Wednesday, 29 October 2014

Kung Fu Jungle Review (一个人的武林)- My first real Hong Kong Kungfu film!

First time film review for me coming up! I nearly didn't accept the invitation to the media preview of Kung Fu Jungle offered to me by the lovely people at (thanks again!). I saw "kungfu film in Mandarin subtitled in English", saw my husband would be in China and figured it just wasn't for me. I mentioned it to a friend over drinks, and he asked who was starring in it. I looked it up, said Donnie Yen, and he did a double take and just stared at me. I asked him what was up? He was like "You know Donnie Yen (Ip Man) is totally famous right?" I of course didn't. He told me to look him up and seemed shocked that I had never heard of "Hero". I felt so silly and lacking knowledge about kungfu and Hong Kong films that I immediately answered the email so I could attend, and learn! I then looked Donnie Yen up and saw he is indeed super famous, has been making films for decades and is in the follow up to the Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon.

I then mentioned it to the husband when I got home. He was dismayed he wouldn't be in the country to go with me! He loves Hong Kong Kungfu movies! He was even trying to figure out if he could catch Kungfu Jungle in China before coming home :) So he fully agreed I should go and I asked my friends who fancied coming so I then had someone to come with me.

You can see the official synopsis and some of the official pictures but I wanted to share my experience. The only time I have ever seen anything near a KungFu movie was a film on TV in a hotel room in Hoi An with Jackie Chan I think, based in Hong Kong of course, he was a drunk disgraced cop with a bad family life (his wife and daughter had left him). I have vague memories of fights and helicopters and kidnapping. So not a super traditional one but the same threads can be found in KungFu Jungle. (I nearly wrote KungFu Panda, silly me!)

Tuesday, 28 October 2014

How to source decent value wine in Singapore?

We had friends visiting from Bangkok recently who were on their "look and see" trip to prepare a move to Singapore next year. We cracked open some wine which was a luxury to them as they don't get much of it in Bangkok. It is very expensive over there, maybe even more than in Singapore. So they were curious as to how to source cheap wine in Singapore. First, I had to explain to them that wine in Singapore just isn't cheap, it never will be, you have to accept it. And accept that you will spend more money for less good quality wine than you would in France, Italy or Spain. That is life.

All of us expats go through the same cycle when we move here, especially those coming from France like myself and a lot of my colleagues. For us longer term expats it is actually quite fun to watch the newbies go through it, in a horrible way of course! Basically how it works is you land, you see the price of wine and you decide you will never drink anymore, or you will stick to beer. After a while, you decide that you do need wine. But not too often. And you then start to drink a bit, there are variations on the theme but you might either drink good (expensive) wine infrequently, or do what we did and experiment. You might try finding the cheapest wines around (about 15$ at Sheng Siong is as low as I have found) and try and see if any of them are drinkable. But eventually we all end up in the same place, we go back to drinking wine and spending a silly amount of money on it as it makes us happy! 30$ is about the minimum to spend to get something drinkable in my experience, so around 18EUR.... ouch. I just don't want to think about what we can get in France for 18EUR! We all learn to reset our expectations regarding how much to spend on wine...

Experimenting is how I developed the contents of this post. We have tried a lot of different options but welcome your input on how to source cheap wine in Singapore! Drop me a note at or a comment below.

Monday, 27 October 2014

Dinner at Spices Restaurant at the Hilton Colombo

Sometimes it is just easier to eat in your hotel when you are on a trip. Most of the time the restaurants are subpar but in Sri Lanka they are often quite decent. We were tired one day so we just went for dinner downstairs at Spice in the Hilton Colombo, where we were staying, with old colleagues who were also in town. We kept it easy going. Some of them had the nightly buffet (which was Middle Eastern this day) which I didn't have time to take pictures of. The rest of us went a la carte.

We started with some vegetable garlic spring rolls with a tomato dip. Not bad, like most spring rolls, fine but not mind blowing. I have only ever had one utterly amazing spring roll, though it was the size of a largish pie! It was at a place called Thai Cuisine on Koh Lanta, when we went back to look for it a couple of years later it had shut. So I will forever live with the memory of the crazy old chef who spent most of his time drinking beer and playing cards with his friends, letting his sous chefs cook up the spring roll which he finished off. They stir fried veggies with noodles and chicken and some egg I think, wrapped up in a pastry which they made there and deep fried. The thing was the size of my hand! You cut it open with a knife and fork and the ingredients all fell out onto the plate. It was awesome.

Any way, back to Colombo.

Of course it has to be with Three Coins beer.

Sunday, 26 October 2014

Yangon, Myanmar - Dinner and Drinks at the Savoy Hotel

Captain's Bar

We arrived around 8pm so decided on drinks and dinner in the hotel. So down we went to the Captain's Bar.

G ordered a Myanmar beer, 2.50 USD on draft isn't bad! The beer isn't amazing but it is fine.

Saturday, 25 October 2014

Siem Reap, Cambodia - Cafe Central for afternoon drinks & brunch

I asked @gran_tourismo (source of most of my info for Siem Reap) about somewhere to have lunch and Lara suggested Cafe Central if we wanted something more Western for a change. I googled it and was informed they had good coffee so I was in. We ended up going once for drinks in the afternoon and for brunch also. Here is the result:

Friday, 24 October 2014

Rome, Italy - Emma Pizzeria & Cucina

When I was in Rome last summer (on honeymoon), we had friends meet us there who had also attended the wedding and had never been to Italy so decided to do so after hearing much raving about the country from us! I wanted to bring them to have the typical Roman thin crust pizza at Da Remo like we did the summer before, but it was closed for holidays. I went on Twitter and checked with the guru for Rome that is Katie Parla and she suggested we try a new place called Emma. Katie said it was a decent place for thin crust pizza in the style of Remo so I thought we should check it out.

Thursday, 23 October 2014

Rome, Italy - Pizza by the slice from Forno Roscioli and Forno Campo de' Fiori

Back to Rome, I jumped ahead a bit to Siem Reap as I was super excited about some of the food I had there, but I also loved what we had in Italy so I am heading back to some pizza slices from two famous pizza slice joints in Rome, around the Campo de' Fiori, the first is actually on the Campo (Il Forno Campo de' Fiori) and another further towards Largo Torre Argentina (Forno Roscioli).

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Our Wedding Food & Wines - catered by Paul Daniel

I thought I would share with you one of the most important things to me (food - but also wine of course) on one of the most important days in my life (my wedding!) - here comes my catered food for our wedding party!

We had champagne, of course we did!

We bought Ayala which is from the Bollinger house for the cocktail and Laurent Perrier for dessert.

Some more of the wine, a Chablis for the white wine and a very local wine from my parents' area (in the town next to us!) called Domaine D'en Segur for the rose.

And the red (the main red, we also had another local back up red called Vignes de Garbasses) was a Saint-Estephe.

Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Internations Expat Insider Survey 2014 - Do you agree with where Singapore places?

As you might know, I am a featured blogger on the Internations site and they contacted me with some interesting info they gathered via their Expat Insider Survey. You can find the full survey results here: and all of the graphs come from Expat Insider on Internations.

Let me share some of the Singapore rankings and tell me what you think in the comments section, whether you agree or disagree. I am thinking it through keeping in mind the most popular post on my blog about my first year as an expat in Singapore, plus my experiences over the second year which might be shaped into a new post at some point as things do change in your experience over time.

Best Destinations for expats

Singapore places 6th overall for destinations for expats. It is interesting to see how this is driven, it isn't because of leisure options or personal happiness, Singapore doesn't place in the top 20 for those areas. the 6th spot comes mostly because of a 4th place for travel and transport and for health, safety and well being.

Expat Destinations infographic

I did find it very interesting though.... I can relate. It is true that there are certain leisure options missing due to it being a small island, and due to certain limitations in place in the country and cultural constraints/priorities meaning there are fewer artistic options available. I know things are improving and there are more art options, music options and films, but things like censorship do limit them still even if it is looking up. Food and drink is well represented. But you won't have leisure options like we did in Nice with the gorgeous beaches, the mountains for skiing and hiking, and canyons and various sports activities.

The personal happiness is an interesting one. My Singaporean friends do comment that there are a lot of complaints from their countrymen where people from other countries don't understand why they would be complaining. An interesting example recently was the announcement that there would be wifi on the buses soon being met by complaints that people's phones would lose all their battery and there should be chargers on the buses too! And when Uber decided to have a free taxi day, people complained they couldn't get a cab, whereas this happens also when you would be expected to pay.... And maybe personal happiness is linked to the leisure options too. But it could also be cultural where there are very high expectations from parents regarding education and career, plus the high cost of property making it hard for young people to move out and have their freedom. So freedom of speech, freedom of choice regarding life path and personal freedom may contribute to the global feeling in the country, for locals and expats. Just my two cents, interested in your opinions too.

Quality of Life Index

Monday, 20 October 2014

Siem Reap, Cambodia - Blossom Training Cafe

One thing I love about Cambodia is how so many NGOs are involved in food, training up under privileged Cambodians to give them a better shot in life. I love the idea of not just throwing money at people and making them dependent, but rather providing them with their independence through learning and experience.

Blossom Training Cafe topped the Tripadvisor rankings of Siem Reap during our visit so after a late breakfast/lunch at Cafe Central, we walked over to Blossom for some cupcakes. I had seen the pictures and they looked beautiful and I was craving some chocolate so we had to!

The location is lovely and bright and airy.

And there are HUGE numbers of cupcakes that are so prettily decorated. So cute! Love love love the little toppings.

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