just have to blog about it 🙂

1. De Brett Hotel, Auckland

Jasmine: What can I say? I’m such a sucker for mid-century modern design, as it is clean, timeless, functional and yet colourful. I bumped into the owner, Michelle, in the lobby, and she was telling me that every room is different because she went on buying trips to source all these one-of-a-kind and vintage pieces! Oh yeah, she complimented me on my kooky Betsey Johnson stockings (stripes one leg, floral the other) too, that’s how I remember our conversation so vividly. Heh.

This was our gorgeous room for two nights… I just wish we had stayed longer!

The peg board, we found in the Polynesian Spa in Rotorua, leading Dear to say that I can shop anywhere… Now only then you know?? It fits right into this room and it now takes pride of place on our kitchen bar counter, displaying Dilly’s baby pictures!

I was so taken with the luxurious duvet that I asked the staff for the contact… Then on the last day in NZ, I went down to their outlet store and custom-made one for our bedroom, with Alice in Wonderland and dandelion prints to match our fairytale theme. Here are pictures of ours:

It’s velvet, linen and silk, with your choice of whimsical design printed on both sides (reversible)… basically, it’s like sleeping in a velvet dream.

Back to DeBrett…

I also adored the Paul Smith-esque carpet, which was used not just in the rooms but also the hallways to striking effect. I thought the carpet, also designed by the owner Michelle, was genius because with a colourful floor like that, anything you put on top will match! In fact, I’m still looking for a similar rug to put in our living room.

The bathroom was another level of modern luxe, in penny-black mosaic with heated under-flooring, so that instead of freezing on the granite flooring, we would be warm and toasty when coming out of the bath. AND speaking of luxe, the bathrobes come in both the standard terry cloth AND velvet (red robe pictured below)!

Another luxurious touch- double doors to the bathroom, which inspired a scaled-down version to our balcony

And a great contrasting element to prevent the monochromes from being too overwhelming- a painted bamboo ladder for hanging clothes. I also wanted to purchase something similar for our bathroom at home, but alas, the versions in Sg were too pricey (and all were in natural finish anyway), whilst I forgot about this bright idea when we went to Bali a year or so later. (Andrew: Thank GOD you forgot – can’t imagine us lugging a huge bamboo ladder through customs.)

And a wonderful selection of New Zealand teas in the pantry! Andrew and I loved renting DVDs from the hotel lobby and drinking tea/ munching on snacks till late at night.

Kitchen Restaurant

Andrew: It just happened that De Brett hotel also had one of the top-rated restaurants in Auckland. We had many meals there – dinner twice, and breakfast once. The ambience was relaxed and classy; food was satisfying and unique. First time we’ve ever tried Rabbit Ravioli! Loved the quirky collection of plates on the wall – Dearie almost wanted to replicate this in our home!

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The breakfast spread was modest and healthy, with a selection of fresh fruit, pastries, yoghurt, juices and muesli.

Jasmine: I will go out on a limb and say that this was the best hotel I have ever stayed in in my life. Not only were the design and amenities (free DVD rental, free library room where we could browse books, daily buffet breakfast, complementary cocktails) top-notch, the location in the heart of the city and close to many landmarks was stellar! (Andrew: Only drawback was it didn’t have an in-house gym and one had to travel quite a distance, in the cold, just to get to the gym. Other than that, I would definitely agree that this was one of the best hotels we stayed at.)

I’ve also mentioned being inspired by many of De Brett’s design touches, and I must confess that I still keep referring to its pictures as a regular source of inspiration for my home, especially now that we have a child. Mid-century modern/ Scandinavian design, with its emphasis on bright colours and seamless form, seems to stylishly incorporate the “mess” of colourful toys that having a child will inevitably result in!

D, please bring me back again! (Andrew: Only if you promise not to put those plates on the wall. And no more wacky decor ideas.)

Regent of Rotorua, Rotorua, New Zealand

Jasmine: This seemed like the polar opposite of De Brett Hotel, as it was done up in a black and white theme. However, we chose Regent because

  • we didn’t have that many options in Rotorua (I think it was like, 1 out of 4 hotels, and was therefore ranked the #1 hotel on Tripadvisor)
  • the price was reasonable
  • close to all attractions while centrally located in the small town, giving us easier access by car and foot to dining spots and tourist attractions
  • it looked the best, having just undergone a renovation- this point may not be important to most but it is a big factor in any hotel that I select, as I want to come back after a long, arduous day of shopping sightseeing and cultural appreciation to a beautiful, luxurious sanctuary that I don’t experience on a daily basis. No roughing it out for me, sorry, I am not on a mission trip.

The understated foyer:

I’m not a fan of minimalism but I have to concede that this was quite glamorous. In the bedrooms, touches of green were added to prevent the black-and-white colorway from becoming too stark.

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The dining room and bar:

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Our room:

Such a simple and glamorous makeover: dramatic wallpaper and a tufted bedhead! The panels behind slide open to reveal our pantry and wardrobe.

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This hotel building used to be a motel, so it was cool to see how they had revamped it to become a 5-star hotel while still retaining the original motel architecture.

Andrew: I loved this NZ trip very much because we had so much time and such a relaxed itinerary every day. I have great memories of just waking up every morning, reading the newspaper from cover to cover and enjoying my eggs benedict/breakfast set and coffee. There was a naturally-heated geothermal spa, and a swimming pool too, which was heated, but we didn’t get a chance to use the latter. Rotorua was a really nice small town too, which reminded me a lot of UK – shops all closing by 5 and only restaurants being open at night. I would love to go back to NZ again, with my kids in future so that we can do more of the outdoorsy-stuff! (Jasmine: Sure, you can find me at the souvenir shop when you’re done!)

The Dylan Diaries: Mother’s Day Lunch at TOWN Restaurant

Dylan: For Mother’s Day last year, Daddy just brought Mummy for an impromptu celebration at Arteastiq… which was seriously just…

… cringe-worthy. Seriously, Daddy – you can do better than that! This woman pushed me out of her body, you know!

So this year, he did put in more effort and we went for a lunch buffet at Town Restaurant @ Fullerton, which was where they celebrated jiu jiu’s birthday last year when I was still in Mummy’s tummy.

There I am!

All I remember was lots of salmon cones (about 15 to be exact), strawberry lemon tarts and macarons jostling for space with me in Mummy’s tummy. Oh, I also remember Mummy blaming me for not being able to reach her tea:

 

Mummy, it’s not me, it’s the salmon cones. And why isn’t Daddy helping?

On to today’s lunch! Unlike the Courtyard, today’s spread was a more local one – with kueh pie tee and popiah station, nasi lemak, satay, a prata/roti john station as well as…

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… a noodles station, with 3 different types of local noodle dishes – laksa, mee rebus and prawn noodles:

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Daddy really loved the satay station, whereas Mummy really loved the Indian food. What disappointed Mummy was that the Jap station had no sashimi…. Actually Mummy, you’re not supposed to be eating sashimi! You were so good when you had me, I’m going to tell on you when we next go to Dr. Chan. (Daddy: There’s a reason why we don’t bring you along, Dillie.)

While Mummy and Daddy enjoyed all the good local food, all I had was…

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… soba. Yes, plain, dry soba.

Which they repeatedly dropped on my plate and watched in amusement as I gobbled everything up, even the smallest bits. I must have had a whole rice bowl full of clumpy green tea soba from that buffet. I officially hate Fullerton.

Well, when you’re given nothing else, what other choice do you have? I kept pointing at Daddy’s laksa, but all he did was laugh, dump more strands of soba in front of me, then continue slurping his laksa.

Wow. Thanks for giving me the best, parents.

Dessert spread was quite local too, with lots of kuehs, chiffon cakes, mee jiang kueh, bandung… More photos of things I couldn’t eat…

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Ooh, volcanoes! 

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Ice kachang and chendol station

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I thought Mummy was so nice to order me this coloured ice for my sensory play… then she and Daddy just ate it up… All I got was a serviette!

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Daddy’s favourite scones from the Courtyard’s afternoon tea!

After Mummy and Daddy finished eating, no prizes for guessing what they did – to take photos! As if feeding me just soba wasn’t enough, now they want to bring me even closer to the food I can’t eat…

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So I refused to look at the camera throughout and kept staring at the food… Oh, Daddy bought that dress for Mummy for Mothers’ Day by the way. She likes it but I’m kinda confused. I remember Mummy used to say something about how horizontal stripes make you look rounder… You’re already kinda round because of baby sister Mummy, why are you wearing that then?? Make Daddy buy you another one!

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Just wait a while Daddy. Mummy needs a new dress.

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Hey I want that chicken wing!

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When all else failed, I tried smiling cutely while playing peek-a-boo with the table-mat (yes, I was that desperate) to charm Mummy and Daddy into giving me at least some chendol…. to no avail.

Then, we went out for some photos…

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Mummy kept trying to push me towards this black man, but I got so terrified…

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Daddy: Dylan, you need to be careful with using such terms, do not ever call a man ‘black’ – it’s quite sensitive.

Dylan: Alright, go away you big black stone…

Daddy: ….

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 IMG_5566 Dylan: Just like you could see me in the earlier photo under Mummy’s white dress, you can also see my sister in the above photos! As you can see, Mummy’s holding me ‘above’ her, so I’m still the most important – I’m going to show her who’s the boss… nobody’s going to take my Mummy away from me. 😦

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See, I’m still the cutest! Even when my sister arrives, I’ll still be number one!

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Kinda became a bit mopey after thinking about how I’ll no longer be the sole object of Mummy and Daddy’s affection…

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Why God – wwwwhhhyyyy? Why must my life be so sad??

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Go away Daddy. Stop shoving that camera in my face.  Just let me be sad for a while….

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Yes, leave me alone, let me find some joy spending time with these flowers…. just spinning round…

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and round…  IMG_5579

And I’m happy again! I guess having a sister around to play with won’t be so bad after all…

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I just hope Mummy will lend me this volume button to put on my little sister, to quieten her down when she tries to take Mummy and Daddy away from me!

Anyway, thanks Mummy for taking such great care of me. I know it’s been tough on you, even with a second one coming along (hmph!), but we know that you always put us (I mean, me!) first and we’ll always be grateful for all that you’ve done. I guess that’s why you have this blog too, so that in years to come, if we forget and become ungrateful, you can always use this blog as evidence of all that you’ve done. Happy Mothers’ Day!

Fullerton Bay Hotel

[We take a break from the Dylan diaries to post this long overdue post about our Fullerton Bay staycation 2 years ago.]

Andrew: Dearie has been nagging me for ages to post photos of this wonderful hotel, which we staycation-ed in almost two years ago! Was prompted once again when I saw a friend staycationing there on Facebook, so here they are!

We staycation quite frequently, but I have to say that this first staycation set the bar so high that other staycations just couldn’t compare (well, you pay for what you get). Everything was amazing, from the hotel room, to the hotel design, the outstanding view, the great breakfast spread, the service. Would go back again, if only I could afford it so frequently.

The hotel lobby

Andrew: This was the most stunning and impressive hotel lobby ever, with (very) high ceilings and lots of natural lighting.

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Jasmine: The architect, Hong Kong-based Andre Fu, has a distinctively luxe, Hollywood Regency style. From a coffee-table book in our hotel room, I read that he envisioned Fullerton Bay Hotel to be a gem on the waterfront, and therefore designed it to look like a jewel box, with metallic and plush textures.

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Mix of rich fabrics

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Sofas that you can just sink into

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Andrew enjoying life

Jasmine: Although the remodelling and decor were futuristic, there were also nods to the hotel’s history, through archival prints of the building as it was in the 19th-century, and vintage steamer trunks like the one below…

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Our hotel room

Andrew: We were given an excellent room which had a great frontal view of Marina Bay Sands. I spent a lot of time just chilling by the balcony, enjoying the breeze and great view, while journalling. Just happened there was some dragon boat championship during that time too, so I got a great view of what was going on! You’ll see more photos of the view later.

Jasmine: Yes, we were so fortunate to be upgraded to a corner room, which meant not one, but two panels of windows overlooking both MBS and the city.

Both panels of windows had automated sheer and blackout blinds so you could either maximise the view or enjoy the privacy and get a good night’s sleep.

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Jasmine: Service was second to none. Based on whose belongings were on which side table, housekeeping placed a larger pair of bathroom slippers on Andrew’s side of the bed and a smaller pair on my side!

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The panel of windows overlooking the city also had a long desk and an ergonomic chair, making this hotel great for business travellers.

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Nespresso coffee to keep you up while tele-conferencing?

Jasmine: The business traveller aside, it was obvious that Fullerton Bay Hotel was built for romance, with the mahogany panelling and mirrors that gave the room a sumptuous, decadent yet thoroughly modern feel.

My other measure of a six-star hotel is how well-appointed the bathrooms are. They should have separate shower and bathtub facilities (each screened off), a double sink, premium toiletries, bath towels and bathrobes. This bathroom exceeded my expectations! Here is the lavish bathtub area done up in marble (there are automated blinds if you want to screen the bathroom off from the rest of the bedroom).

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There was cable TV in the bath, and even a pillow to support the head during bubble baths… I made sure I had a nice long soak each night!

Not forgetting the generous tubes stuffed with Molton Brown toiletries.

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And our fantastic night view of the Singapore skyline from the balcony… Dragon boat races by day, MBS lightshow by night! More pictures if you scroll to the end…

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Breakfast @ The Clifford

Andrew: The breakfast spread at hotels are always amazing, but this one was truly outstanding in terms of quality and not just quantity and spread. First, check out this collection of Yakult! Not the most premium item, but Dearie was going thru a Yakult craze during that period, so this was quite perfect!

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The cheese platters were amazing, with honeycomb and a nice mix of fresh, tasty nuts.

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Andrew: There was a good selection of freshly squeezed juices, as well as this energy booster smoothie and a great bircher muesli (not photographed). The bircher muesli was one of the tastiest I have ever tried in any hotel thus far.

Jasmine: There was also an eggs station where the cook whipped up eggs benedict with smoked salmon or ham upon our request! It was truly the best hotel breakfast I had, both in terms of the extensive variety and quality of food!

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More shots around the hotel!

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This was taken in a mirror with an interesting, shimmering reflection, hence the kaleidoscopic quality of the shot.

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And Botero sculptures just dotting the hotel!

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There was also a live pianist when we were wandering around the hotel, making our experience even more otherworldly and perfect.

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Jasmine: I remember that this was exactly 2 Labour Days ago, and it was our first break since joining HQ and working for about 5 months straight without taking any leave. (Andrew: It was also after my first In Camp Training, for Reservist, which was extremely exhausting, hence it was a fantastic break.) Staying at Fullerton Bay was like one long overnight date, as I have memories of Dear picking me up on impulse from One Fullerton when we were dating, and just strolling around at midnight, admiring the city lights and quietness. One of the evenings, we also had dinner at Fullerton Hotel’s Lighthouse Restaurant, which is well-known for its Southern Italian cuisine, and got a 15% off because we were guests at the sister hotel, Fullerton Bay.

Some shots of the Lighthouse and the food:

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The wonderful Noir double-finger ring Dear bought for me to celebrate 6 months of being married!

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By day, we were happy to explore the waterfront area, and take advantage of Fullerton Bay’s “shuttle bus”- as I remember, the “shuttle bus” actually involved the concierge hailing a taxi and giving the cab driver $10 to take us to our destination!

Perfect and free view of the MBS Light Show

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The Dylan Diaries: Ubud Day 2

Dylan: Good morning everyone! Was so happy waking up on my second day with so many new toys!

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Of course, before I could have my fill, I was taken around the villa for various photos. Sometimes I feel like a photo prop! (Mummy: EXACTLY!)

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Granny, let me play with my new toys!

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Was brought to meet this auntie in the villa, who was cooking food that I couldn’t eat cos Daddy didn’t allow me to…

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So I ended up eating my tasty ‘nugget’ during breakfast…

Our first pit stop on this day was the art museum! Apparently Daddy and Mummy used to do this a lot before I was born, but with me around, they couldn’t… Well, I’d rather they not bring me along…

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If all I’m going to be doing is posing with random plants and architecture that Mummy gets so excited about… Frankly, I think Daddy doesn’t care much about architecture – Mummy can talk non-stop about it and daddy will just go ‘um… um… good point’.

Yea Daddy, I could say that too.  Umumum. I say that whenever I’m hungry too.

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Let me just lie down and bite my fan, thank you very much… 

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Daddy and Mummy were really fascinated by this piece of art and spent almost 20 – 30 minutes just standing in front and staring at the colours, brush strokes, or something to that effect…

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Apparently, it’s supposed to look like a real ricefield, with a 3D effect created by the raised paint… Mummy told me to put that in. Not like I would know…

Between you and me, I was just peeved that they didn’t let me touch it. It looked so tasty. That’s where my porridge comes from, isn’t it?? 😦

Puri Garden Cafe with Kopi Luwak (Civet Coffee)

Mummy was really excited about trying this coffee shit thing that would cost lots more anywhere else…. (Daddy: Dillie, actually it’s not coffee shit – it’s coffee beans that have been digested by this animal called a civet or luwak, and it comes out thru the digestive tract as… ah.. okay, yes you can call it coffee shit then!)

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Daddy hated it, mummy said it was “robust and full bodied” – even though she barely ever drinks coffee. Mummy likes to use all these terms that don’t make any sense at all. I have a full body but how can a cup of coffee shit? Universe, explain!

Frankly, the colour seems quite familiar to me, if you know what I mean… Daddy certainly does! Ahaha!

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But I was in quite a happy mood there! Smiling and laughing, and because of that, people end up using me as a photo-prop again, non-stop. I have to endure similar hardships back in Singapore too, because I’m related to my Ee Ee 😀

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Yes, don’t I look cute here? They said it’s  a ‘manja’ sweet look, but honestly, I’m just bored…

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Tagalalang Rice Paddies

Our next stop was the rice paddy fields! Drive was long, traffic was bad and I couldn’t quite sleep on the ride…

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Hmm, this doesn’t look very different to me than the view outside my window… trees, slopes… No wonder they say don’t bring a child travelling before they are 3.

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Yes, amazingly enough I actually managed to fall asleep in this heat. Mummy posed next to this quilt (Below), which she eventually bought – supposedly for me, but later on I heard Daddy and her quibbling about her idea to ‘frame it up’ and put it as a centrepiece, or something to that effect… Then after that Mummy took it out during one party for me to roll around on and it just got packed away, never to be seen again… Much like many of the other toys Mummy bought for me. I see right through Mummy sometimes. Daddy ain’t half as shrewd.

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Photo-prop falling asleep.. The bargaining for the “toy” took too long

Ooh, anyway, Mummy, Daddy and Granny tried to ‘trek’ down the rice paddies, with me in the carrier with daddy… It kinda got too slippery so Daddy said he didn’t want to risk it, since he was holding me. Eh, I didn’t make any noise! Why does everyone blame me now? Daddy, you a WIMP! I’m more resilient than they make me out to be.

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What was that? I wasn’t the one who had to do the walking? That’s irrelevant.

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So instead of an exciting hike up and down the rice paddies, I end up just taking photos, and you can’t even see me thanks to the carrier hood…. way to go guys. Nice family shot!

Cafe Luna

Ooh, my favourite cafe!

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See how well I am treated, like royalty! They put together two chairs and assembled a few cushions just for meeee!

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Everyone enjoyed the food there – it was good, according to what I heard… Balinese seafood paella, chicken satay…

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Of course, I couldn’t be bothered about the food ‘cos I was a real hit with the ladies! The waitresses couldn’t stop carrying me around while Mummy, Daddy and Granny enjoyed their food! All I had to do was make a few random noises and everybody would melt!

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