Saturday, June 28, 2014

La Marelle Café & Boutique

Sunday cafe hopping and Limei suggest visiting La Marelle Cafe near Haji Lane after looking at some of the photos and reviews online so we headed over for our Sunday brunch! The shop house itself was quite easy to spot because of the vibrant colours painted outside and a staircase led us to the cafe on the 2nd storey. Upon entering, all sorts of colours welcomed you. The walls are painted in blue, pink, red neon lights and paintings/ doodles all over the place (as you can see in the photos below) Like as if i entered a quirky place where they do fortune telling via those crystal orbs, LOLOL
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Brunch menu was quite simple but abit on the pricey side so the few of us ordered a dish each.
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Spicy Aglio Olio
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Spaghetti With Carbonara sauce
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I had their breakfast set which consist of one large croissant, 3 sausages, scrambled eggs and a side salad. The scrambled eggs were too mashed and it was served cold.  The sausages seem to be handmade with a little spice inside. Quite disappointed in the dish and it was on a pricey side for the quality and portion. Will i have it again? No, i won't.
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Overview of the 3 dishes and a cup of coffee. Presentation wise, it looks really good. Taste wise, you will have to judge it for yourself. I heard recently they did a revamp on their menu though. The thing about instagram nowadays is people now take a photo of their food and upload it before they actually taste it. Their followers will then have the first impression that the food is good based on the photo and decided to find one day and head down to visit the place. (i'm not just referring to cafes) Oh wells. Good presentation and good editing of food photos does get the likes right? HAHA

Monday, June 23, 2014

#OOTD no. 2: Lee Cooper Spring Summer 2014!

Like the title suggests, this is part 2 of my Lee Cooper #ootd! If you haven't read the first post, you can read it HERE. Basically i picked 3 outfits from Lee Cooper's Spring Summer 2014 collection at their newest outlet located at Orchard Gateway and i'll be sharing with you guys what i picked and matched them for my OOTD! (For whatever reason you have no idea what "OOTD" stands for, it means "Outfit of the day"! Last outfit i layered a shirt and paired it with the classic Lee Cooper denim jeans and this time, i decided to match something more casual and more suitable for our SG weather.
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For the bottom, I wanted to go with shorts as it would be more cooling for a hot day compared to wearing denim. There were a few colours to choose from and i went with Red at first but felt that it was a bit too loud and a darker colour would be easier to match with whatever top i will be picking. In the end i went with the safer choice - Blue ($59.90) :D
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Even though i want a casual look (and wanted to pick a simple Lee Cooper tee to match the shorts) This white shirt with the UK London flag print caught my eye and it was of a light material which is very suitable for our SG weather. Paired it with the shorts and i immediately love the "smart casual" combination! The shirt cost $89.90, Love the flag prints! :D
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My casual #ootd by Lee Cooper! What do you think?
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Find your nearest Lee Cooper Store at Queensway shopping Centre, Jurong Point or Orchard Gateway!
Lee Cooper Facebook | Instagram | Youtube

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Guide to planning a trip. #101

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Planning for a trip is never easy as there are a lot of things to factor in. Other than those sponsored trips i went for, i can proudly say that i've planned all my overseas itinerary single-handedly. Planning an itinerary really requires a lot of time and effort and i secretly hope that my future other half will be able to do the same as well (so i don't have to be the one planning all the time! LOL) Some people choose the easy way out which is to follow a tour group but i never liked the idea. Yes, it's much easier because you pay a one-time price and all you have to do is pack your luggage and report to the airport at the stated time and date, everything else like accommodation, transport is all settled. Then again, i've heard so many stories of people commenting that tour schedule are always so packed, you will have to wake up early in the morning, you don't get enough time to "enjoy" the stops and you have to move on due to time constraint. Wait, I thought the whole idea of going on an overseas trip was to get away from all the stress and just relax? Hmm...

Planning an itinerary is like a love hate relationship for me. I love to plan and research on the country that i'm going, at the same time, learn about them and finally decide on the places/ attractions that i want to visit. Till date, i've been to Korea 3 times but it was only till the recent trip (which i planned myself since the first 2 trip was sponsored and the itinerary was already dictated.) I then read and realised that on the Korean flag, 4 trigram surrounding the yin yang circle are all different and they each represent a different universal element! I was like SERIOUSLY. Did you know that?

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I thought it would be nice to pen (in this case, type) down my method of planning an itinerary from a scratch and share what are the things i take note of. Before any trip is being plan, the most important thing to do would be to set the date and duration of stay. Ask yourself - "How many days do i need to cover the places that i want to visit?" or like any other working adult like myself, the common question that we ask ourselves would be, "how many days can i afford to be away?" or "how many days of leave can or should i use?" Can't be helped, sometimes you just wished that you can strike a few million bucks from 4D or TOTO and probably don't have to work and travel for the rest of your life. LOLOL

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After you decide on the date and duration, it's time to book the air tickets! With budget airlines which flies almost anywhere now, you can save quite a lot on airfare! But of course, you must take into account that your flight might not be as comfortable compared to taking a economy airline and meals are not provided on board. It really depends on your personal threshold. Do you really need to pay $359 to take Cathay Pacific for a 3 hour flight to Bangkok when you can just pay $157 by Scoot? (the remaining money can be spent on hotel or shopping leh!) Well if you are rich and you don't mind the price, go ahead. With that said, it doesn't mean you should fly budget everywhere you go! Sometimes, economy airlines like SQ does have promotions too! (and budget airlines are not always that cheap, it really depends!) There was one time i was comparing airfares for a trip to BKK and Jetstar cost about $260 and Cathay Pacific was having a promo at just $280. For just $20 more you get to enjoy better seats, 20kg check in baggage and meals onboard, why not! The ultimate website that i would recommend everyone would be Skyscanner. Instead of going to each individual airline site to checkout their price, let skyscanner compare them for you on the spot. So much easier and convenient :D

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Next up would be your accommodation. There are a lot of hotel booking sites online like, trivago, but my personal favorite would be Agoda. Mainly because a lot of people from all over the country uses Agoda and you get to read about their experience and from there, you can decided on whether that particular hotel is to your preference. Then again, Agoda is not always the cheapest so do compare with other websites when you are free and sometimes, you can also check the MAIN hotel website and check for any promotions/ package that might be even cheaper! What is most important to me is that i can get a good night sleep with the basic amenities at a good price (best if there's good WIFI!) since most of the time you will be wandering outside and won't be back in the hotel till late. Oh ya, if you are not those die-die-must-stay-in-hotel type, you can always do your research for hostel or home-stay and surprisingly, you get to save quite a bit of money and at the same time, make new friends from all over the world!!!

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 Now that you got your flight settled, your accommodation settled, technically that's all you need to reach your destination and have a good stay. What you need now is to convert your SGD (or whatever country currency you are using) to the currency of the country that you are going to. It would be good to "monitor" the rates probably 2 weeks before you depart so that you know what's the market rate. Also, try to ask friends that just returned from their overseas trip on the rate they got. What i do is that, every time i pass by a money exchange, i will peek at their chart to see their current rates and make a mental note. After which, do a quick comparison and until you are satisfied with it, then do your exchange. Worse come to worse if you think it's still no good, just try your luck and bring your SGDs to the country and change, there won't be much difference, in fact it might be even better! I tried in both Thailand and Korea and i got better rates compared to my friends who exchange their money in Singapore! By the way, have you heard of the 5 best places to do money exchange in Singapore? Well, i'm not sure if they are still there but in no particular order:

#1: The Arcade at Raffles Place
#2: Lucky Plaza
#3: Mustafa Foreign Exchange
#4: People’s Park Complex Chinatown
#5: Parkway Parade


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There is always a certain reason why you would choose a certain country to visit. Take for example, Shopping for Bangkok. See the Eiffel tower with your very own eyes in Paris, try all the street food in Taiwan night market, secure a love lock on Nansam Tower in Seoul, skydiving at Gold coast and the list goes on and on. What's important when planning an itinerary would be to list down all the places that you would want to visit. Places of interest, places to have good food, places to shop and more. Read about them, digest, get an idea how to get there, know their opening hours, know how much the admission fee and all the information you need to know. Best if you can do up a table with all these details so that it becomes easier for you to take reference from. Print it out and bring it along for the trip, helps a lot!

An example of the table would be like this:
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If you need more ideas on where to go/ visit, i would highly recommend that you to read travelogues of bloggers just by simply google-ing keywords like "country" "travelogue" "blog" "itinerary" and a whole chunk of blogs will come out and if you want the more recent ones just include the year like "2014" in the search and the latest blog posts will surface first.

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Now that you got most of the things settled - Flight, Accommodation, Basic itinerary of where you want to go. It's time to think of how you will get to the places. Unless you are freakin' rich, you probably have to take their public transport so what i like to do is to print out a copy of the country's subway map and start labeling the places that i want to go based on the nearest subway station. Once you are done with labeling, you would have the whole overview of where you would need to travel and if you can find their official subway website that gives you an estimate duration of travel and fare, it would be even better. As a tourist, check if there's any special  train pass for unlimited rides. If the price seem reasonable (you will probably be taking the public transport frequently) get the unlimited pass! It would save the hassle of having to take note of your balance in your transport card and having to top it up every now and then. 麻烦.

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This is something most people will miss out or don't bother to check because they think that weather is gonna be super perfect as long as they are on a holiday. Then again, you can argue that the weather forecast is not 100% accurate because this type of things are acts of nature and uncontrollable but at least by checking the weather forecast the day before you depart, you can have an idea of how's the weather gonna be like throughout your trip. Now, let's take a look:
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If you initially plan to go to the themepark on Saturday, after looking at the weather forecast for the week, would you still choose to go on the Saturday as planned or would you adjust your itinerary so that the day you visit the themepark falls on Sunday, Monday or Tuesday instead? Well, i would rather not take the risk and probably swap the themepark day with another day which i would spend most of the time indoor. Like i said, the weather forecast is not 100% accurate and it really depends on yourself. If the forecast for every day is rainy, probably you will have to try your luck.

Unknowingly i have typed so much. Anyway the above are basically things i take note of and my considerations when planning a trip and the method has work so far! Took me about 3 nights to come up with this post and i hope it will help you in planning your next trip, good luck! I will probably be blogging about my Korea trip next so do look out for it! Meanwhile if you are bored and would like to read some travelogues, feel free to read all of mine at the side bar, LOL

Saturday, June 14, 2014

i-Fly Singapore: I believe i can fly!

I always had a phobia of height (but it gets a bit better as the years goes by) and i have always wondered how it feels like to sky dive. I ever thought of planning a trip to Australia and include sky dive into my itinerary but that's in the near future i guess. I've always heard about the indoor sky diving (iFly) at Sentosa but each flight session cost about $99 so it has never crossed my mind to go try it. A few months ago i was doing a churp churp advert on Kaplan and it requires me to think about what would i want to learn in 8 months so i immediately thought of Sky diving so i submitted this:
The churp advert got accepted and was published on my twitter feed. So i thought it was just like another any other tweet. Little did i expect that one month later, i received a notification on my twitter from Kaplan Singapore:
My mind was blank when i read this. Apparently i won their twitter contest, LOL

Not wanting to go alone so i immediately asked my clique of friends if any of them was secretly thinking of trying iFly but can't seem to find people to go with them and eventually i got Limei and Joyce to learn the basics of sky diving!
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Fast forward to our first lesson, we checked in 45 mins before the actual "flight" for a brief on the hand signals and such, plus a safety video and it was time to put on our flying gear and try out the actual thing! I have no idea why but i was quite scared initially. HAHAHHA I was like, "What if i can't seem to float" So pai seh because got people watching!
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Gear up area where we don the flight suit, put in the ear plugs and finally the helmet. All ready to go!
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I think i look quite ridiculous putting the goggles over my specs but i want to be able to see where i'm "flying" ma, and to lookout for the camera also (just in case i want to buy the photo!) LOLOLOL Should have wore my contacts instead...
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This is how the indoor wind tunnel looks like. (got this photo via google image, forget the link liao :|)

Each session consist of 2 flights and each flight last for about 2-3 mins i think. Unknowingly, i became the first to enter the wind tunnel -_- During the briefing sessions, we were taught the different hand signals so that the flight instructor can use it to instruct us to do actions like - Chin up. Legs bend, arch your body more etc. But i tell you, once you are inside, you WILL forget everything. All you would want to do is try to stay afloat and not fall to the bottom. Not so easy.
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#unofficial photos of us "flying" These are the better looking ones. The rest were... ugly. LOL
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Got a certificate for learning the basics of sky diving. With this certificate, flyers will get to skip the initial briefing and directly head to the gear up area to change and learn more advance sky diving techniques like doing flips and such! So exciting and scary at the same time! Sometimes i wonder this is how you would feel when doing the actual skydiving. Well, that's for me to find out in the near future! I would definitely share my experience next time! :D

Saturday, June 7, 2014

#CousinsBKK Day 3 & 4

It's already the month of June and i've yet to finish up my Day 3 and 4 of my #CousinsBKK trip that happened in April! As continued from the previous post (Read it HERE if you haven't!) Day 3 is technically the last full day we have in BKK and it's the day we headed to Chatuchak weekend market! Woke up early in the morning, skipped the hotel buffet breakfast (because it's not really very nice plus there are so many amazing street food just outside the hotel) and had a hearty good breakfast! Did i order another portion of the omelette egg rice that i mentioned in the previous post? YES, I DID! :D
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A total of 10 of us at BKK! I think this is the first time i ever traveled in such a big group, LOL

Chatuchak (also known as JJ Market) is not exactly near to main city and normally people would take cab over. I still remember the last time i took a tuk tuk to Chatuchak, my friends and i somehow fell in their trap and got led to several places before reaching Chatuchak after an hour (read about my experience HERE) Anyway, there is apparently another way which i thought was much better which is to take the train. It's cheap, fast and you don't have to be stuck in the jam. So the 10 of us took a train over and reached within 30 mins! Another good thing about taking the train is that when you alight from the station, the whole stretch of road leading to the market is already lined up with stalls (you can see from the photo below) and that's where your shopping begins! Just take note that the weather is SUPER hot! >.<
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Decided to split up the group because everyone is looking at different stuff so we set a time to gather and head back to the city. Eventually the few groups split up even further and soon i was shopping alone, LOL But i'm not complaining. HAHAHA The market is so HUGE that you probably won't get to meet up with the rest along the way. (but i met a few though.) The weather was so hot that i had to buy a drink (watermelon juice is the besttt!!!) every hour to quench my thirst. Oh ya, not forgetting to buy the all time favourite refreshing coconut ice cream with toppings along the way! :D

By the time we met up, everyone was carrying a few bags of loots so eventually we decided to take a cab back to the hotel before dinner. Had the same cheap and delicious street side zi char that we had on the first day (decided to try another stall!) After dinner, everyone had their own plans for the night so we split up and a few of us went over to...
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After you dessert cafe at Central World! Heard so much about the toast dessert there and friends who travel to BKK never fails to upload a photo of their dessert on FB or Instagram! It's finally my turn, MUAHAHHA Their most famous dessert would be the Shibuya Honey toast! I had the Ferrero Rocher toast and it was simply delicious! Very worth it :D
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Not wanting to head back to early, Don and i went to catch "Captain America" at their cinema while Jiaqi and Angie went to shop around and eventually went for foot massage (again, lol) It was my 2nd time watching a movie in BKK and i remember they will play this Thai King video before the movie and everyone had to stand up in a form of respect. On the way back to the hotel, we went to Mcdonalds and ordered their chicken meal and had it for supper! #fatdieus LOL

Woke up early the next day and decided to roam around the area on my own and came back with a few bags of stuff. Was walking around aimlessly and eventually i ended up in front of Platinum mall just across the road! Everyone had breakfast and went off to do some last minute shopping since our flight is in the evening. We had to check out the room early so we packed our luggage nicely the night before but guess what? Almost everyone came back with more stuff...
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In the end we had to open up our luggage unglam-ly at the hotel lobby and try to squeeze in all our new buys into the already maxed out luggage! The scene was damn epic, as if the whole lot of us were preparing our individual booth for a flea market sale at the lobby. HAHHAHAH Clever me (and joyce) bought another luggage to put our extra stuff. LOLOL
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Group selfie at the hotel lobby before we took a cab to the airport! #cousinsBKK
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That marks the end of our 10pax 4D3N #CousinsBKK trip!

Had a pretty memorable trip with the *Cousins, not forgetting Angie's Mango incident #hermangostory, the non-stop playing of "Pharrell Williams - Happy" on their national TV and even hearing it throughout the night because the room beside mine does not turn off their TV when they sleep and the walls are not sound proof (Thanks ah. Angie, Don and Joyce. LOL) The shopping times when the whole group of us suddenly gather in one small shop so that we can get more discount when we combine our purchases! The delicious food we had throughout the trip, can anyone of us forget that amazing crispy fried chicken we had on the last day before we depart for the airport?! That's all. Till the next trip.

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Cafe hopping: Lola's Cafe!

The first time i "visited" Lola''s cafe was at the beginning of the year during the after-CNY period, my cousins and i were thinking where to have brunch and couldn't make a reservation at Symmetry in time so i suggested Lola's since i've always wanted to visit it. When we arrived, we were told by the staff that the place was fully booked and it was not recommended for us to queue since brunch will not be available by the time we got a seat (est. queuing time was about 45 mins -_-) So we decided not to wait and i brought them to my all time favourite Pique Nique in town for brunch! :D

Recently i decided to try my luck again and visited Lola's cafe during a weekday evening. Can't believe i was told that my friend and i had to wait 45 mins for seats (again!) but they had a system to  notify you via phone once your table is ready so we roamed around that area until they called. Half the time we were nua-ing at the nearby bus stop. HAHAHA
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5 Simon Road Singapore 545893. Nearest MRT: Kovan. 5 min walk away from the station.
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First thing first i ordered a drink. Wanted a hot drink so i ordered a Hot chocolate ($5) thinking that i would get an instagram worthy art on it but it came in this glass bottle shown above. So disappointed, LOL The hot chocolate was REALLY thick and by the time i finished it, i thought i was going to get a sore throat the next day. A bit kua zhang, LOL
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Ordered the Nacho Cheese Fries ($8) to share because everyone who had it was raving about how good it is. I would say it's really not bad and the portion was huge. Generous amount of cheese and a little bit of spice. Good for a starter :D
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This is definitely one of the must order at Lola's - Honey and Paprika Crispy Wings (8 pcs for $9) The wings were fried till crispy golden brown, drizzled with honey and sprinkled with paprika. Definitely the highlight of the day. So worth it.
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Got the Bangers and Mash with sweet onion sauce ($8) for myself. Did not want to have the mains because i was afraid it would be too much with the 2 sides. The portion for the Bangers and Mash was just nice for me and definitely filling.
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Bacon and mushroom spaghetti with truffle cream sauce ($14) Not gonna comment much because i only had a mouthful.
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We only had a small table to the two of us and thank god we managed to fit everything on it. Really satisfying meal!
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After we finished all the food, i was thinking if should order a dessert since there was still room (there is always room for dessert, lol) Wanted to have something refreshing instead of chocolate-ty like the Nutella tart or brownie with ice cream (no thanks to the gao gao hot chocolate) so i decided on having the Lemon Meringue Tart ($4) which was really refreshing and worth it at just 4 bucks! The lemon was zesty and not too sour and the meringue was not too sweet. What a great combi and not forgetting this crunchy lemon peel placed on top! Really surprised at how good it was!!! :D

Overall it was a really good dinner (super full!) I think i will go back one day to try out their brunch menu and other desserts. Another good thing about this cafe is, all the prices are nett price, no GST! What you see is what you pay!

Opening Hours:
Tue: 15:00 - 23:00
Wed - Thu: 10:00 - 23:00
Fri - Sat: 10:00 - 00:00
Sun: 10:00 - 23:00
Closed: Mon