Friday, November 26, 2010

Walking home in the rain after work yesterday...
Waiting for the traffic light to turn green, with my feet getting wet.
Then I noticed - perched on top of (something.the signal box?a mail box?) was a little replica of the Eiffel Tower.
You know, the kind every street peddler sell along the streets of Paris.

Reminds me of the days I spend in Edinburgh, braving the persistent drizzle and the blustery winds that threaten to upturn my umbrella, feet perpetually wet and soggy and wrinkly. Staring down at the pavement as I walked to the MRT.. I could believe that I was in London.

Friday, November 19, 2010

it's ridiculous how i feel ashamed of my blog now.

how it has no comments function. or share function. or subscribe function. how the font is tiny. how the archives is not user-friendly. how my image is outdated. or my posts. or my links. how it doesn't incorporate SEO templates. how unprofessional it is.

i'm not a professional blogger.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Got me thinking about my blog.

My work at New Media introduced me to the world of social media marketing, something that (I admit) is totally new to me. It led me to start reading books on social media, word of mouth marketing and so on. And I keep reading about blogs, how to make full use of it, how to market it, how to gain visibility, to engage with your users through quick response (you get the idea). And all these readings made me realise how unfriendly my blog is. And got me thinking why I have this blog in the first place.

Today, at lunch, a colleague mentioned how outdated my posts were. I began this blog to update my friends and family on my life in Scotland but how relevant is this now? Now that I'm back in Singapore, who reads this anymore? Other than qy haha :) Plus this is not even a chronological update of my life. Especially since just a few months ago, I was blogging about my trip to Manchester 4 years ago. Haha! A bit random.

Maybe it's just a place for me to write. Like a journal of sorts. But then I should probably make it private. I guess I must want people to read this. This is confusing. I did.. entertain the thought of trying to make a 'successful' blog! Haha! To try out all these tips and theories that I've been reading. But I think it'll take quite a lot of energy to maintain. I shall go get my smartphone first!

Sitting at Mos Burger, drinking iced milk tea.
Bobbles and snowflakes dangling above my head.
Listening to 'Have yourself a merry little Christmas~'
Somehow it feels so blissful. Maybe a little nostalgic.
It's strange how that song has such a big impact on me.
Wondering why...

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Shopping at Cotton On at Novena Square last Saturday.

Had a 30% discount voucher so went a little mad. But there were lots of things I didn't buy. Anyway, point is, when I paid, I realised that the 2 for $30 T-shirts were actually cheaper without the 30% discount. Because how the cashier did it was to change the T-shirt price to the original, which was $24.95, then deduct 30%, so I ended up paying $35 for the 2 for $30 shirts. Obviously, I went back to the cashier and asked her nicely if I can take out these 2 shirts and then pay for them separately (i.e. pay $30 and not use the 30% for the 2 items). At first, she said no. Then later, she said 'Refund? Ok, wait.' *calls someone else* So, this guy came. And we repeated the story to him. Then he was like 'No la, you use the discount, definitely cheaper than without'. So I counted for him. And he didn't believe me. So he took out his calculator and said:

'If you use the discount *punches in $24.95, multiplied it by 2, stared at me for a while and the number $49.90, then clear the memory*' he continues 'if you use the discount' *repeats above procedure but somehow manages to do the 70% of $49.90 part* He repeats 'so if you use the discount you get this number (which was around $35 as I have previously counted for him). 'Then' he continues 'if you pay the promotional price for the 2 for $30 shirts, you have to pay...' *punches in $24.95 multiply by 2 for the third time in his speech, stares at the number*

I interrupted him of course and said 'If I buy the 2 for $30 shirts, I pay $30, right?'

He ignores me and continues punching numbers in his calculator.
Uh. Since when do 2-for-$30 shirts not cost $30?!
Thankfully, in the end, he decided to trust my maths, and refunded everything for me.
It was hilarious.
I should really continue my entry on Spain but... it involves a lot of thinking and recalling HAHA.
Well anyway, random shots from around Singapore :)

Shot 1: Chopin at the Singapore Botanic Garden. Was there to catch Alfred Hitchcock's North by Northwest. The weather was lovely and cool. Pity I went unprepared with nothing but a picnic mat. Had to stare longingly at the spread of food and drinks all around me...
Shot 2: My first trip to the railway station (after telling millions of visitors how to get there). So cool! Doesn't feel like Singapore at all. Makes me wanna take a train for the fun of it (And that is after telling millions of tourists that they might as well take a bus to KL since it's less hassle and takes a shorter time).
Shot 4: Tourists at Jellights. My only glimpse of the iLight Marina Bay installations :( I need to get rid of this bad habit. Of not going for things though I wanted to cos I couldn't find anyone to go with. I shall just MAKE time and just go for it by myself. I will. New new year resolution!
Shot 5: My mommy's birthday presents. Pink and brown theme this year! (Of course, I wrapped them all.)
Shot 6: Ochado pop egg milk tea. I love popping those pop eggs. (wish they had a nicer name though) And the tea is just as good as Koi. The price too. The location is a bit... It's at Chong Pang. Haha.

Shot 7: Haha. I'm obsessed.
Shot 8: My office table mess.
Hmm. Oh well. Was going to upload one more. But I think my laptop's protesting. So tada.
End of random post.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

'Stop thinking', she said. 'The more you think, the faster you cut your own throat. What is there to think about? It always ends up the same way. In your mind there is a bolted door. You have to work hard not to go near that door. Parties, lovers, career, charity, babies, who cares what it is, so long as you avoid the door. There are times, when I am on my own, fixing a drink, walking upstairs, when I see the door waiting for me. I have to stop myself pulling the bolt and turning the handle. Why? On the other side of the door is a mirror, and I will have to see myself. I'm not afraid of what I am. I'm afraid I will see what I am not.'

[Jeanette Winterson]

Sometimes I find quotes that mean so much to me at some point of my life.

Sometimes, they stay relevant. Sometimes, the words stay the same, but the meaning grows distant.
I need to revive my book of quotes.

Monday, November 08, 2010

So anyway, back to the FOOD folder.
Amusingly, Foodie 5 in my previous post isn't a pizza at all. It's the Fried Chicken Strips starter from Domino Pizza. The real pizza is hiding behind the chicken strips box. Look carefully.

So anyway - again- this post is about my attempt at truffle-making.
As usual, I have NO idea where I got the recipe from. And I'm not going to pretend I'm an expert at truffle-making. This post definitely is not going to pretend to be a recipe.

Step 1: Boil some water, and draw a heart from the bubbles at the bottom of the pot.
Step 2: While the water is boiling, chop up beautiful blocks of chocolate.
Step 3: Put the finely chopped chocolate in a bowl and put the bowl into the boiling water. Hot water bath. Stir gently throughout. This is when your room smells divine. In case you're wondering, the bowl doesn't actually say 'lakes' - I know it looks like it, but it actually says 'Cow makes milk'. It does.
Step 4: Rescue the melted chocolate from the water bath. (This is where it gets a bit vague) Put in some ingredients, like vanilla essence, butter and stuff, and stir gently into the cooling bowl of chocolate. This is false. Because I clearly remember melting the butter and mixing the vanilla in a pan over the hob. But anyway, let us proceed. When we're happy, we put the bowl into the fridge, taking it out to stir every... (now there is some complicated instructions involved here, like for the first hour every 20 mins, then for the next half hour every 10 mins, or something like that - all I recall doing is noting down the time, then calculating the times when I have to go open the fridge and stir the mixture). So, anyway, u get a hardening ganache. It's NOT supposed to be grainy. One of my batches turned out weird.
Step 5: When the ganache turns reasonably hard i.e. they stay in shape, roll them into little balls. My first attempt took the instructions quite literally. I put a spoonful of ganache on my hand and rolled and got ... messy hands. Thing is... ganache is still pretty soft and melts at low temperature. So I just used a cooled spoon to nudge them into shape and plop them on a piece of baking paper. These are... artistic spheres.
Step 6: Put the ganache into the fridge to harden again, in preparation for their ordeal later. Make melted chocolate again - step 1 to step 3. Don't mix any weird stuff in it this time. Just take it off the hob to cool till it's like still liquid but not so hot. This potentially requires a thermometer to judge the correct timing to do it properly but I didn't have a thermometer so... when it looks kinda okay, and the ganache in the fridge is solid hard, spear the ganache quickly and dip it quickly in the melted chocolate and rescue it before the ganache dissolves in the chocolate. This is tricky I know. Cos imagine... if the ganache can melt in your hands, they MELT in the melting chocolate real fast. Then quickly plop the coated ganache onto baking paper and shove it back in the fridge.
Step 7: Look at them cool. Oh yes. I sprinkled some cocoa powder (or maybe icing sugar - forgot which) for some colour.
Step 8: EAT.
Thin chocolate crust with soft ganache that melts instantaneously. Mmmm.
I really shouldn't be doing this when my laptop is so laggy.
In fact, I should be busy backing up all my files right now. But just as I was done with the first picture folder, I discovered the FOOD folder, and I don't think I've uploaded that before. So here goes :)

Foodie 1: Aubergines is my greatest love. Fried with sambal chilli and minced pork (which, due to its exceedingly low price, has become my staple meat in the UK).

Foodie 2: Black pepper beef noodles. This is very yummy too. Freshly ground black pepper. Some mysterious combination of black colour sauces like oyster sauce.
Foodie 3: Chicken fillet wrapped in Bacon for that juicy fattiness, and a sprinkling of parmesan cheese. Served with a few healthy slices of tomato. For no reason other than making me feel healthy.
Foodie 4: Dumplings. This deceptively simple looking piece of dough takes AGES to make, and mini-seconds to eat. The filling is awesomely yummy. Found an awesome recipe but forgot where. Something to do with chives, and rice wine, and soy sauce, sesame oil and the omnipresent minced pork. The dough is simply cold water plus flour. I tend to like my dumplings fried but then it was ultra messy and disastrous, since the dough skin simply split. After that experiment, I prefer to simply boil them. The tasty filling makes up for the blandness of boiled food.
Foodie 5: Domino pizza. My staple food during exam period, dissertation period, lazy periods :D Not Domino specifically, cos I'm partial towards Papa Johns too. Whoever has the better offer I guess. Marmaris does an awesome chicken and mushroom (not chicken and ham. can you believe i walked into a halal shop and asked for chicken and ham twice when it said very clearly 'chicken and mushroom' on the menu! *slaps* who does chicken and ham pizzas anyway) pizza. The-shop-on-Nicolson-Square-which-I-conveniently-forgot-the-name-of does an amazing forgot-the-name-of-the-pizza-too (what on earth x.x). Some minced lamb with chilli and onion and spice pizza. I've even done the pizza buffet at Pizza Hut on North Bridge. Not to mention Pizza Express, both the one at North Bridge and the one near Arthur's Seat. I've even tried... Tesco pizza. So there.
I have pictures of one more food in my FOOD folder. But I think they deserve a post of their own. So that's all for food now :)

Sunday, November 07, 2010

Finally, on Spain... my last Europe trip with friends :)
Disclaimer: This post is not about the attractions of Spain. It doesn't even come close.

Flying from Edinburgh to Barcelona Girona Airport, then taking the expensive airport shuttle bus (the only option available) to Barcelona Nord Bus Station. It was a beautiful day. Not a cloud in the blue, blue sky.

We got to our accomodation via the metro, then settled down for the night. The next day, we headed out to sightsee but got a bit lost. But we caught sight of a beautiful building. Dunno what it was, but it made the extra miles worth walking.

And (fortunately we took the wrong path) for what did we discover but a famous chocolateria, Escriba <3 The hot chocolate was heavenly. I had the hot chocolate with chilli. Mmmmm.

I took more photos on this detour than I did on our actual stay in Barcelona o.0 I couldn't resist. Check out this graffiti.

The next thing that caught my (camera's) attention was this sign warning vehicles that this was a school zone and to look out for children. Why are the children on the sign running as though they were escaping from something deadly? Says something about Spanish schools, doesn't it?
For our first main meal in Spain, I went for... the Hog Roast Burger at Hard Rock Cafe on Plaza Catalunia. Don't ask.
 My first attraction photo coming up! Guess where we went! FC Barcelona at Camp Nou. It was drizzling the whole time.
I stood at where I think they do interviews and stuff and took a photo (with my umbrella so I can remember the dismal weather o.o)
Their museum is definitely one of the most artistic football museums I've ever been to (the rest being only Old Trafford and Anfield).
I also sat in the commentator's box and tried screaming out stuff (without trying to embarrass my friends too much).

Check out their cool lamp-post. It's a football! (and Blogger is refusing to let me upload any more images)
 Maybe it's a sign. That I should go do other stuff. Instead of blogging. Though I'm not done with Barcelona. I haven't even come to... the main stuff like Sagrada Familia.
I have lived in Singapore for around two decades, but I'm still experiencing 'first's.
Could you guess what this is? Haha.

Artists creating the new exhibitions for the walkway from Citylink Mall towards the Esplanade :)
I've always seen the exhibitions but strangely enough, I never saw them being taken down and put up.
Well, there's always a first for everything :)

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

I'm listening to Ryan Shupe's Dream Big

When you cry, be sure to dry your eyes,
'Cause better days are sure to come.
And when you smile, be sure to smile wide,
And don't let them know that they have won.
And when you walk, walk with pride, 
And don't show the hurt inside,
Because the pain will soon be gone. 

And when you dream, dream big,
As big as the ocean, blue.
'Cause when you dream it might come true.
But when you dream, dream big. 

And when you laugh, be sure to laugh out loud,
'Cause it will carry all your cares away. 
And when you see, see the beauty all around and in yourself,
And it will help you feel okay. 
And when you pray, pray for strength to help to carry on,
But when the troubles come your way. 

And when you dream, dream big,
As big as the ocean, blue.
'Cause when you dream it might come true.
But when you dream, dream big. 

When you cry be sure to dry your eyes, 
cause better days are sure to come.
And when you smile be sure to smile wide, and
don't let them know that they have won.
And when you laugh be sure to laugh out loud,
'Cause it will carry all your cares away. 
And when you see, see the beauty all
around and in yourself, and it will help you feel okay. 
And when you pray, pray for strength to 
help to carry on when the troubles come your way. 


Monday, November 01, 2010

So irritated with myself.
Saw a book the other day. Can't remember the title. Can't remember the author's name x.x

But I was really inspired. It was written by a lady (I vaguely recall) who started jotting down little things that made her smile, or made her happy, in a little notebook. She collected them for like six years and published the collected words as a stream of consciousness chain (or however you describe it).
So anyway, I wanted to do the same.
But I'm annoyed I can't remember her name. Or the book's name! Grrrrr...