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I cooked my way through Christmas 2013.

Golly.

I’m having Christmas withdrawal symptoms. I miss hearing soothing & cherry Christmas carols everywhere I go, I’m DEFINITELY going to miss the fairy lights and wonderful decorations… and most of all, I will miss the copious amount of justified FEASTING!!!

This year, Christmas came and went just like that.

I remember thinking, “Oh, it’s going to be Christmas soon.” And now here we are, 5 days after Christmas, which has well and truly gone. Is this seriously going to be how life works from now on? That the older you get, the faster time flies? If only Christmas could be a whole week long. I know technically there are 12 days of Christmas but nobody really seems to care from the 26th of December onward.

I cooked a lot this Christmas. In fact, I cooked for and hosted three different groups of friends and family throughout the week. It was A LOT of action in the kitchen. I realized that most pictures I took were of me and the food I made!



Here’s an example of one.

I love seeing men in the kitchen.

French onion soup and creamy chicken / bacon / mushroom spaghetti…. washed down with Somersby!!!!

And this was another party.

Yina was 3 whole hours early for the party, so she took a lot of Behind The Scenes pictures while I was prepping the food for everyone! That’s me cutting up apples and other delicious ingredients for my holiday salad. It had grapes, apples, oranges, pistachios, blueberries, onions, cherry tomatoes and greens, topped it all off with an apple cider vinegar dressing.

Mushroom soup in the making!

 I love making soups, they’re so fuss free. For mushroom soup, I just sautee mushrooms with onions, add stock and milk / cream then turn on my blender. It has never failed me and tastes about a thousand times better than any canned stuff!

We made a new Canadian friend, Clifford, and he stayed over at our new place for a night before he had to fly off! We put his muscly arms to good use, he was BBQing away for a good whole hour! All this whole enthusiastically donning a Santa hat. What a guy.

Chicken satay is my favorite type : )

After 3-4 hours of cooking and prepping, my hungry guests arrived… And as any of my house guests would tell you, the highlight to visiting my place would be the FOOD. I absolutely love cooking, especially for people who appreciate it – and these people always do!!!

Shepherd’s pie, chicken wings (thanks Nich for marinating them and bringing them over!!), deviled eggs, holiday salad, chorizo pasta, mushroom soup, BBQ-ed satay / bacon and peanut butter nutella fudge cake.

Did I cook all of this? Hell yes I did! : D

Of course, with much needed help from my DFW & friends. It’s a lot of work, but seeing the look on people’s faces as they eat your food and sing high praises is well worth it. I’m a show off like that.

Sam & I before feasting…. You know what I hate???

 Cooking perfectly hot food then having it turn cold while I take picture. But how do I NOT take pictures of the food and before eating?! /blogger pains/

Da boys and my messy house background (which will be seen in a lot of today’s pics)

Had quite a bit of alcohol this Christmas… *hic* And so did this cheeky monkey!

Say cheeeeeeeeeeze everybodeh!

What it looks like at our dining table.
Every. Single. Time. #noshame #itsourjob #actuallywearejustobsessed

If you try to take a bite out of the food before all photos are taken, you would be EXECUTED.

I absolutely ♥ these wonderful people.

Thank you for all the boisterous laughter and joy you brought to my new home!!!!!!!

You people never fail to make my heart lighter, no matter what sort of rough time I’m going through, I always forget my troubles and worries when I’m with you. It was such a fun and cosy little home party and I couldn’t think of any other way I would rather spend X’mas. After eating, we all sat in my living room and started caroling together…. Which was really strange but awesome. We took a hilarious video of us singing All I Want For Christmas Is You by Mariah Carey (sooo many re-takes before we finally settled on one!) but it’s with Melissa at the moment!

THEY GOT ME A SURPRISE PRESENT TOO!!!!!!!

As I mentioned earlier, Yina arrived at house super early that day, much to my surprise, and she came with this huuuuuge box in tow. I was like “WHAT you got me a present?!!?!?” and she just smiled / smirk with raised eyebrows in typical Yina fashion…. LOL. Then she told me it was a combined gift from everyone and I was like awwwww.

I was so excited to open it because presents are extra special when you were totally NOT expecting one! For birthdays, you know you’re gonna get cool stuff, but for this X’mas dinner I told people they could brink drinks or otherwise come empty handed since I wasn’t planning to get any of them gifts either (just hosting the party and making food) but they got me a KICK ASS state of the art type of expensive microwave oven because I told Yina that mine was ruined, that very same afternoon. I was extremely upset when it happened,  it was damaged during a quarrel by accident, and I just ranted to Yina about my problems as usual… I never expected this thoughtful girl to rally everyone so last minute, and go out to Best Denki to buy it, carrying this massive thing to my house all by herself literally hours after I told her my microwave oven needed replacing.

Such an angel  ♥ ♥ ♥ :’) Thank you so much you crazy ass lovely people!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 

Well as it turns out, my microwave oven DIDN’T need replacing in the end (just needs a new part to be bought in order to fix it) and since the one they got me was pricey and brand new, I didn’t want to waste their money by having two microwave ovens in the house…. (my house is too small for that)

Thus, I exchanged and topped up the microwave oven for a new camera instead!

I felt pretty hesitant and bad about it at first, for thinking of exchanging a present, but my friends were so kind and encouraging about it, insisting that I get something I actually need and no matter what they’re still happy to have contributed to a gift for me. I was OVER THE MOON when I laid my hands on my new camera – it’s a camera I’ve been lusting over for quite some time now.

Used my first little blue box & gorgeous Christmas pressie (*squeals* ♥_♥ rose gold with diamonds!!!!) as a model for some test shots, and it took awhile to get a hang of the new cam… but once I did, I couldn’t stop clicking away!!!

Definitely my favorite tree ornament of all time.

More food I made – this time for X’mas Eve dinner with the family!

This is bruschetta with cherry tomatoes, garlic spread & portobello before it goes into the oven.

Calamari rings

And my brilliant spur-of-the-moment invention – salted egg crab linguine with shrimps & sundried tomatoes.

It had curry leaves and chilli and salted egg like the traditional recipe, then I turned it into a creamy sauce with some thickened cream and olive oil. How’s that for fusion food?! Turned out pretty freakin’ awesome if I do say so myself!!!!! If I had a restaurant I would so sell this. And I would not be surprised if some months or years from now, I see restaurants / cafes start producing this dish! It’s a food phenomenon waiting to happen. : P

I had so many people talking about the pie from the previous party that I had to make another batch after that! I cooked a total of X4 the amount you see in the picture above for each party and gave away trays of homemade pies as Christmas gifts as well.

My cute little potted Christmas plant from Ikea. Sitting on a table (and chairs) also from Ikea. What happens when a 21 year old girl goes furniture shopping for her new house? She gets Ikea furniture for everything. Lol. Some day I will be able to afford designer furniture. But today, I’m happy being able to afford my own rent. Life has gotten a lot tougher these few years.

This one I didn’t make, my mom bought : P

Even though my gran is deeply religiously Buddhist, I still wanted her to come for Christmas dinner because I believe this holiday is meant for everyone of all religions, races, ages and beliefs to come together and appreciate their loved ones.

 I got her a gold necklace, and her reaction was just adorable!

She tried to slip it on via the top of her head but obviously it was too small for that, hahaha!

My aunt curiously looking on as I put on the necklace for my grandma… I hope she likes it and will think of me whenever she wears / sees it! She’s the only grandparent I actually ever got to know and spend time with, so I make sure she knows that she’s special whenever I can.

It’s become some sort of tradition to get my mom something from Chanel for Christmas. And the look on her face is always the same. : ‘)

That’s all my cake decorating supplies at the back!


Other random pics of Christmassy affairs…

My Christmas Day was spent looking at baby bunnies early in the afternoon (I’m getting a new one. AAAGGHHH THE FLUFF OVERLOAD WAIT TILL YOU SEE HER PICTURES) and then heading over to Marina Bay Sands for dinner and a stayover!

We may not have snow, we may not have real Christmas trees… we didn’t even have Turkey, or a mistletoe. But that’s okay. I had my loved ones to spend this holiday with. That’s more than any present Santa could bring me.

Happy New Year to all of you.. sending my love!!

xoxo,
Jess

Bangkok Baby!

As a belated 21st Birthday gift, my mum took me (and my elder brother who shares the same birthday) on a trip to Bangkok. All our respective partners came along with, so it was a big gay family affair!

At first I wasn’t all THAT excited to go Bangkok. I was bound for Europe (that woman swore for my 21st she’d take me on my first trip to Europe) but because my brother is going to have a kid realllyyy soon early next year and doesn’t like to fly to places too far away, we settled for Bangkok in the end. She’s all like, “think for your korkor, for many years he will not be able to travel anymore when committed to a kid, this will be our last trip as a family for a long time” so that was that. At the risk of sounding like a spoilt brat….. Boo. I mean, sure I was excited as anyone would be before any sort of trip, but as I’d already been to Bangkok before, I was sure it wouldn’t blow me away again. Not like it really did the first time. The last trip I made there was merely 4 years ago or so, so how much could it have changed since then?

As it turns out…. Life has proven me wrong, once again

No matter how many times you read a book, you’ll always look at it from a different perspective. I concur that A LOT has changed about Bangkok. Or at least, who I am when I visited it both times!

I guess when I last came here at 16 years old, I didn’t realize what a buzzing urban city this was. All I can reallyy remember is my feet aching as I walked through chatuchak and strange little alley ways.

I didn’t have the spending power back then, that I now possess, so a lot of things were left undiscovered in my previous trip. Bangkok is both third world and first world all at once.

 Step into the malls and you’re surrounded by big labels such as Chanel, McQueen, Prada, and soo many other brands… take one step out of the mall and you’ll see sunken faced raggedy clothed people selling dubious looking food under the bridge in completely unsanitary conditions, making absolutely no money. It’s such a stark contrast.

What I do love about it: You have all these cute little artistic cafes everywhere, the food is AMAZING everywhere you go, everything’s so damn cheap and you can seriously buy everything in Bangkok… A dream for people who love cheap thrills, and people who enjoy roughing it out a little, but not too much. The down side to this place is despite how many tourists visit each year, it’s still not that safe (or clean). Traffic is absolutely shit, and everyone is trying to scam you.

 Glamorous luxury is not really what Bangkok is about, good food and cheap buys = where the money at. But still, despite it all, we managed to find a little piece of luxury and extravagance in the heart of Bangkok at Hua Chang Heritage Hotel.

Actually, all credits go to my mum for discovering this gem, I had no idea about it until she chose it.

And she could not have picked another hotel that screamed me more than this one!!!!! Picture spam of one of the prettiest hotels I’ve ever stayed in coming rigghtttt up!

The moment you step into the hotel, you know what the rest of it is going to be like.

Statement pieces of furniture boasting loud colors.

Quilted stuff & rhinestones everywhere (which I adore!) It’s fancy but remains relatively minimalist in other aspects. Modern and contemporary, don’t expect no wooden Traditional Thai vibes here. Everything in this hotel sparkles.

I LOVED IT.

I mean please, check out the dream of a room I stayed in for 4 awesome nights. Fit for a princess!

 The room was brightly lit, spacious, very clean, chic as hell (I don’t care if it’s too girly for a hotel room in general, it’s perfect to me!)

Grabbed this pic from my Instagram (@shiberty)

For the record, not a single part of this trip was sponsored. My opinions are completely my own! :) The service and experience at Hua Chang Heritage Hotel was always top notch, so I highly recommend this hotel if you’d like to indulge a little in Bangkok the next time you go. I know Bangkok is known for cost friendly accommodations all over the city, but just look at the pictures!!!! I believe I make a convincing salesperson! :P I reiterate my point with pictorial evidence, not just words.

I couldn’t resist taking a few (or a lot) of shots around this pretty place…

Don’t let the greenery fool you, it’s not quite as serene as it appears to be.

It IS Bangkok, and it is located right next to the Siam district (10 mins walk to major malls & train, fab location!) so how could it possibly be anywhere near quiet? The loud fountains try to drown out the noise of the traffic, but they’re no match to the massive amounts of zooming cars driving past the swimming pool. You can’t see them, but you can hear them right next to you. So I didn’t bother taking a dip in the pool, despite it being a pretty feature, the ambience just didn’t feel right. I spent every night in the glorious en-suite hot tub instead!

One of my favorite parts of the trip was waking up to a buffet breakfast everyday with my family.

How many of us get to wake up and enjoy a slow breakfast in the morning with the ones we love? They’re either not even there in the morning, or always rushing about…

Not that the hotel’s breakfast was an impressive spread (it was actually relatively disappointing compared to all the other yummies in Bangkok) but it was nice knowing I’d wake up to a gorgeous morning, fill my anticipating belly with food, mull over how to spend a long day ahead with my family, without any work interruptions or other stressful commitments. Just us, and the world to explore.

 That’s the great thing about any holiday, innit? You feel like a free soaring bird. You feel like your work doesn’t own you, and you own your life. That you’re ready for ADVENTURE. The older I get, the more I realize quality family time is extremely precious. I could go to Europe anytime I want to now that I’m financially independent, however, precious family time like this doesn’t come by too often and it doesn’t even matter where in the world we are, as long as we’re together.



Thank you for always giving me the best whenever you can. ♥ Trust me when I say you don’t know how much a difference parents make to your life, until you move out.

Bangkok was a great idea. I miss it already.

xoxo,
Jess

Gardens By The Bay

So I’m still nursing the open wound I acquired last week.

Much of my free time has been spent with the sheets draped over my head, deep in pessimistic thoughts. I really didn’t think the cut would be this deep…. I guess the blade was sharper than it seemed. Let’s just say I don’t deal with rejection very well. And lately, my self-confidence has been plummeted so far down I don’t know if I have any left. I pretend I’m dealing with it fine but really I’m confused and hurt as fuck inside. I completely screwed up my own chances so I’m finding it impossible to forgive myself. After the competition was over, it left me in a lot of self doubt. What the hell am I doing with my life? How did I let such a good opportunity slip? What is wrong with me? What is my calling in life? (*rolls eyes at this*) Am I lazy, undeserving or just untalented? 

I used to think that only bored-out-of-their-brains, directionless people had those of thoughts of uselessness. People who sit on their bums and never do anything with their lives. I never imagined that even with goals and hard work and sweat and tears, I could still fall short of my own expectations, and feel worthless of my own dreams.

Like I don’t deserve to be somebody, or anybody. I try to be realistic when it comes to ambition, but then again… ambitions aren’t supposed to be realistic, are they? They were created to challenge yourself, to prove the impossible to be do-able if only you have just the right amount and mix of talent, luck and determination. I feel stuck in the middle, torn apart by two different personalities inside of me. One’s telling me to dream big, and never lose sight of my passions and to work even harder to do what I’ve always wanted to do. Another is telling me, forget it… Just focus on cake making and making money, what else time do you have left to pursue other interests? You’re not that great, anyway. Who would watch you, follow your journey and wish for your success? Get over yourself. Get real. You’re not that special at the end of the day. You know how many other people out there who are better than you, and want it more than you do?

So those are just some of the thoughts going on in my brain that have resulted in a very heavy and imploding heart in my chest recently. I wish I could be contented with a simple life, doing simple things, being an absolutely normal but contented person. I have met people like that and they seem happy going about their daily routines with a happy family and loving partners. Make the money, save some of it, spend the rest of it. Plenty of people work in jobs that they don’t particularly enjoy but it makes them the money to pay off the bills and that’s good enough. Why do I have to SO STUBBORN and insist that my job has to be something I love doing at the same time? Can I just snap out of this idealistic daydream and find a normal job already? Stupid person who said, “If you have a job you love doing, you’ll never have to work a day in your life again.” lied to me. Often, the stress that comes together with turning your interest into business completely ruins the meaning of why you enjoyed your passion in the first place. It rips away the pure, true untainted interest that stemmed it all from the beginning, and in its place is hideous greed and a insatiable hunger for more benefits. Sometimes I hate myself for doing this to me, for commercializing everything I ever loved, to the point where I feel like I can no longer indulge in my favorite activities without stopping to think about the possibility of even more commercial gains. Shame on me.

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That aside, enough whiny relentless ranting…. here’s a complete change of mood – a happy picture log from when I visited Gardens By The Bay with the fam.  Even when I’m having the shittiest time in the whole wide world, nothing quite cheers me up like spending quality time with the people who matter the most.

I would love to continue wallowing in self-pity forever, but life still goes on!!!

…Right?

Right.

I don’t know why it took me so long to finally visit Gardens By The Bay even though I’ve stayed at Marina Bay Sands a lot of times since its opening… but I did finally pay it a visit and it was a very enjoyable two hours!

Ho hum. I’m just waiting for my rainbow after the storm to appear in my life. Damn you overused cliche internet quotes, you’d better not cheat my naive feelings a second time.

 

I will always be a mummy’s girl. But I’m sorry mum if I’ve disappointed you recently when I didn’t make it through. :( I know you wanted it for me as much as I did for myself.

That’s the last of my emo nonsense. On to the other topic of the day – Gardens By The Bay was actually very pleasant to visit, because both garden domes are air-conditioned!!!! It was like this massive cold temperature glass house garden in the middle of my scorching but beautiful city, crammed with as many random plants as you could fit in a dome and I’m afraid my pictures don’t do it sufficient justice. You have to see it in person to know what the fuss is about! I have had two Australian couple friends visit Singapore recently and this was very high on my recommended list of things to do, they absolutely loved the experience!

I would’ve liked taking my time to snap nicer photos but my parents can’t be bothered to wait around, so all of these were snap-and-go in order to keep up with their pace. Jesus those old people sure do walk fast!

I like how I could see the city skyline from inside the gardens, it was the perfect combination of nature and urban civilization! It reminded me of how I felt standing in the gorgeous King’s Park in Western Australia, overlooking Perth’s water and city buildings.

I loveeee being surrounded by greenery, flowers, plants and trees but I absolutely HATE insects. Normally they come hand in hand together but at Gardens By The Bay, I didn’t come across any mozzies or insects that bothered me… best of all, NO BUTTERFLIES!!!! YES!!!!! 
It was like a dream come true for me!
There are two domes at Gardens By The Bay, the first being Cloud Forest and the second is Flower Dome. Cloud Forest is rainforest themed with some futuristic elements, but I preferred the Flower Dome more for colorful frivolous reasons glaringly obvious in the following photos!
I admit, I’m an Instagram whore. I never stop taking pictures with my phone. 
On a side note, can I just comment on how much I love my jade bangle that was only $2 from Bali? Best buy ever! I’ve been wearing it a whole lot. I’ve been on a hunt for jade-lookalike accessories but it sure as hell isn’t easy to find. Other precious stones / crystals such as rose quartz have been catching on with the trends, but not so much for my good friend Jade.  My nearing-80-years-old grandmother even commented it was nice because well, grannies wear a lot of jade stuff hahaha. Clearly it’s not real jade but I have no problems with costume jewelry. They’re fun. I’m not that keen on buying real jade because they look a little too traditional… any girls know where to buy jade costume jewelry?! Let me know please! 
The perfect backdrop for photos :)
They’re so cute together. Any elderly couple that still hold hands when they walk together are cool shit in my books. 
Gardens By The Bay is the perfect place for a first date, I reckon! Imagine exchanging cute flirting back and forth while walking through these lush flowering gardens and sitting in these little pavilions basking in each others company… Ahh, young love. Or, old love works as well – even better!!!
Loved the short but sweet time I spent at Gardens By The Bay, it’s like escaping from the hustle and bustle of the city while being in the heart of the city itself… Singapore, how do you manage to outdo yourself with every new attraction? I’m so lucky to be living in this wonderful country and even though I still have this longing of wanting to live somewhere else in the world in the future, I’m glad I didn’t leave so soon for my university studies last year because there would’ve been so much that I’d missed here. 
The rest of the world can wait, for now. Singapore has my heart at the moment.
xoxo,
Jess

Christmas in Bali

Can you believe Christmas is over already?!

It went as quickly as it came. I don’t even know how my family and I ended up spending our Christmas in Bali. *scratches head*

When we were discussing Christmas plans, someone said something, someday, along the lines of “The Christmas atmosphere in Bali is great! There’s lots of white tourists here so there will be plenty of Christmas lights and atmosphere.” It would be fun, they said…. It would be a good place to spend Christmas, they said……. *shakes fist in the air*

All I felt was sweltering heat and intolerable humidity about three times worse than Singapore!! It was my first time there so I can’t say I wasn’t totally taken aback and surprised by how different it was from the way Bali is always portrayed in movies and in marketing advertisements. I thought it would be serene, peaceful, beautiful… On the contrary, people there were actually rather rude and rowdy, and the tourist area was anything but peaceful! To be fair, when we drove into the country side (at least an hour away from the city) it WAS a lot quieter and greener.. so maybe next time I visit, I’ll go stay around Ubud, to see “the real Bali”. I thought the touristy part of Bali (Kuta, Seminyak, Nusa Dua etc) would be like Phuket, boy was I wrong.. Phuket is in fact, a lot milder! Bali was really something else. A real eye opener. There was pretty much zero Christmassy atmosphere in the whole of Bali because most of the locals there at Hindus. People all around couldn’t even be bothered it was Christmas.

But that didn’t stop us from having a jolly good time! Having said all of this, the trip was still super fun and a great experience, despite being different from my expectations.

We spent our days stuffing our faces with traditional Balinese food and Western fine dining cuisine, doing massages and spa treatments, and shopped till we dropped. For the first time, I wasn’t snapping photos of every single thing I was doing when I was traveling. It was difficult to resist the urge, but I wanted to lay off my camera and phone as much as possible, to soak up all the precious time I had with my loved ones. It’s not everyday we get to bond overseas like this! Disconnect to connect, y’know?! Only really snapped pics when we visited the tourist hot spots like Ku De Ta, Potato Head, Tanah Lot… The rest, I only managed to take mental photos of, and they will be mine to keep.

When people talk about Bali, they will either mention the temples, food or beaches. However, my favorite thing about Bali happens to be the shopping. I never thought I would ever say this, but the shopping in Bali is COMPLETELY out of this world!! It definitely has the most amount of beautiful boutiques I have ever seen clustered together!!!! Streets after street of non-stop shopping is what you’ll find in the Seminyak area. I can’t believe I forgot to snap a picture of the shopping district to show y’all!!! I was too busy trying on clothes every second I spent there. I would go back to Bali again just to shop there until I’m broke. Bangkok, please step aside. The type of clothing you’ll find in Bali was a match made in heaven for a girl like me… summery, unique, bright colored stunning pieces from independent designers at decent to cheap prices (depending where you shop at). I came back with like 20 new pieces of pretty clothing – needless to say my bank account took a hit. But it was all worth it!!!! I can’t say “I’ve got nothing to wear” for at least another few more months now. :)

Most importantly, the best thing that happened in Bali was having the luxury of spending quality time with my family, creating unforgettable memories together. Food, presents and family is everything I love about Christmas and I’m glad I got to indulge in those things every day. I have so much to be thankful for this year. Thank you mummy & UJ for buying me so many pretty things to make me happy and also for taking me on this vacation for Christmas!! ♥

Here’s a photo diary of my vacation to Bali below!

Bali from the clouds. Takes about 3 hours to fly there from SG!

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Checking into our lush accommodation – Padma Resort!

 We’d originally booked a three room villa to stay in, but that turned out to be THE worst hotel experience I’ve had in my life. You won’t even believe how bad that was. That story will be for another post. Today’s post is meant to be a happy, carefree one. Thank god Padma Resort was top notch and made us feel so much better.

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Hello, Janice and Jeremy. My brother and his gf makes a rare appearance on my blog, lol.

Getting them to take pictures is really difficult. I had to lie to them that I wasn’t going to post them on my blog. Woops!

Our first dinner was alfresco dining at Warisan!

Crab, pomelo, avocado and tomato roulade

Red capcisum & lobster linguine

Lost count of the number of foie gras we ate in Bali. Working to lose weight now after all the festive feasting damage done over the past month!!!

Panna cotta is one of my all time favorite desserts!

Gorgeous set up, isn’t it? All the places we had dinner at were great. Bali is full of cafes & restaurants serving up good food at reasonable prices!

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Next day’s lunch next to a rice field.

Bali is so strange some times.

You get fancy boutiques selling designer clothes with each item costing at least $100 SGD and rightttt next to it you’ll find a rice paddy field. I guess that’s what people like about it – a commercialized place they can visit that still has its old cultural charms?

An hour’s drive out of the city into the countryside, we were surrounded by rice paddy fields stretching as far as the eye could see!!! Made for a very scenic drive indeed.

Thank you for taking care of me and being so nice throughout the trip! :) xx

Spot one of Bali’s most photogenic icons, Tanah Lot Temple behind me!!!

All those people (tiny figures in the background) standing at the base of the temple are crazyyy. They risk being drenched by crashing sea waves any time! In fact I saw a couple of people get really wet, with their DSLRs in hand. The whole area is covered with sea water when its high tide.

It looks so rustic and majestic, perched right at the water’s edge. I wish we could’ve gone in and taken a look around… but entrance to the temple is sacred, and reserved for local Balinese Hindus only!

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Best thing I bought that trip were these SGD $1 fans that kept me from dying.

Sunset seaside dining at Potato Head, which everyone says is the place to be seen and to be in Bali!

Crab cake with avocados and caramelized pineapples

Cajun prawns

Halfway through our meal, we ran out onto the beach to snap these mandatory sunset shots..

My ice cream on my creme brulee melted as a consequence but I reckon these shots are well worth it!!! I like runny ice cream anyway. :P

This was supposed to be “RAWR I BREATHE FIRE” kinda photo but I think I failed. I look like I’m letting out a ginormous burp.

The Balinese sunset in its full glory ♥

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Christmas dinner!!! Best meal of the trip award goes to Metis restaurant, hands down.

If you’re wondering why there are so many pictures of meal times and what else we were doing in Bali inbetween, you’d find us in changing rooms in boutiques or half asleep on massage beds.

Uh-huh more foie gras! I felt like a foie gras duck by the end of every meal.

My angus rib eye steak was melt-in-your-mouth-juices-bursting-with-every-bite kinda fantastic. It was so good, I almost wanted to cry. Really.

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The end of my rather brief photo diary! See you next time for shopping, Bali.

I hope everyone else had a wonderful Christmas with your family / friends as well!!! Happy New Year everyone! Wishing you all the mostest of love, luck, wealth and happiness.

 Love.

xoxo,
Jess

Chinese New Year 2012



I ♥ my family.

I may not spend a lot of time with them, but I cherish their presence whenever they’re around and I’m silently supporting everything they do. They have a special spot in my heart. Deep down inside I wish we would all meet up and hang out more often. But I understand that everyone has their own lives to lead. Everyone’s always so busy.

When I was growing up, mamma always drills this fact into my head: That if you don’t have family, then you have naught.

Chinese New Year used to be all about Ang Pao money and snacks to me as a kid.

Getting teased by my relatives for being chubby. Have my grades compared to my cousins. Watch my elder brother get hounded by aunties and uncles about getting married. And eating so much till I go into a food coma. Somewhere along the way I realized Chinese New Year is so much more than that.

…Things were different this year. I realized that I am 20 now. I realize that my younger cousins, whom I swore were only 8 years old just yesterday, are now teenagers and have grown up so fast.

As for the older ones, they just keep getting older. It breaks my heart to see my old aunties and uncle getting older and more frail. Especially my grandmother, because she is the only grandparent I am actually relatively close to. It makes me think about how some day they are going to be gone, and that Chinese New Year would be so quiet and different without them. In fact, I don’t see any point in celebrating it if they’re not around. They are all I know of family.

Every other year, I get annoyed by the same thing. By how all my Asian relatives talk in the top of their voices in the crudest language / dialect I have ever heard (Hokkien) and it sounds like a crazy market. They make such a ruckus, it makes my head explode. Then again I guess that’s how all old Asian people are. They have no normal speaking voice. It’s either not saying anything at all, or shouting at the top of their voice just to get their point across. This year, however, I enjoyed soaking up all that noise. I know I’ll miss it when I don’t get to be annoyed by it anymore.

That I’d rather a ruckus and being surrounded by kinship while it lasts, than loneliness. Being a kid on Chinese New Year is the best freakin’ thing ever. Just eat and eat and look cute and have relatives pinch your cheeks and stretch out your hand to receive your red packets filled. “Gong xi fa cai!” were the easiest words I’d ever uttered to receive free money.

Reunion dinner was at my uncle’s place. Everyone was dressed down so I didn’t think it was too polite to take pictures, thus this is all I have. It was so good though!!! Grandma’s cooking is the best. She makes my favorite dishes that I’ve grown up eating. The taste of familiarity is so comforting.

The next day, on Chu Yi itself, the celebration was at our place like always.

By 2pm my house was filled with people going “Xin nian kuai le!” and handshakes everywhere!

My CNY outfit!!! I wanted to buy this dress the moment I saw it in the store, but didn’t because of the price. I pondered over it for a few days but eventually forfeited the idea. Over lunch one day, I casually mentioned this dress I was eyeing to my mother. “I don’t have anything to wear for Chinese New Year!!! D:”

I didn’t expect that a few hours later, she’d go all the way down to the store in Orchard Road and buy it for me!!!! Thank you mummy ♥

Super yummeh steamboat that we have every year :D

Tang hoon, fresh veg, sotong balls, fish paste, sotong, pork liver, prawns, mushrooms & more!!!!

I don’t even eat steamboat outside but I can’t get enough of the ones we have at home because my mum makes the BEST soups and includes awesome ingredients that makes the soup tastier and tastier as minutes go by because it soaks up all the flavors from the raw ingredients.

My aunt and cousin, Ling Ling!

Wah she’s fast becoming so tall and pretty. She’s almost as tall as me (I’m about 1.7) and she is only like what, 12. I think she’s going to be taller than me next year!!!

I was halfway talking when Sam took this shot so I have the weirdest wry smile on my face. :3

A much better shot! After reviewing this shot on my camera, I noticed how the way I was holding the oranges looked like I was going “Oh hey! Take a look at my melons.” (or oranges in this case)

So I did a funny pose with my oranges over my boobs!!!! …But my cousin didn’t manage to take the right shot :(

I guess this means he wasn’t looking at my chest. Which is a good thing considering he is my cousin lol.

Googly eyes! Me & my cousin Shu Yuan who looked extra pretty that day :)

I’ve spent the most time with her out of all my cousins. Back in the day, my kindergarten was near her old house, so after school she’d come and pick me up and walk me home. Then I’d bug her endless;y to bring me to the playground, to fly a kite with me, to teach me how to play the piano because she was always good at everything….

I wonder if she still sees me as that lil kid or does she see me as a young woman now? It must be so weird. I sooo cannot envision my little cousins becoming women. That’s just… wrong. Lol. I know it’s just part of nature but I feel like it’s defying the laws of nature!!! I mean, how could my lil cuzzies not stay innocent, young and cute forever?! As you can tell recently I’m having serious trouble copying with the concept of growing up, growing old and change.

My handsome cousin and my cute grandmother who perpetually has her eyes closed in pictures hahaha

Proud moment for me and Sam when my cousin started talking about Shiberty’s Sweets and showed my relatives some of my cake designs on my website!!!

Everyone was singing praises and going, “Wah so talented!!! Wah go set up a shop!! So capable” and I just stood there beside them watching their reaction and beaming away. I think this is the first time they’d ever seen my designs properly coz I started this less than a year ago.

Ruiwen (the dude in the cool metallic purple shirt above above) told me he’d only recently found out about my cake designing, and wanted to order one for his girlfriend’s birthday. So out of curiosity, he asked 3 random friends (who were not my blog readers or anything) if they’ve heard about Shiberty’s Sweets. He said surprisingly all 3 of them knew who I was and what I did, one of them have even ordered from me before!!! He was very impressed.

Needless to say, I was very pleased.

Food, food, glorious food! What would Chinese New Year be without an abundance of food?!

Yu Sheng that Sam spontaneously brought home one day! I had never expected him to do that because 1) He’s not celebrating with his family, he didn’t need to go the extra mile, but he did. and 2) That’s just really sweet. 3) I didn’t even think of it myself.

He said, “Here, I bought this for your family on Chinese New Year, this will make your mum smile.”

GIRLS, DID I GET LUCKY OR WHAT????….

I actually lou hei-ed a long time ago, way before CNY even happened – at the start of 2012. Our family went to eat at Kam Boat’s newest outlet that recently opened and my mum ordered Yu Sheng for just the 6 of us. I was like, “You siao, Chinese New Year still got so long, why you so kia su order now??? Got few weeks leh!”

And mama said “I want to lou first!!! Take ALL the luck first, before other people get to it!!!!”

LOLOLOL.

Sam super cute lor. I wore Cheongsams the past few years, so he wore traditional outfits to match me.



CNY 2010

CNY 2011

…This year, I decided to wear white lace for a change.

He also chose to wear a white colored shirt. :P

You think you very cute ah, always wear matching?! Actually couples that wear matching outfits are quite sickening to look at. Guess we are one of them LOL

The lighting was sooooo good in my living room!!!! Shoulda taken more pictures!!!

Mum giving bro an ang pao as he recites lame four-word-prosperity-idioms in Chinese. I say it’s lame because his Chinese is as bad as mine. LOL I asked my mum, “Eh, wish you in English can a not?”

She laughed and said “can.”

So I wished her.. “Hope you win at MBS every time”, “Hope you stay forever young and beautiful and wrinkle-free”, “Hope you will be healthy and happy forever!!!”

…Alamak. *face palm* Next time before Chinese New Year, I’d go google some chim Chinese idioms and memorize + recite them over and over in my head, so my mother will be impressed.

Dunno what they saying here. But my mum is probably going “HOPE YOU PUT ON MORE WEIGHT” lol she never stops saying I’m too fat or that Janice is too skinny. Asian parents.. You can never please them.

Fat also cannot, skinny also cannot. “A” for exam also not good enough, must get A PLUS PLUS!!!! O.O



As evening approaches, everyone gathers around the TV watching Reign Of Assassins and Where Got Ghost?” together.

They especially enjoyed the second show, bursting into laughter every other minute. Asians + Superstition go together like Soda + Fries!

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Took some mandatory group pictures before everyone went home at night!!!!

I was singing “ALL THE SINGLE LADIES!!!! Oh oh oh oh oh oh~~~” and swaying my butt back and forth, as I was taking this shot of my aunties. Nobody giggled except Sam. I love that we have the same stupid sense of humor.

Everything is hilarious when you are us.

Handsome boys and the matriarch of them all!!!!

Not enough uncles to take group picture, so just throw in the cousins + my Vietnamese boyfriend who is not even blood related… LOL (that would be gross and illegal)

COUSINS!!! ^.^.. Though it’s not totally complete……


I miss you, Linda. Wish you could be here to see me grow up, to see what your little cousin has become. Wish we had the chance to grow up together and eat steamboat with the rest of the family and play ban luck and do silly things together. I will keep the memories we shared close to me and you live on in my heart. You were always so nice to me.
I hope that you are at peace wherever you are.

…And that was how I spent my Chinese New Year in 2012.

This is a random fact to end my blog post with.

I am no longer bitter about my family not being the type that celebrates Christmas. (I LOVE X’MAS. And always sulked because we’re not Christians so we don’t celebrate it much at all.)

Because I now acknowledge we have a different tradition of our own. And it’s just as good, and in some ways, even better. Who needs presents, when you can get straight out cash???

Lol I joke.

Us Chinese people have Chinese New Year, that one time of the year that will bring us all together, no matter what. Although I don’t really get why it’s called “Chinese New Year” or how it’s a New Year at all for Chinese… I am more than willing to tolerate the DONG DONG DONG QIANG music for a month everywhere I go, just to spend quality time with these people I care about.

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Oh yeah, P.S mandatory vain pictures before I go.

I hope your Chinese New Year was fabulous too!!!

Now the question is… how do I lose all that weight I’ve put on from stuffing my face the whole of past week?????

xoxo,
Jess
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