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Showing posts from December, 2012

Singapore - Cost of Living - What did I bring from France/Europe to Singapore? Shopping for food!

As a follow up to my 2 previous posts regarding what to buy in Europe versus in Singapore and which items I was planning to bring back from France after Christmas, here is what I actually came home with. I am in pain after carrying all of this plus presents for G (from me and family) plus my presents from my family. I checked in 2 suitcases and had another 2 heavy carry on bags. No idea how I got it through Charles de Gaulle, horrible airport that it is. Really makes you appreciate Changi!

I am writing this way too early in the morning as I am jetlagged. My body thought that what I thought was going to be a full night's sleep was actually nap time. Not amused with it.

You can get most of these things in Singapore but you will pay through the nose for them and probably have to go to fancy supermarkets or shops for them, which as you know we don't do as we shop mostly in Sheng Siong (sometimes Fair Price) and at wet markets like Tekka Market and you may have seen my posts about…

Mum's Christmas Decorations

So you have seen our lovely Christmas dinner and now I will share our Christmas decorations with you. Whilst they aren't quite like the amazing Christmas decorations on Orchard Road in Singapore, we love them all the same. Well, most of us do. My brother, being a teenager, is not quite convinced :)
I also messed around with various effects such as bokeh for some fun. You can see our tree, our mantelpieces, our candles, our Christmas table & place mats etc
My Mum loves Christmas decorations and has been collected Father Christmas / Santa Claus figures for as long as I remember. So I also brought back a palm shaped ornament from Raffles Hotel in Singapore so she has a piece of me on the tree, though they might not be using it next year as they are thinking of coming over to see me in Asia!

Couple of Carcassone Pictures

Hi All,

Getting ready to fly home to Singapore, so don't have time to post all the Carcassone pictures, I will do so from Singapore. But to tide you over ;-), here are a couple of them:

France - Home Cooking - Christmas dinner at home

I am home for Christmas. Of course I am. As anyone who knows my family knows.... we have no choice ;-) Just kidding Mum!

So I thought I would share what we had for Christmas dinner. We do the full traditional dinner for Christmas. And we do it in the evening so that we don't stress out too much or have to get up too early. I did a soup for lunch - just after we opened the presents, again to keep the stress levels low.

4 of us have turkey and my sister, being vegan, makes a nut roast as well as a red wine gravy as she wouldn't be eating the standard gravy. We have all the trimmings too. I am usually in charge of the roast spuds (my other name being of course Potato Queen), and I also did the parsnips and carrots as I was on a peeling roll. We also did peas, Brussel sprouts and mum does her mum's stuffing with bread crumbs, thyme and rosemary and olive oil, though not in the turkey anymore due to my sister being vegan, she just does it in the oven covered in foil.

Sri Lanka - Colombo - Galle Face Hotel

When we were in Colombo, both times, we stayed at the Galle Face Hotel. We decided to treat ourselves when we first got to Sri Lanka, after having stayed the first few nights in a treehouse up in the sky in Sigiriya. So we booked the Galle Face. At the last minute, there were only suites left. So of course we booked one! Our recommendation would be if you like old colonial hotels, you really should stay at the Galle Face and in the colonial wing if you can. My parents stayed with us there (and loved it) at the end of the trip and since they like their mod cons, they stayed in the modern wing.

We adored this hotel. Absolutely loved it. It was recommended by my old boss and he was chuffed when we came home and told him just how much we enjoyed staying there. He says that based on our description, it really hasn't changed much since he stayed there a few decades ago. Old world charm at its best.

Trip to Saint Lucia - Soufriere & Gros Islet

In May 2011 we went to Saint Lucia and had a trip of 2 parts. The first part we went more "local" and stayed in a place called Gros Islet. It is very close to Rodney Bay which is very "cruise stop" like and full of Americans and American food. We went only once and didn't return. We preferred it in Gros Islet which is just a little fishing village with very few places to stay. We stayed at the Bay Guesthouse which was lovely. Rustic but charming, very well located and with very nice owners.

The second half of the trip we stayed in Soufriere at the luxurious Fond Doux Plantation which is a working plantation where they make chocolate, well, they grow the beans, roast them, dry them etc and ship them out. It was gorgeous.

Singapore - Home Cooking - 3 out of gazillions - Soup, curry (Indian and Thai), stir fries etc

Time for some self indulgence, tis the season after all, right? Or is that the season to be jolly? Same thing any way.... ;-) 
Back to some "what have we been cooking?" info. With pictures. A friend pointed out maybe I should explain a bit more how we cook these things so I have included some pictures of the prep but not sure that will help much so feel free to ask me how to cook these things if you are interested in recreating them. Or just invite yourself over to dinner :-)

Singapore - Again? Yes... again..... Cherry Garden @ Mandarin Oriental

I have no excuse. I don't need one. I love the Cherry Garden. It is awesome. It rules. We went back again :-) Different friend this time, he is leaving Singapore soon after having spent 2 months here and hadn't had a dim sum brunch. So we obliged. We first went to the Red Dot Design museum which was great. Will try to remember to write about that some other time. 
So yes, Cherry Garden. Should I be embarrassed or ashamed that when I walked in I was greeted by name without having said a word? No, I like it! Good service there as usual. We of course decided for the champagne brunch. As usual. You can read my previous post about the champagne brunch at Cherry Garden in the Mandarin Oriental. I will try not to bore you too much by going over the same ground. I will try to just show you the different things we had this time, but I won't be able to resist some of the good old favourites!

Singapore - Christmas celebration with colleagues at The Line at the Shangri-La

So Christmas time is upon us. And that usually means a lot of socialising. Some with friends, but also some with work. With all the stress and hassle and dread that goes with it. Is my other half invited? Will I find any small talk to share with everyone.... do we have anything in common besides the job? Will we just talk about work? Will people get drunk? Will I drink too much and make a huge fool out of myself? Will there be anything I will eat (usual stress for me!).

Luckily, we didn't have to worry too much. G and I work at the same company so that one is solved (and for the record, no, partners were not invited). We all pretty much get on rather well, we eat lunch together most days, so no issue there. Most of us happily drink together too :-) This wasn't our first night out for office drinks! And there was lots and lots to eat as it was a huge buffet with loads of different option from different countries. We had our Christmas do at The Line, in the gorgeous hotel that …

Singapore - Last meal ..... before leaving Singapore, what would you have?

I am about to embark on a trip back to Europe for unfortunate reasons (a funeral) and have spent the day madly dashing around washing clothes, packing etc. So much so that I forgot to eat lunch. I was about to admit defeat about dinner and eat get something at the airport or do the unspeakable (go for McDonalds.... it's right here.... 24/7...) when I realised that by the time I walked to McDonalds I would pretty much be at the MRT so I might as well just jump on it, head 2 stops south and go to Little India. I had been craving Indian food (hadn't had a dosai in daaaaaaays) so that was is, MRT it was. I realised that otherwise it would be a week again before I had a chance to have any proper Singaporean food!

I started thinking what the closest place to the MRT as I was stuck for time, I had to finish packing, shower (again... it is so hot at the moment, broke into a huge sweat hanging up washing!) and get to the airport. I remembered reading about Sri Kamala Vilas on i eat i s…

Singapore - Shopping at the Tekka Mart / Tekka Centre in Little India on a Sunday - am I mad?

So, as you know from my previous post, we went to Tekka for our weekly vegetable shop last weekend. I posted that I was on my way to Little India on a Sunday and people thought I was mad, why would I do that, it is crazy there etc etc. To be honest, we went around 11.30/12 and it was fine. It wasn't too packed. But we couldn't eat there after our shop, as much as we would have wanted to, because all the best places had HUGE queues. And it seems silly not to eat at the best places, so we will save that for next time. G is salivating at the thought of the biryani! We ended up going to the best and original Komala Vilas, rather than the fast food version at Farrer Park. The original one does the rice meals upstairs (unlimited rice and curries for about 7-8$) and downstairs is the "snack" part. We had an Onion Uttapam, a Tomato Uttapam and a Masala Dosai. All yummy. Pictures will be added to one of my next "what we have been eating" posts. 
Well, the point of …

Singapore - Cost of Living - What does $75 buy you in Sheng Siong in Singapore?

As you may have noticed, food is quite a theme on this blog! We cook a lot at home (both of us enjoy cooking.... now washing up / cleaning, that is another matter entirely!) and we like eating out too. So supermarkets are important to us. Luckily, the cheapest supermarket chain (Sheng Siong) has a store near our house (about 1-2min walk from our place). It is utter chaos! I will take some pictures and show you what the shopping experience is like sometime but that is not the point of this post.

The point of this post is to show you a bit more about what is expensive and what isn't in Singapore in our local. I know we are considered a bit odd for shopping in Sheng Siong, even by Singaporean colleagues of ours! Most people shop in NTUC Fairprice or in Cold Storage, both of which are more expensive. Fairprice isn't too bad, not too much more expensive, but still... We once walked into Cold Storage and were shocked by the prices! We estimate that some of the fresh fruit and veget…

Singapore - Cost of Living - What can you get for $50 at Tekka Centre Market in Little India?

If you have been following me on Twitter, you will know I hate Mondays. I can't get to sleep on Sunday nights and I think it might be because I have been getting up too late on Sundays. So I *forced* myself out of bed when I woke up at 10.15 :-) I did wake up at 8 but decided that was far far too early. G was going to Tekka as he does quite often on a weekend. He went and then, as I was up, I figured I would get dressed and joined him down there. 
Tekka is quite an experience but I will write another post about that soon, the actual shopping there, the stalls etc. The point of this post will be what you get for your money there. I will do it stall by stall as I don't always know the breakdown of the cost per item, just how much we gave that stall :-)

Received a Silver medal for expat blogs in Singapore!

Hi All

Woke up to pleasant news, I received a silver medal in the expat blog awards for Singapore.

Thanks to my readers and my lovely friends and family who voted for me!

And of course, thank you to my dog, my childhood fish (we will never forget Flip & Flop), coffee, champagne, and lots of good food!

Ideas for next posts....

So, trying to think of new ideas for posts, beyond of course food :-)

Some of the ones I have planned:
- more holiday pictures (Sri Lanka, Hong Kong, Vietnam, Berlin, Barcelona, Saint Lucia, Malaysia, Ibiza etc)
- supermarket shopping (Sheng Siong, my local, is quite the experience! Cheapest in Singapore from what we can tell) and wet market shopping
- Singaporean weather
- some interesting quirks
- Buying plants & the impact on our house (we are very happy!)
- pictures of the house & living in Townervilla
- Nespresso coffee and how did I ever live without?
- Parkview Square - our office building
- Sunday in Little India
- Singapore Botanic Gardens (we had a picnic there)
- Sunset pictures :-)
- Cost of alcohol in Singapore & where to buy it
- The joys of owning a rice cooker and what we have been doing in it

I am open to any suggestions you may have!


Singapore - My first trip to the doctor in Singapore

Another first and one I thought I should share as it may benefit others. I have allergies and a chronic (but well under control) illness so I was a bit apprehensive about going to the doctor in a new country. I had been visiting my doctor in France for 8 years. I was so used to that clinic that I stayed with them for 7 years after I left the town they are based in! I lived in Nice and they were in Antibes, 25 km away. Whilst I may be a bit chaotic and random, for some things, I am really a creature of habit. My doctor is one such thing.

When we were planning this move to Singapore, medical insurance was number one on my list of concerns, followed by what happens if I become pregnant. It is one of the reasons our move took so long, we were in protracted contractual discussions. Especially when you come from France, which as everyone knows, is one of the top places in the world for medical care, mostly funded by the government. Yes, I am a big believer in social medicine as illness know…

Singapore - Christmas Decorations in Singapore - Orchard Road

As we were wandering around Orchard Road, having been to Tangs and to Din Tai Fung in Wisma Atria, we decided to go to Ice Cold Bar for a drink and to look at the gorgeous colonial houses on Emerald Hill and on the way I took a load of pictures of the Christmas Decorations on Orchard Road in Singapore's main shopping area.

Singapore - Din Tai Fung Addicts? Us? Never!

Our friends were visiting us and we owed them their wedding present. We wanted to take them for dim sum champagne brunch at the Cherry Garden (yes, again, we know, we love it!) but it was *shock* *horror* fully booked for all sitting all weekend. So what is the next best thing we know and love? Din Tai Fung of course. DTF. I apparently go there so often that whenever a friend hears / reads Din Tai Fung or DTF then they think of me :-) LOL. So off we went to our favourite branch (there are loads here in Singapore, 10+) at Wisma Atria. But of course, it is pretty busy there on a Sunday so we had to wait and we got one of the tables outside the restaurant. 
They have a Christmas special offer on so that when you spend I think 88$ on a Citibank card or 98 on another card, you get free Famous Amos cookies. Easy peasy! Of course we managed that amount :-)

Singapore - Lunch at The Hand Burger in Raffles City

We were trying to go to Din Tai Fung as one of our colleagues from work has heard us go on about it for ages and went recently for the first time and so wanted to go with us now. In the end, 7 of us from the office decided to wander down to Raffles City to have Din Tai Fung in the boiling heat. Anyone who lives in Singapore can relate. As soon as the sky is blue, it is very very hot here. Mid thirties at least. But of course, we went on a Friday after 12. Bad idea. 
We would have had to wait 30min. Not a great idea when you are busy! So then we wandered around, not quite for 30min but for a while and ended up splitting up as some wanted pizza and some didn't then all ended up at burger places! Apparently Skinny Pizza is rather expensive for a lunch so they didn't go and we all did burgers. Not cheap at all though. Cost me 20$ for a burger and a Diet Coke. Compared to our usual less than 5$ at Rochor Centre for Phad Thai and a drink. Oh well, change is good :-) Need it every s…