The organised chaos

Hello, land of xiaolongbao

It’s 5.30am in the morning and I am sitting in front of my computer, all laundered and nice and clean.

Last week, I was told that I would be sent to Shanghai for an event. In my zealousness to capture as many hours of shopping as possible, I pushed my flights to the earliest (going into SH) and latest (going out of SH). And then yesterday, I was told that my event should only take up a day and I would have a full day of R&R. Gah.

Oh well. I’m now waiting for the fiance to pick me up – he’s very nicely offered to send me to and from the airport, even though I am able to claim transport expenses from my stingy company. His generosity amazes me sometimes, and it makes me glad to know that I am marrying a man like him!

So, I will be gone from today till the wee hours of Sunday morning (like, 6am). There’s going to be minimal blogging (not that I do that very frequently anyway) and don’t call/text me, I’ll call you when I’m back (cos I don’t know if stingy company will pay for my phone bills)!

Foodnotes, Two of Us


I don’t think I have written about the time the boyf and I went off to Relish for a burgerlicious meal. No, that’s not a word but I am a writer and I am allowed to make words up.

Anyway, it was a cold and stormy Thursday. I had plans for Friday so to make up for it, the boyf had sweetly asked me out for dinner (on Thursday itself, I might add, tsk). Before we met at the MRT station, he told me that he wanted to check out Relish. I was incredulous. The burger joint is in the far flung west (Bukit Timah) and we weren’t driving! But he was confident we could find our way there via public transport and I swallowed down my cynicism.

We travelled to Newton MRT station, walked in the rain to the bus stop where I used to wait for the bus to bring me to school, boarded a horrendously crowded bus which huffed and puffed its way to Cluny Court. In the darkness, we vaguely made out the building before pressing the alight button hastily. It was a dark and stormy Thursday night and Relish, amazingly enough, was crowded. Thankfully, the boyf was clever enough to make reservations.

He ordered the Wild Rocket burger and I had the bacon and cheese. Being greedy little piggies, we also ordered hand cut onion rings for starters and then ended the meal with a tiramisu milkshake. Coolly enough, nothing disappointed. My medium-rare patty was juicy, thick and had lots of bite – nothing like the dry and crumbly patty served up at other joints. The onion rings were crispy and fragrant, and oh-so-addictive. I had my fries changed to salad, which was a most excellent decision. His fries were a tad over-fried and the salad was definitely a refreshing, clean complement to the grilled beef.

But the best part of the meal has to be the milkshake. It was creamy and thick and exactly like slurping up a delicious tiramisu, but in liquid form. At $9.50, it was pretty pricey for a milkshake but man, was it worth it.

We staggered out of Relish, feeling rather fat and full. On the sheer impulse of the moment, we boarded a bus to Little India and caught the NEL home. On the train, he started reading the Chinese subtitles of that terrorist video out loud but his pathetic command of the language left me giggling uncontrollably. Before we knew it, I was home!

So the moral of the story is: yes, it is possible to go out and have a great meal without the convenience of a car. And yes, it was one of my favourite dates. And yes, Relish is definitely worth a second visit.

That makes it three morals of the story. Well, I was always bad at Maths.


Bar Bar Black Sheep

Have you any yummy food?

The future housemate – he’s been demoted because I called him my husband on Saturday and he said “NO”, so he is an arse and I am still pissed off – finally put up the pictures of our gastronomy adventure at Bar Bar Black Sheep.

Here’s some food pr0n to cheer up an exhausting Monday (yay to pounding out a 1,200 word story!). I really love the prime lens. Gotta get us more of that.

!(imgcenter) made beef burger)!:
!(imgcenter) spread)!:
!(imgcenter) Hoegaarden)!:

More pictures here.

Wedding March

Ring bowl, checked

Something came in the mail a few weeks back!

Okay, I have been busy with deadlines and photo shoots so it’s only now that I can write about it….
!(imgcenter)’s in the box)!:

And then….
!(imgcenter)’s a ceramic….)!:

It’s a ceramic ring bowl!
!(imgcenter) ring bowl)!:

I’m planning to use this to hold our wedding rings during the ceremony. Once the wedding is done and dusted, it’s going on my dresser table to hold my rings. I have a really bad habit of taking off my rings and forgetting where I had left them so this would be a perfect hideout for them.

Kudos to Caroline of Paloma’s Nest for crafting such a lovely, lovely piece of ceramic work. She is friendly and great to work with, and her etsy shop is full of awesomeness. She allows custom orders so go check her shop out!

In other news, my nice cousins have loaned me a variety of pearl necklaces to wear with my wedding dress. I can’t decide which combination works best. Can any kind soul please take a look and help me out? Ignore the feathery mask: I was in no state to face the camera today and relied on my whimsical Acessorize purchase to hide my mug.

The organised chaos

Beneath the mango tree

There are good days and then, there are the bad ones.

I’m not really part of the rat race, and yet the demands of juggling an impending wedding, a soon-to-be-ready house and household expenses can really wear me down. There are days when I long to throw in the towel and make my living as a freelancer but unfortunately, being financially independent also means I am on my own and quitting is not really an option. Maybe one day, when I am a mother and my priorities have shifted, I can finally fulfill my desire (it helps to have a supportive partner) but for now, I just have to suck it up and do whatever needs to be done.

But in times like these, it helps to have people who are around me, forming a ring of encouragement and fortitude to hold me up. Take my family, for instance. When I spoke of my indecision over getting engagement pictures done, my cousins were aghast.

“The money could buy me things for the house! Like…microwave ovens and vacuum cleaners!” I protested.
“How much can a vacuum cleaner cost,” they dead-panned. “We’ll buy one for you.”

And then, there is the best friend. One morning, when I was both stressed out over work and health issues, I texted her an SOS message out of desperation. She was amazing: she comforted me, made me laugh and said, “I’ll wait with you if you decide to do it.” Then and there, sitting at my desk in front of my ageing G3 machine, I almost cried. I have never asked for it but she has always given her support freely and willingly, no questions asked and with no judgement or bias.

There are, also, my two favourite boys. They make me laugh, hold my hands and are always there for me when I call them for a bit of a whine or moan. They exasperate me at times but I also know they love me as fiercely as I do them.

So, while I gripe quite a bit, deep down, I know that life is never perfect and this is so much better than it could have been. As Rie puts it so accurately, everyone has the right to whine, but know when to stop.

And so it is. There are good days and then, there are bad. I just need to take a deep breath, soldier on and learn to put things into perspective.

Two of Us

The non-date date

On Saturdays when I don’t trudge down to the gym in the morning, I like to sleep in. It usually goes like this: I’d sleep till way past noon, only to be woken by the boyf’s part astonished, part indulgent voice.

“Wake up,” he’d say.
“Mmmm,” I’d mumble before hanging up the phone and going back to bed.

It would be a long time before I finally rouse myself from my bed, by which time, breakfast for me would be a complete misnomer. I’d read the newspapers, laze around and generally bask in the unproductivity of it all. And then, the boyf would call and ask about our plans for the day and neither of us would have a clue. Usually, we would arrange to meet at a certain time (usually after 5pm) and then decide in the car.

Saturday was no different, except that we were going to check out Bar Bar Black Sheep! It’s a laidback eatery along Bukit Timah Road that my ex-colleagues had raved about months ago. The place is really chill – sitting on wooden benches out in the open, we were left to the mercies of the gods. Thankfully, the weather held up. It was breezy and cool, with surprisingly no sign of the humidity that defines our climate. After a few spots of bad luck involving the lack of money and wrong directions, we decided to just order everything we fancied as a special treat for ourselves.

The North Indian food was ab-fab! We had the butter chicken, chicken kebab, mutton masala and mixed vegetables cooked in butter and cream (artery-clogging stuff, basically) and everything, EVERYTHING tasted great. The gravies tasted light on the palate. The cream and butter were not cloying and the meat was tender and juicy. Even the papadam had only a gentle hint of bitterness and was subtly crisp.

The homemade beef burger from the Western stall (Smok’inn Frogz?) was good but paled slightly in comparison to the sheer genius of the Indian cuisine. The beef patty had bite and texture, but was a tad tough to chew.

And the beer! It was only $10 for a pint of my beloved Hoegaarden. 10 bucks! A pint! It felt decadent and indulgent, the delicious beer sloshing down my throat and inducing a heady wave of intoxication in my already delighted senses.

We sat around and talked till the skies darkened around us about everything and nothing. We had nowhere to go, no place to rush to, no plans and we could sit there for hours if we wanted to. I was happy, and stuffed.

On a whim though, we decided to head to the Singapore Flyer. See, things like cable cars and ferris wheels appeal to me and I was super excited that it’s finally in operation! We entered the carpark linked to the big wheel, had the shock of our lives discovering that it would cost us $1.20 per half hour and promptly drove straight out. Ultimately, we did end up at the Singapore Flyer (but not taking a ride), filling our stomachs with yummy gelato.

And it was really a perfect date, even though it wasn’t elaborately planned. Good company, good food, good weather, lots of loving and laughter – it’s all very simple, really. 🙂