Sunday, August 30, 2009

Procrastination might just be my downfall

I know I'm a terrible blogger. I don't blog for weeks on end, and I don't finish my travel posts. Sometimes I'm still indecisive about how I want to position the blog. Originally I started one because I wanted a platform to sell my handmade stuff. But being the master procrastinator, I never got round to doing it. Excuses like I don't photograph my items well, I want my pieces to be perfect and they still aren't, blah-blah-blah. Then I thought to use this as a travelogue for my trips, poised to become an electronic scrap book. And I did pick up momentum and post quite a no of posts before I started sputtering and losing steam. And then I started to post random stuff, design stuff, anything that catches my fancy.

With my ramblings out of the way, I just want to shout out that I resolve to kick procrastination in the butt.

Now, I just need to finish my travelogue...

Sunday, August 2, 2009

One or Two Things










One or two of my favourite food. Does cupcake, raspberry cheese cake and latte count as food?

Saturday, July 11, 2009

1 of the city that never sleeps

It's my 4th visit to the city - and each time I return from HK - it's with a brimming luggage, assorted packages, thoroughly fulfilled palate and a bright grin - with the intention to go back again. What is it about the city that woos me (and the millions other repeat visitors) back time and again?

Anyone who's been to HK, or who hasn't, will be able to quote you that cute ditty from those HK tourism advertisements, "买东西, 吃东西, 买东西,吃东西". Literally it means shopping and eating. But HK is also more than that. Amidst the dazzling city lights and huge bargains galore, it is also surrounded by rolling hills and glistening waters. Within the city, there is a pulsating and happening beat to the city, something you can't quite put a finger on, but could feel it, nonetheless.

The first time I was in HK, I was struck by how marvellously efficient its MTR was, so similar to our MRT. In fact Singapore's MRT emulated HK's, right down to HK's Octupus card, their smart card in which they tap their way through MTR gantries and upon boarding buses (the counterpart being our EZ-link card).

I felt the same way again when I arrived in HK this time. Having arrived at HK at midnight (beggars can't be choosers when it comes to redeeming frequent flyer miles for free tickets), I was truly grateful for HK's efficient transport system - I was able to reach the hostel by 1 am.

This is the facade of the building that the hostel is located.


The mirador mansion, its facade under construction.
Such a grand name, in reality, it's just an old walk up flat.


At 1am, there were still some seedy characters milling outside the building and some touts, but they are harmless so long as you ignore them.


The dinghy corridor to the hostel


Finally, at the 'gate' of the hostel.
Online, the hostel's name was Venetian Hostel, but the hostel's name here is Travelers Friendship House.

My travel companion, Ms Tomoyo, had already reached HK (she took Jetstar, on a better timing).

Our hostel is an economical lodging in an excellent location, just 2 mins' from the nearest MTR, (Tsim Sha Tsui) and our room is air conditioned and has an attached bathroom (though the door cannot shut totally, thankfully there's a shower curtain that provided some privacy). I don't have complaints about the room. Except the very hard bed and very soft pillow, and generally old and decrepit furnishing. Other than that, for only S$37/ night, who am I to complain?

Breakfast the next day was at City Hall, a dim sum restaurant called Maxim's Palace. Highly recommended, albeit a little expensive. To get there, take the MTR to Central, get out from exit F, cross a subway and you'd see the City Hall. On weekdays, the restaurant opens only at 11am, while on weekends it opens at 10am. So do take note of the opening times, so you won't end up coming too early, like Ms Tomoyo and myself. So we went to a the nearby Maxim cafe (selling typical HK breakfasts like nissin noodles) and ate lightly, and thereafter took a walk nearby to kill time.

The ifc building, where EY HK is housed.
The view from its lower level rooftop garden is great.




We have a similar looking building back in Singapore, guess which one here bears the resemblance?



We killed some time and slowly made our way back to Maxim's Palace and ordered these.




My favourite dish of all

This is my favourite dim sum restaurant, so I've been returning to this place every time I visit HK. We also ordered ginger flavoured bean curd - it's superb. Until whatever the construction by the pier is completed, the view at the floor to ceiling window at this restaurant would probably be stunning.

Next on the agenda was to ferret out HK's H&M, the Swedish fast fashion chain, that isn't in Singapore yet. Seriously, when are they bringing H&M in? It's virtually conquered half the world, and it hasn't appeared in our shores yet? Astounding.

We found it at Queen Street Central, near Central MTR exit D2. This is where I kind of went crazy here. Belts, basic tops, trendy jackets, stylish totes, cute dresses, on sale!

H&M on Queen Street - on sale!


Night time at the peak comes up in the next post. Stay tuned!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Vacation Season

I've been neglecting the blog of late. Mostly because June has been a hectic month for me.

Having just came back from 2 short holidays barely a week apart of each other, I felt a deep sense of melancholy upon coming back.

The quick diagnosis is post holiday blues. :-( A quick antidote would be to take another day's break before returning to work, but even that sometimes worsens the condition, and delays the inevitable.

So anyway my first trip was a birthday treat to myself - to Bangkok for a couple days of good dining and shopping. Second trip was to Hong Kong, for more great dining and shopping. In other words, I was on a self-fulfilling mission to empty my pockets. hah.

Although most people know Bangkok and Hong Kong inside out already, I will still be blogging about them in my upcoming posts - mainly to share some of my favourite shopping haunts and eating places in these 2 cities.

Here's a picture taken at the Avenue of Stars in Hong Kong, the city with one of my favourite night skylines in the world.





This might be one of my best pictures taken there (that isn't blurry). I realised the importance of a tripod from this trip.

Monday, June 1, 2009

New Mall in Town

Took a break one scorching Monday afternoon and walked into the newest mall in town - Orchard Central (sorry, Ion will have to wait).




Plenty of lcd screens in this mall. There's a large one on its facade too.











Singapore’s first indoor five-storey ferrata wall for climbing and repelling




The couches look very inviting



A fascinating sculpture suspended mid air




The escalators here are not for the faint hearted, or those with acrophobia


Wide spaces, liberal lighting, ceiling to floor glass windows, parquet flooring, comfy red couches. Wait a minute... what about the shops? It's not officially opened yet, hence the minimalist decor, empty spaces and lack of shops. I like that the mall's open to curious passers-by like myself, even when it's not completed (Perhaps it wasn't really meant to be open to passers-by, but they certainly haven't barricaded the mall to prevent us from entering).

The interior design may be very raw and unpolished at this point, but I like. :-) And I'm looking forward to the finished product. Perhaps I'd post an "after" photo once it's officially opened (these being the "before" photos).

For more information on how the shops in mall will be organised and the artist's impression of the completed interior, see here.


Not too unhappy to find another retail space potentially vying for my wallet's attention.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Art Jewellery

Drool at these now.


















Images from jacquelineryan.com


The first 4 are brooches, by the way. Jacqueline Ryan's jewellery are made of 18k gold, vitreous enamel and/or freshwater pearls. No prices listed on her website though.

Sometimes you just have to marvel at the beauty of an artist's creations. Even if you can't buy them.


The last necklace is calling out to me.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

The Perfect Wardrobe

I want my wardrobe to look like this.








Images from Makingitlovely.com


Considering that I have 2 closets with its contents threatening to burst, and a clothes rack now... oh well. Still a good inspiration.


Increasingly aware of the need to declutter

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Unphotographable - Beautiful, unknown lake

It's unfortunate, but this post would be devoid of pictures.

Imagine this: You are in a beautiful place, the surroundings so picturesque, only pictures can articulate its loveliness. Now, imagine that you do not have your camera with you then, because you have stupidly let your "chicken little" friend convince not to bring it because there's a 0.000001% chance you may be robbed of it. @#$%^&*!!! Sorry, excuse my language. Although I will occasionally curse my stupidity and my friend's overt caution, I have put this behind me now.

Anyway, back to this moment. Unphotographable would be a word to describe such moments. Via the lovely girls at Fashion Nation, I got acquainted to Unphotographable, a website documenting such regrets not captured by the camera, starting with "This picture I did not take..." I shall use this phrase a couple times here.

It was our last day in Interlaken. Being such an idyllic day, we decided to take it slow and easy. We stopped by the hostel reception for advice on how to spend our day. The friendly and approachable owner suggested we rent a bicycle and cycle to a lake near Interlaken West for a relaxing swim. Hmmm..sounds good. Ms Rehau did not know how to cycle, and had some major sunburnt issues, so she skipped joining us. It was also an opportunity for her to settle some outstanding work issues.

We were told the lake did not have lockers or any place where we could safeguard our valuables and so, the ever predictable and cautious Mr Irish suggested that we do not bring our valuables, but to bring some loose change, and stuff like towel and water bottle in our backpacks (by the way, the cool hostel actually loaned us backpacks as we do not have any). And so, I stupidly listened to him, and did NOT bring my camera or even my handphone (with its 3.2 megapixel camera). Yes, just kill me.

Cycling to the lake was largely uneventful, although there were some points where we got a little lost (remind me to take the lead next time) or had some difficulties with the bike (especially since I'm petite and can't quite reach the ground with my feet while on the bike. One observation I made was that the drivers in Interlaken are the friendliest and most patient people I've encountered so far in Europe and in all my travels. Being such a shortie and a non-expert cyclist, I have had difficulties navigating my bike on the road up and off curbs and tram tracks. There were a few instances where some drivers had to wait for me to either hoist myself on the bike on the road side or cycle across the road. Amazingly, they would wait patiently, without even making rude gestures, or even so much as sound the horn at me. You can almost certainly expect this if you are in Singapore. This is just one of the so-many reasons why I love Switzerland and her people.

This picture I did not take was of the scenery along the way to the lake. It reminds of those typical Kodak commercials - bright golden meadows and elegant mountains set against clear blue skies. Add quaint little houses dotting haphazardly across the landscape like confetti, and a little girl running without a care in the world across the meadow (ok, I made this one up) and you get the picture.

We finally reached the lake. This picture I did not take was of the beautiful lake, looking every bit as inviting and pretty as I imagined it to be. The lake was huge, blue and crystalline clear. Trees surround a portion of the perimeter of the lake. There was a tugboat in the lake. Some boys were playing by the lake, running barefoot and leaping into the lake with huge splashes.

I was so taken by the clear, inviting water, I stripped down to my swim wear and jumped right in. Brrrrrr! It must have been a freezing 15 degrees Celsius (or at least it felt like it was)! Completely hoodwinked by the boys! I treaded water quickly in an attempt to warm up and swam a few strokes. And then I was out of the water in 40 seconds. In this time, Mr Irish had not even jumped in.

I guess that's the one benefit of being cautious. You get to see the less cautious make mistakes first. Hah. Anyway, I was in and out of the water 3 or 4 times more before I could persuade Mr Irish to take the plunge. When he did get in the second time, he slipped into the water so quickly and clumsily that he cut his feet on the barnacles encrusting the side of the lake. I could see the trail of blood in the water. He can thank his lucky stars that there's no piranhas or sharks in the waters. Anyway, owing to the cut, he was out of the water in a jiffy. We christened the rock in which his blood was shed upon St (Irish's name)'s rock. lol. Obviously, no amount of cajoling can convince Mr Irish to go into the waters again. I hope Mr Irish and his beloved don't get too offended by whatever I've written here. Just telling it as it is.

The ride back was a lot more eventful, at least for me. I took the lead this time, and had to cycle on the pavement due to a truck being parked on the 2 lane, 2 way street. Before I noticed or had time to react, my bicycle's front wheel was upon a huge industrial hose coming from the truck across the pavement to someone's yard. Before you know it, I was airborne. You can be sure my landing wasn't painless. I earned small cuts on my hands and arms and bruises the size of oranges on my knees that would have put Mr Irish's small cut to shame. The fortunate Mr Irish who was behind me, and was lucky to have me take the fall first, was able to stop his bike in time to avoid another incident (for him). In case you were wondering, although it was a painful fall, I am still able to get back on my bike and cycle the rest of the way back.

The ride to the lake was definitely an accident-filled adventure, which makes for a very memorable last day in Interlaken. I will follow up with Ms Rehau's adventures in a next post.

Sorry for the lack of pictures in this post. You can blame Mr Irish for this. =P

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Playing with Polardroid

I might be the last person around to get on the Polardroid bandwagon. Better late than never, I say.

It's pretty simple, really. Here, I've taken some random pictures, feed them into the Polardroid software and voila! The photos look antiquated and vintage cool.

Warning: it's addictive.



Earrings I made



A stray Siamese cat living at my friend's corridor.
Yeah, it's the first time I've heard of or seen a stray Siamese cat!



Drop earrings I made



Ice cream from Brotzeit



Stained glass window at Hard Rock Bali


Have fun!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Prelude to our last day in Interlaken

Not too sure if you can remember, but in a previous post, I mentioned that we encountered a creepy looking wooden lodge on our first night in Interlaken (while trying to find our way to the hostel). This is it.




It's taken by Ms Rehau on our last day in Interlaken. While she was on her little adventure that day, Mr Irish and myself had a separate adventure of our own. This will warrant another post, I guarantee you.

Ms Rehau had actually taken alot of pictures while on her mini hike around our hostel. Maybe I could ask her to guest blog. Or otherwise, I will post her pictures and you can piece together her adventure via tell-a-story-from-the-pictures.

Anyway, the house is so un-scary, right? Nightfall can do a lot of things to people. =P


Will follow up with a post on our last day in Interlaken soon, I hope!

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Madly in love with THIS

I am obsessed with this bag.





From Minna Parikka's webshop, via Only Shallow, one of my favourite fashion blogs around. Minna Parikka is a fantastic Finnish designer, whose shoe designs are just as drool-able.

I love the scallop edges, the pink suede surrounding the underside of the bag and the fact that its large size looks like it could carry everything. When I saw this, I was on the verge of drooling, and ready to hit the check out button until I saw the price. Dang. My euphoria was short-lived.


Wondering when the Euro dollar will drop to USD levels. =(

Monday, February 9, 2009

Maiden Mountain, Pristine Snow

I had this recurring thought when I gazed at the majestic mountains -- the mountain peaks with their pristine snow caps remind me of gigantic, delectable ice cream. Yum....











Ms Rehau by the "balcony"

We were very, very fortunate that it was a fine weather that day and it wasn't too cold.

We took an elevator a few stories up and walked through a tunnel that leads to a flat, snow-covered area where we could step out into the snow and get up close to the peaks.

As mentioned in my previous post, this flat area is where we had fantastic, unobstructed view of the Konkordiaplatz, or Concordia, (which is a large flat area of snow and ice located at the south of Jungfrau). According to Wiki, its notable feature is that it is the junction of four different glaciers (glaciers are large, slow moving masses of ice) coming down from the Aletschfirn, the Jungfraufirn, and the Ewigschneefäld in the surrounding Swiss Alps. The Aletsch Glacier originates from Konkordiaplatz.

The view was, needless to say, stunning.



Ms Rehau and Mr Irish, with the Konkordiaplatz in the horizon







Not sure which of the 3 peaks is in the background






Clockwise from top left: My name in the snow; Swiss flag against a majestic peak as a backdrop; some bird of unknown origin; miniature snowmen we made


We spent the most time here, taking tons of pictures, and getting quite snow-blinded from gazing at all that whiteness so much.

We went on to the ice palace. The entire cavern was carved out of ice and there were some ice sculptures displayed. The floor was quite slippery and it was freezing (likely closer to zero degree Celsius). It reminds me of another ice palace I've been to, but for the life of me, I can't remember where. There's nothing particularly memorable here, but we've dutifully taken pictures nevertheless.



Travelling along this ice tunnel leads to the ice palace









Tourists have inserted various currencies beneath this ice layer



Mascot for the ice palace?



We're back to the tunnels, this time leading back the resting area, where coffee and Korean cup noodles were sold. Feeling quite famished, Ms Rehau and I got a cup each. They cost Sfr 7 per cup!!! But well worth the price when you're feeling hunger pangs on a snow mountain at close to zero degree Celsius.



Probably the most expensive cup noodles I've ever eaten.
But they were yummy, really!


While wolfing down our cup noodles, we noticed this little girl crawling on the carpeted floor. Isn't she cute?


When we realised that we missed exploring the higher levels of Jungfraujoch, the last train back to Grindelwald (which is the return train station from Jungfrau) was in half an hour. Unwilling to miss this opportunity, we rushed to the elevator that took us to the highest level, travelling several thousands metres up.

The view is as stunning as at the lower level.


A more elevated view of Konkordiaplatz.
I always seem to be able to take shots of birds flying across the valley - there must be lots of birds here.





Not sure which peak this is



We spied a helicopter afar


Close up of that helicopter. No prizes for guessing who took this picture.


A helicopter's view of where we are (from a poster)


We were reluctant to leave Jungfraujoch, but the last train beckons.



And this is the last of Jungfraujoch pictures





Ms Rehau's pretty shots of the countryside as our train chugs down from Jungfraujoch



We found ourselves at Grindelwald, a charming little town, with the most magnificent mountain scenery at its doorstep.



Grindelwald
, a sleepy little town boasting world class scenery








Dinner was at a cozy little restaurant along the road. We were served by a kindly looking lady, whose service is superb. Seriously. When we asked about cheese fondue and were contemplating on ordering a set each, she told us to reconsider. She said that the cheese fondue could be quite cheesy and not too suitable for our palate, and suggested we order one to share. She also provided attentive service throughout, without being annoying. This is just another reason why I love Switzerland and its people.





Our thoroughly enjoyable and scrumptious dinner



Nightfall. We bade a reluctant farewell to Grindelwald
.

This has got to be my most picture intensive post ever!

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