making it easier to keep in touch with family and friends

Monday, 31 December 2007

Happy New Year! Happy 2008!

New Year isn't just about party, fireworks, ... It is also about togetherness and warmth...

To my family,

Here's wishing you a New Year sparkling with hopes for a bright future, sparkling with affection and love, sparkling with happiness, success and joy. Happy 2008 to you!

To my friends,

Some things are better when they don't change with time like our friendship and the great times we share! New Year is the best time to tell you anew... for your loving, caring and sharing ways... I will always cherish your friendship in my heart. Here's to our friendship and living it up in the New Year. Happy 2008 to you!

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!! Happy 2008!

love, kisses and hugs,
Hwei Ming :)

Sunday, 30 December 2007

High Life Again, Lol.

So what's the odds of living the high life again for the second day in a row?

Today, we went to Vivocity in the late morning because the girls' father was still keen on getting his camcorder. On the drive to Vivocity, he suggested having afternoon tea again. Now whose turn is it to get stared at?? Lol. I thought I heard wrongly too. But get this, Folks, I wasn't the one who suggested having afternoon tea today!! So who is getting hooked on afternoon tea now? Lol. Well, I am not going to complain if he wants to have afternoon tea again, hahaha. :P

We had a light brunch at Sushi Tei.
The girls shared:
Ebi Don ($8): 3 deep fried prawns topped with egg on rice. The batter on the prawns were too much and too thick. The girls who normally love prawns, didn't like it very much. :(

Ikura Chawanmuchi ($7): salmon roe on chawanmushi. It was pretty interesting with the salmon roe on top. The girls were in love with the bright orange roe.

Smelt Roe gunkan sushi ($1.60) and Tamago nigiri sushi ($1.60).

We shared:
Ippon Anago Sushi ($5): whole sea eel sushi. It was pretty smooth, can't really taste all that bones. :P

Hotate Misomayo ($8): grilled scallops with miso and mayo sauce. The scallops weren't overcooked which was nice but the sauce was a tad too salty for me. Somehow, miso and mayo together didn't really work for me.

Salmon Belly Misoshiru ($8): salmon belly miso soup. It is really filling on its own if you just want a light meal. It has pieces of salmon belly of course, tofu, cabbages, enoki mushrooms, seaweed, and vermicelli.

After brunch, the girls' father went to get his camcorder while I went window shopping with the girls, lol. He finally got his Sony camcorder ($2299) which also came with a free pouch, a free Sony Movie Studio software and an extra battery. For someone who is really not into these sort of gadgets, except playing computer games like Half Life 2, I wonder if he is able to handle it, lol. He can't even take decent photos, lol. The photos of us that you see on my blog, I adjusted all the lighting and such before passing the camera to him to take the photos. We shall see how he copes with the camcorder, lol. Oh, I got another dress. It was an unexpected find, lol.

We went to The Rose Veranda, Shangri-La Hotel for Afternoon Tea around 4pm. It was $38 per adult and $28 per child (5-12 years). The tea buffet had sandwiches (cheese, egg, tuna, ham); savouries (quiche, crab cakes, puffs, etc); salads; local delights (curries, mee siam, popiah, etc); Japanese (sushi, california rolls, etc); and cakes & pastries (scones, bread and butter pudding, log cakes, cheese cake, chocolate mousse cake, fruits, etc). Here are some of what I had, lol.

I love the tea at The Rose Veranda. For the same tea, they could serve it to you both hot and cold and they could be most different in taste. :) I had Morning Tea (herbal infusion) served hot: blend of rose hip peel, peppermint, blackberries, raspberries and strawberry leaves, marigold, blue hollyhocks and rose petals. It was really fragrant. I later had Caribbean Tea Punch (iced speciality tea): black tea with pineapple, kiwi and plum aroma, orange juice and sprinkling of cinnamon. It was exotic in taste. :P Marieann had Summer Hit (iced speciality tea): a herbal infusion with orange and lemon juice. I think it was too sour for her. I ended up drinking it too, lol.

So what is the odds of enjoying the high life two days in a day - shopping and afternoon tea?? Very, very rare indeed. Lol. Darn, should have pick some numbers for the lottery, lol. :P

Saturday, 29 December 2007

High Life for A Day, LOL.

The girls' father wanted to get a camcorder. So we went to Ngee Ann City as there is Best Denki and I could look for a leather handbag at Takashimaya since I have some vouchers, a Christmas gift from some good friends. :)

Since it was about 11:30am, we decided to have lunch first before we go on our separate ways shopping. We went to Charcoal Steak Grill Angus House. Surprisingly, it wasn't as expensive as we thought it would be, lol.

I had the Special Set Lunch: Chicken & Prawn with Black Pepper Sauce which included a Crab Chowder, Salad and Tea ($20). The grilled chicken was really, really tender and juicy. The prawn was grilled just right, not overcooked at all. The seasoning was also perfect.

The girls' father ordered the Salmon & Egg Spaghetti ($10). It was cooked in cream sauce and the salmon was fresh. But he thought it was only average.

Marieann had a Chicken, Mushroom & Bamboo Shoot Spaghetti ($5.25). It was more of a Japanese-Italian fusion kind of dish. It was rather refreshing.

Juliane had from the Special Set Lunch: Fish & Chips ($25). The girls shared the soup: Potage Creme de Corn or simply, Corn Soup, lol and the chips. :P However, in the end, the parents ended up eating the fish and salad as Juliane had her fill just with the soup and bread.

After lunch, about 1pm, the girls went with their father to Best Denki while I went alone to Takashimaya. After 1.5 hrs, I managed to get a new dress and a leather handbag from Fion whereas the girls' father returned empty-handed, lol. Apparently, they told him the model he wanted was out of stock and also at other Best Denki shops. But the girls' father called and found out Best Denki, Great World has that model and he was pretty mad. He vowed never to buy from Best Denki, Ngee Ann City.

As we were driving out of the car park, I received a call from a shop at Marina Square. My dress is ready for collection. Ok, instead of home, off we went to Marina Square, lol. The girls' father parked the car at Conrad Centennial Hotel so that we could use the link between Conrad and Marina Square which was on the same level as the shop. However, before we could even step out of Conrad Hotel, we all got sidetracked by the Afternoon Tea at Lobby Lounge, lol. It was 3:30pm. We might as well have some tea and a rest.

The Afternoon Tea was $25 per adult, inclusive of two different drinks; a sandwich tower of cheese & cucumber, smoked salmon, ham, and scones (refillable); and the afternoon tea buffet of fruits, cakes, desserts, chocolates, souffle, savory quiche and savory croissants. I had two different teas: Strawberry Kiwi Royal (fruit infusion) and Vivid Meadows (herbal infusion) which tasted great with New Zealand Organic Wildflower Honey. The girls shared the teas: Chamomile and Fresh & Vitality (a strawberry flavour tea). I think the girls really enjoyed the afternoon tea very much and told their father they want to do this everyday. For that, I received a cold stare from him. Hey, what did I do? I didn't influence them and tell them to like having afternoon tea! Lol. Here are just some highlights of the afternoon tea.

After the tea at 6pm, we went to the shop to collect my dress. At the same time, I tried on a few more dresses, lol. Nay, I didn't buy more dresses, I have got good control, hahaha. We finally got home at 7:30pm.

It has been a long day, experiencing the high life - shopping, afternoon tea. But definitely can't do this everyday or even every week, too expensive lah. Unless I strike lottery, hmmm, then it's another story, lol.

Friday, 28 December 2007

Holiday Mood

I am still pretty much in a holiday mood, after the hotel stay, after Christmas and especially now that New Year is coming up just round the corner, lol.

Saw this on Blogthings: What Holiday Are You? Tried it out and I am Easter, lol.

You Are Easter

You are an optimistic, hopeful, and genuinely sweet person.
Sensitive and affectionate, you are easily touched.
You love nature, animals, and anything cute or cuddly.
For you, every day is a new chance - no matter what happened yesterday.

What makes you celebrate: Almost anything. You love most holidays and celebrations.

At holiday get togethers, you do best as: The peacemaker. You can prevent any squabbles that might break out.

On a holiday, you're the one most likely to: Remember to include everyone

And here: What Do the Holidays Mean to You?

What The Holidays Mean to You

For you, the holidays are about generosity. You give as much as you possibly can to friends, family, and charity.

You celebrate the holidays in a offbeat style. You believe the holidays are for doing whatever you feel like - and some of your "traditions" are pretty wacky.

During the holidays, you feel happily busy. There's so much do to and not a lot of time to do it. But you enjoy every minute of your holiday chores.

You think the holidays should be nostalgic and sweet. The holidays bring out your inner child.

Your best holiday memories are of childhood foods and traditions. You secretly still wish you believed in Santa Claus.

So far, fairly true, lol. I have always like holidays and celebrations. I will always look for any opportunity to celebrate, as you can see from the farewells, the get-togethers, lol.

Thursday, 27 December 2007

Private Sale at Isetan

Today is Isetan's Private Sale. It is really worth it if you need to get anything: necessities, luxury goods, etc. There is as much as 20% to 50% off plus the additional 3% discount for Isetan credit card holders.

We went in the evening because I needed to get a few household stuff and my Clarins products at Isetan Scotts and the girls' father had to pay a deposit for the New Year's Eve dinner at Royal Plaza on Scotts Hotel. It was a MAD house at Isetan. I had seen a Kipling bag which I like. I thought I might get it since it would be 23% off. But it was just too crowded at the Kipling counter. I gave up trying to look for it. It is okay, there will be other opportunities, lol.

Just before we left Isetan for dinner, I saw a leather hangbag at the Salvatore Ferragamo. It's the design that I have been looking for. But with its price tag, I could get 4 Kipling bags. Sigh... maybe next time, lol. :P Besides, I should be contented as I already have an Etienne Aigner, a Renoma, two Calvin Kleins, and numerous Kiplings, lol. But one more never hurts, right? Hahaha.

We went for a late dinner, at 9pm, at Cedele, Wheelock Place. The girls' father ordered a Portobello Asparagus Saffron Risotto ($16.90). It was a vegetarian dish but by no means, was it lacking in taste. In fact, it was really good.

I had a seafood pasta in light cream sauce ($16.90) because there were no more chicken dishes. It definitely paled to the risotto. In comparison, my pasta was only average.

We finished our dinner pretty quickly and we managed to get home just a little after 10pm.

Wednesday, 26 December 2007

Window of the Soul

Eyes are the window of the soul. To me, my eyes are much more than that. They serve another much more practical purpose, other than letting others have a glimpse of my soul, they warn me of any impending illnesses, lol. Not joking.

Often before I fall ill, my eyes are the ones that would act up first as they are very sensitive. So almost every time when they act up, I would quickly take precaution such as taking my vitamins, drinking more liquids, etc and of course, I would have to put eye drops for my eyes.

My left eye started itching quite badly on Monday night, Christmas Eve. I should have put eye drops and then leave it alone but I just couldn't resist rubbing my eye, alot, lol. It got worse on Tuesday, Christmas Day. There was a slight swelling just under my left eye, not obvious but it was quite painful whenever I blinked. I also started to take precautions too against illnesses, just in case, lol. :P

Today I went to see the doctor. Apparently, I have rubbed my eyes too much and germs have gotten into my eye gland resulting in the swelling. It would go away in a day or two, as long as I don't rub it. So except for my eye, I am otherwise healthy which is a relief to know, lol. Now, I will make sure I don't rub my eyes no matter how much they itch. Lol.

Tuesday, 25 December 2007

Merry Christmas and Christmas Brunch at The Marmalade Pantry, HV

Today is Christmas Day. It has been an eventful day for me. But before I go on, I want to wish all my friends, family and readers who have taken the time to read my blog, a Merry Christmas! I hope today has been a great day for you and your loved ones. :)

We took the girls to The Marmalade Pantry, one of my favourite restaurants, for Christmas Brunch at 10am because I wanted to try their festive menu. :P We decided to go earlier since our friend couldn't join us. We were only the second family/table there so it was really peaceful and quiet. It took us a while to order because it was hard to decide what to have, everything sounded so yummy, lol.

The girls shared from the Festive Kids' Menu, a main and a sweets for $15++. They had Breaded White Fish & Chips and Profiteroles with Vanilla Ice Cream with Warm Chocolate Sauce. The fish and chips weren't too bad. The profiteroles were fantastic - little puffs stuffed with vanilla ice cream.

We shared a Corn Chowder with Crab and Basil Dumpling ($12). I always like corn chowder so I found it nice. I thought the dumpling was pretty delicious. Who would have thought that crab and basil actually went well together, lol.

The girls' father had Pork Neck Spaghetti Alio Olio, Roasted Chestnuts & Chili ($18) but without the chili. I thought the spaghetti was really fragrant. The pork neck was tender and juicy and the chestnut added a unique taste to the dish.

What is Christmas without turkey, lol. So I had Roast Turkey with Green Onion, Cornbread Stuffing & Cranberry Relish ($29). The turkey was pretty tender and not too dry. The cornbread stuffing was yummy too.

Half way through the brunch, the girls were tired so their father sent them home first but not without doggy bag home their favourite cupcakes, Cloud Nine. I also ordered Limonata and Chocolate Deluxe to bring home, lol.

After dropping the girls' off at home, their father rejoined me for the desserts. We ordered the Brunch Dessert Platter ($36++):
Bitter Orange Marmalade Pudding, Caramelized Walnut, Orange & Ginger Sauce - this was fantastic on its own and with caramel sauce and vanilla ice cream, it was beyond this world, lol.
Individual Caramelized Pecan Tart - this was a tad too sweet but it was still nice, lol.
White Chocolate & Pear Mousse with Ginger Biscotti, Star Anise Creme Anglaize - surprisingly, it wasn't too sweet and the star anise creme gave it an exotic taste. It was really good!
Gingerbread Pancakes with Lemon Swirl Creme Chantilly - the pancakes were unique with its gingerbread taste and it went really well with the lemon creme chantilly, vanilla ice cream and caramel sauce, lol.

Since the girls were home, we decided to go see a movie. Unfortunately, we didn't have the movie times for National Treasure. I called up a good friend for help. Opps, we didn't know he was at church service. Sorry, pal. :P But he was kind enough to help us out and looked up the movie times with his pda phone. Now that is all the more reason I should get a pda phone, lol. All thanks to my friend, we were able to catch the 12:55pm show at Great World City Golden Village, lol. :) The movie wasn't too bad. You don't have to use too much brain power to analyse. It was entertaining enough.

At 4pm, I went to visit a SCGS pal who has just given birth to her 3rd baby on Christmas Eve with my other SCGS pals. It was a gathering for us, lol. We had a good time chatting and catching up with one another. We stayed till 6pm before we left and we have arranged to meet up again over Chinese New Year 2008, lol.

It has been an eventful Christmas Day for me - had great food, great entertainment and great company. :)

Monday, 24 December 2007

Virgin No More...

Yup, I am no longer a spa virgin, lol. What were you guys thinking? Hello, two kids, how to be a virgin still?? Hahaha. :P

I had my very first spa experience on Saturday 22 December when we stayed for a night at Conrad Centennial Hotel. I never thought I would go for spa in this life as I had been frightened off spa by a friend's experience. But while I was browsing through The Centennial Spa (by St Gregory) menu, I became very curious as to how it would be like going for a spa. I thought to myself, "Why not? Just for the fun of it. If I don't like it, I never have to do it again. But at least, I have tried it before. Life is really too short to be scared of doing stuff, lol".

I decided to go for Double Impact (80 minutes) which is a combination of aromatic body bliss massage and well-being back massage. I signed up for a slot at 9pm. Then I could go shopping in the afternoon and return at night for a massage to soothe all my tired muscles, hahaha.

When I went to the spa, I realised I was the only hotel guest using the spa facilities at 9pm. So I had the whole place to myself and two staff to wait on me, lol. Wah, feel like royalty already, lol. :P I had to fill out a declaration form first. After which the therapist, May led me to the Ladies changing room to change. I had to remove all my clothes! I was like "Huh? What? Ok, fine! Too late to be shy and back out now, lol". At least, I still have a paper undies and a bath robe that was wrapped most tightly and tied most tightly around me to protect my modesty. Hahaha. But little did I know, I had problems untying the knot when I had to disrobe for the massage... $#%^! Lol. :P

In the therapy room, there was soothing music playing softly, the lights were dimmed and essential oil burning in the burners. I felt all relaxed already until I had to disrobe, lol. Tied my knot too tightly, hahaha. May was really nice and she put me at ease when she knew it was my first time doing a spa massage. I was told to lie front down first on the massage table and she started with massages on my legs and back. She used aromatic massage oil which was really nice and soothing to the senses. I think I was so relaxed that I almost fell asleep, lol. She told me that my neck and shoulder muscles were really tight and stiff. How right she is! She really worked on those stiff neck and shoulder muscles of mine, with her hands and elbows, putting in pressure trying to ease the knots away. Ouch, ouch, ouch. But hey, no pain, no gain! I did feel my neck and shoulders weren't so knotted up after she worked on them. She went on to massage my arms before I was told to turn over onto my back. She gave me a scalp massage and it felt really good. She then proceeded to work on my legs again, my arms, shoulders, chest and stomach.

All too soon, my 80 minutes was up but actually, it was 90 minutes. May worked on me a little longer because of my neck and shoulder muscles. She was really nice. She also used hot towels to wipe the oil off me so that I won't be too oily when I take my shower. After the massage, I was also given a tea to drink which I had chosen from 4 choices before I started my massage session. My peppermint, as usual, lol.

Overall, my first spa massage experience has been a blast. It was actually fantastic. I felt very relaxed and very pampered after the massage. This is life, lol. Hmm, I could consider going for spa massages like this on a regular basis, lol. :P

PS. I later developed a headache, neck and shoulder aches because I was trying to work on my laptop while trying to watch Fantastic 4. My posture was all wrong so it was my own fault, undoing the good the massage has done. Served me right, lol. As a good friend later said to me, "After a massage, you are supposed to relax! Not work on the laptop, lol". So true, lol. Well, I have learnt my lesson. :)

Sunday, 23 December 2007

Weekend at Conrad Centennial Hotel: Sunday

The weekend continues... lol.

Early this morning, really early, when I couldn't sleep around 2+ or 3+ am, I went round taking pictures of the girls in their various sleeping positions, lol. Marieann slept on the extra bed which was set up in the living room, near to the bedroom and the girls' father remained sleeping on the couch where he had fallen asleep. Juliane slept with me on the King's size bed, lol. Just nice for the both of us cos Juliane really moves a lot in her sleep as you can see in the photos, lol.

For that 4.5 hours which I slept, it was pretty deep because I don't recall dreaming at all! Not dreaming is pretty rare for me, lol. I had actually wanted to wake up at dawn, hoping to catch the sunrise. Although I did wake up one or two times but it was either too early, still in darkness or too late, sun was already up, lol. But anyway, I was too sleepy to have gotten good photos of the sunrise, even if I did get up at the right time.

When I woke up at 8:30am, everyone was still asleep. Wanted to read the newspapers but someone stole the papers! I decided to have a nice hot soak in the tub. After the massage last night, my muscles were really aching, especially my neck and shoulders. By the time I filled up the tub, everyone has woken up. Oh well, I could still have my soak and also a few photos with the girls in our pjs, lol.

Ahh... the soak was pure heaven. It really soothed my aching muscles and was really relaxing. I was able to lie there in the tub and enjoy my peace and tranquility for about ... 15 minutes before the girls started giggling and trying to peep at me through the slits on the bathroom door, lol. There goes my peace and quiet. Since I can't beat them (not in the literal sense, lol), I got out and let them experience a soak in the tub too. We all had fun, lol.

All that I needed for my relaxing soak: bath salt, and most importantly, my adorable rubber ducky! Lol.

By the time everyone got dressed and packed our belongings, it was almost 10am. Time for our breakfast. The first meal of the day is the most important, cannot miss it for the world, especially if it is buffet, lol. Here are some highlights of the buffet spread (which had Western, Asian, cereals, bread, fruits, cold cuts, salad) and what I had for breakfast, lol.

We went back to the suite just before 11am to watch F4 again because the girls complained that they had fallen asleep while watching it late last night, lol. Might as well as we only needed to check out at 12pm.

The girls were pretty upset about leaving. Both said they wanted to stay at the hotel everyday. Their father paled at that, lol. Again, when we checked out, we were given a very warm reception. The girls received their cookies again, lol.

After we put our stuff into the car, we walked over to Marina Square to walk off the heavy breakfast we had. We had a light snack at 1+ pm at Gloria Jean's Coffee (an Australian cafe). We ordered a Pasta Salad ($3.95) to share. The salad was actually very nice, lol. The girls "ta pau" cupcakes home.

While in the car, on the way home, the girls fell asleep. All the excitement of the weekend getaway has finally taken its toll on them, lol. And the parents too when we got home, hahaha. I napped for 3 hours, lol.

Overall, it was a really nice stay away from home. The girls really enjoyed themselves. I also enjoyed the break away from home and the massage too, although I am still aching now, lol. Oh yes, and the shopping too, lol. Maybe next time, we should stay an extra night to be really relaxed, lol. :P

Some photos of the surrounding which I took from the suite. :)