Family Holiday

Family Holiday

Our first beach sunset taken in Mai Khao Thailand.

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Afternoon Tea at the W Singapore

I have to admit, I miss afternoon tea. There’s nothing like a few cups after a morning of shopping or getting dressed to meet your girlfriends for some gossip. My husband has sworn off afternoon all teas since he says all we do is talk about other people.

I was invited for afternoon tea to celebrate a birthday. Quite a different experience since it was warm (maybe an iced tea would have been better) and the view was of the sea and the spectacular W pool. It was fab just the same! Thanks to A & C for the invite 🙂

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The sweets came in a cage. A CAGE!!! I Love it!

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The deconstructed cheesecake in the mason jars were my fave.

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The savouries were the best – I ate more than my share of the wasabi sashimi (ooops). The foie gras tarts (check out the bling!) and prosciutto burgers were tasty as well.

Afternoon tea at the Woobar is served daily from 15:00-17:00.

Kanin Club – my favourite Filipino restaurant (in the Philippines!)

I’m alive! Not sure if anyone’s noticed I was gone but I just got back from a long holiday in the Philippines and with food being at the heart of Filipino culture, every meet up / trip / activity was related to food. In fact, they way we say hello is “Kumain ka na?” which means “Have you eaten?” another is “Ang taba mo na!” which means “You’re so fat!” but let’s not go there.

I’ve been dying to eat authentic Filipino food since forever (well it’s been a couple of years since I’ve been back) so I finally tried one of my sister’s favourite restaurants. Kanin Club offers a fresh take on traditional Filipino dishes without the pretentiousness of other establishments 🙂

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Sinigang Rice – the Filipino version of Thailand’s sour soup (Tom Yum) without the spice. It’s among the top 7 dishes that every Filipino cooks on a weekly basis. Although the original is a soup dish like Tom Yum, this is an exciting twist wherein we mix the flavours with rice. Pretty cool considering Filipinos eat everything with rice, even noodles!

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Bicol Express – named after a city south of Manila (Bicol) where the cuisine is spicy and made with a lot of coconut milk. This version has wing beans and pork belly. Filipinos love unhealthy cuts of meat with lots of fat. Fact.
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 Crispy Dinuguan – deep fried pork belly (unhealthy x 2) in blood. Yes really, pig’s blood. The sauce is made with pig’s blood and vinegar. This is a tricky dish because it can go horribly wrong, even in our family we only eat this dish when we know who is cooking it. This is a great version – couldn’t stop eating it.

Flower Dome at Gardens by the Bay

I miss London. I especially miss our Southwark neighbourhood where the Thames, the Tate Modern, Southbank and a couple of parks are a short walk away. I miss walking. You could walk in Singapore but goodness – the heat! As much as I love everything British, I will be forever Asian when it comes to sun exposure (NO sun and NO exposure).

So I was amazed when I first went to the Flower Dome at Gardens by the Bay because it had air-conditioning! It was a mix of the things I love – plants and cool weather. It may not be a quick walk to the flower dome but it is one of my favourite spots to take my daughter for a few hours. We’re now ‘friends of the gardens‘ so we pop by once or twice a week.

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The war of the roses floral display is on until 6 April 2014.

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Aside from the temporary exhibit, the flower dome is divided into several gardens where you can see different plants from around the world.

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Daisies are the happiest flower (You’ve Got Mail)

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Coco Chanel’s favourite flower

The best part? It’s a child friendly place where there’s a good changing area and a nursing room which allows us to stay longer when my daughter has the occasional meltdown 🙂

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Cheap & Cheerful – DIY Baby Spa

I first encountered the term baby spa when I saw the agenda our relocation consultant gave us for our Singapore induction. I was a bit curious since this was not something that is widely known in the UK. BabySPA is the most common brand a session includes a swimming session, a massage and a haircut. The whole experience is supposed to stimulate the physical and mental development of the baby.

Here’s my version of it – you will need:

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A place to swim – babySPA has lukewarm water but my daughter likes hot water

floatation device

A floatation device which goes around the baby’s neck

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Toys – although I seem to enjoy this more than my daughter

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and last but not least… a baby!

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This also doubles as bath time!

A trial session at the babySPA is $45++ which includes swimming and a massage. My version is $17 which includes the flotation device ($12) and toys ($5). I use Mustela massage oil but olive oil works great as well.

Cheap & Cheerful – Cheng Li Yuan

I love Geylang.

It gets a bad rep from being the red light district of Singapore but it has an amazing local food scene. It doesn’t feel like you’re in Singapore, if that makes sense. I felt like I was in the streets of Vietnam or Bangkok – not the polished streets of District 1 or around Paragon but the gritty side streets that makes getting lost worthwhile.

Now Geylang is not easy to navigate. Since it is very local, there are times when English is sparse at best. So Chris and Steve (my sister’s lovely friends) recommended their favourite Chinese restaurant. Steve, bless him, texted me what to order in Chinese which saved me a whole lot of trouble since I just showed the waitress the SMS.

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Watch out for this sign, it’s almost impossible to find the resto without this – and don’t be scared if all you see are groups of men drinking. I was the only female there aside from the waitress.

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Pumpkin and salted egg (南瓜咸蛋黄) – an amazing starter

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Eggwhite with crabmeat and broccoli (赛螃蟹). This is served with raw egg on top which the server will mix around and let cook in the dish’s heat. It’s then topped up with black vinegar for a tangy finish.

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Cereal Prawn (麦片虾) – always a classic

Steve also recommended the beancurd skin (东北大拉皮) but we had too much already, maybe next time!

Cheng Li Yuan can be found at 136 Sims Avenue Singapore 387584.

Fabulous & Free – The British Museum

People love the British Museum for different reasons – my husband loves the mummy collection, others crowd around the Rosetta stone or (a part) of the Babylon wall but I love it for an entirely different reason. There’s nothing like sitting inside the great court when the weather is good.

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The collection is massive and the hoards of people equally so – my recommendation is to take a walking tour. There’s nothing like a guide taking you through the highlights in the most painless way possible. You can easily go back to the places that you want to dive in deeper after the tour.