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

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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.

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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.

Dabbous

A friend couldn’t recommend Dabbous enough when we saw her a few weeks back. I agree with her – the menu was full of fresh, clean flavours presented in a beautiful way.

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Posh olives to start

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Followed by freshly baked bread. Love the stamping – very hipster!

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Avocado, basil and almonds in a chilled fig leaf broth

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Cured salmon with pickled celeraic

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Barbecued octopus, violet mustard and Jerusalem artichoke

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Braised veal cheek with toasted spelt, celery and kinome

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My favourite dessert – truffled cheese on toast

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Japanese baby peaches

Here’s a cheap & cheerful tip – most (Michelin starred or sometimes not) restaurants offer a set lunch menu where you’ll be able to sample their menu for £30++. Dabbous set lunch was £28 for 4 courses.

Cheap & Cheerful – Lee Fun Nam Kee Chicken Rice

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Soya Chicken

There will always be a massive debate whenever you ask anyone in Singapore where the best chicken rice is. It’s a highly emotional and extremely subjective topic (as most discussions on food, politics and religion are). I was pleasantly surprised with the chicken rice at Lee Nam Fun Kee. I personally was not a fan of this dish since I often find it too bland for my tastes but it was really well done here – juicy, tender chicken with a light fresh flavour. Well worth the trip to Toa Payoh.

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Steamed Chicken

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Roasted Pork Belly

Cheap & Cheerful – Soho’s Polpo

Soho is our go-to place whenever we want something casual, trendy and different. We’ve been wanting to eat in Polpo (Venetian food) for the longest time but walking in is impossible and reserving a table is near-impossible. Luckily, we were able to get one during our last Saturday in London. We almost didn’t when the host looked at us and said “Your reservation is for 2. You have a baby. That’s 3 not 2 people.” Maybe it was the look of hopelessness on our faces that made him move the seating arrangement a bit to accommodate us.

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The food was simple and delicious. A welcome break after our mad dash to tick off London restaurants from our bucket list. I especially enjoyed the cuttlefish and ink gnocchi, gremolata. The lamb and pistachio meatballs were nice. I see a lot of pistachio popping up (we had a lemon and pistachio pasta at Zucca) so it must be a seasonal ingredient.

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(L-R) Cuttlefish & Ink Gnocchi, gremolata / Pork shoulder & Pickled Pepper Pizette / Lamb & Pistachio Meatballs

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