December 31, 2011

Goodbye 2011, Hello 2012!

Aside from the final Alphabet Date for the year, we also met Joanne and Ray today for breakfast at KFC East Coast and to exchange Xmas pressies. Thereafter, Sasha snoozed while Nat and Ray played on the beach. Ray showed off his skate scooter skills, he's much better than Nat!

Ben and Wendy came to pick the girls for an airport outing so we could complete Z, and in the evening, we all went over to the folks house for dinner before coming home to put the girls to bed.

Only 7 minutes left until 2012, how another year has just flown!

Kids are all asleep, only me and Nick are awake at home and for yet another year, we will be having a quiet countdown in the comfort of home.

Gosh, time really does fly, the years are just flashing by and before I know it, the kids will be all grown up and married! Nat will be 4 in a month, Sasha will be 2 soon... people are trying to get us to have a Dragon baby but no way, I ain't popping out a watermelon anytime next year or the year after but ask me again in 2013.

It's been a good year travel-wise. My wish last year for more travel was granted, starting with the almost-free holiday to the Maldives, a day trip to Johor before the railway station closed for good, 10 days in Italy with Ma which was exasperating yet unforgettable - we saw Lady Gaga up close, a family holiday to Bintan and then work trips to Tokyo, Jeju (twice!) and Hong Kong.

Since the wish came true, I would like for a similar number of trips next year but I think that would be too much time away from the kids. For sure I know we should be going somewhere during the March holidays, and Nick has promised a quick getaway for our anniversary, we may not end up in Penang.

He switched brands to Trafalgar in the second half of this year, and a trip to Europe is on the cards in the name of research for him and I'm keeping fingers crossed it materializes because then I get to go. I also hope I can tag along if he goes to India again. Am counting on all these personal trips because work-wise I don't think I will travel as much once we replace the headcount in North Asia.

It's been a good work year, my boss is cool and we work well together. Have new cubicle neighbours who banter and bitch and they are quite funny, some eye candy moved into the office etc.

Hopefully the kids fall sick less in 2012, for their sake and for mine, because Nick can really be a grouch when they're ill which is no fun for me. But I think he is lightening up, at least I hope so! He's been pretty sweet and patient the last couple of weeks but I guess it's because he was on leave and more relaxed, plus they were not sick to stress him out.

He has been kind enough to humour me with our Alphabet Dates and we're set to continue next year...I'll even let him plan some of them!

I got to vote this year, not in the General Elections where Tanjong Pagar was a walkover, but in the Presidential Elections. The political landscape is changing in Singapore, people are getting more vocal and openly critical of the government and on their part they seem eager to improve and win back the people.

Every year I make similar resolutions, which always end up broken i.e. lose weight, shop less, save more, drink water and 2012 will be no different. I shall endeavor to cook regularly and be more hands-on with the kids...Wendy will be leaving in April and am sure there'll be separation issues.

Ooh, it's past midnight and the fireworks are starting! Luckily we get to enjoy the displays on Sentosa and Mt Faber. Happy new year everyone and may all your wishes come true in 2012!

Z is for...

...Zion Road.

We did it! We made it to Z before 2011 ran out! I had a fancy option for Z thinking we could end the year on a high but the boy opted for good 'ole hawker fare. Not that we could eat much after a KFC breakfast barely 2 hours before.

Ben and Wendy took the kids off our hands and brought them to the airport while we made our way to Zion Road from East Coast.

Couldn't decide what to eat and we ended up ordering from the same stall, old-school prawn mee that was just $2.50 for a small bowl. He had sugarcane lemon juice and I had soursop with lemon, real refreshing after the heat of the beach.

We parked at Great World so before leaving, I popped in the Zara sale (another Z!) and then we went to Cold Storage to get stuff.

I'm so glad we completed A-Z, nothing like setting a goal and accomplishing it. Though there was some delay and it was hard to commit to fortnightly, we started what we finished and next year is a whole new cycle. Might change things up a bit and do the alphabets randomly, see how. Any suggestions?

December 29, 2011

Puni's Princess

I got an SMS last night from Puni announcing that she had delivered the baby and I couldn't resist popping by the hospital to get a look at the munchkin!

She was indisposed when I arrived and I waited outside the ward with a whole gang of her relatives, there must have been at least 15 of them!

I managed to get the lowdown on the gory birth details, she had to have an emergency C-section after the baby's heart stopped for a bit, apparently she was pressing down on her own umbilical cord, cutting off blood supply so the doc didn't waste any time.

Thankfully the bubba is healthy and well, no name as yet until the stars are consulted to see what alphabet suits her. Date and time of birth is officially 28 Dec 2011 at 7.38pm...congrats Puni, Siva and big brother Nik!

After KKH, I rushed down to meet Desmond, Michael and Jeannie for dinner at PS Cafe, Ann Siang Hill. Last gathering for the year and we had a good meal.

I ordered a crab tart, it was full of crabmeat, thought I could have done without some of the cartilage. At $29, it's a pricey tart but at least there's quite a bit of crab.

Michael had a steak sandwich which he claimed was really good, Desmond's cod and Jeannie's prawn pasta looked promising too...I think I have to go back and try more of the menu. For dessert we shared a decadent chocolate cake and a sticky date pudding which was really moist and yummy with the side of ice cream. Oh and we learned something new about Michael, he's OCD about hygiene!

After dinner we adjourned to Ying Yang at Club Hotel for one drink before calling it a night. Nick is away in Taipei and the dopes kindly babysat for me.

December 28, 2011

MV Logos Hope

The world's largest floating bookstore, MV Logos Hope called into Singapore a couple of weeks ago and departs very soon so Ma wanted to pay a visit today.

After the girls' dinner, we carted them by bus to Vivo and boarded the vessel docked along the promenade. Nat was excited to board a ship and we bought quite a number of books, all in the name of charity. The prices were very reasonable, they go by units because they sail all around the world, and 100 units was 4 SGD. I spent a lot of units!

The adults had dinner at the Asian Kitchen thereafter and the dopes came to pick us up, Swana is driving Pierre in Nick's absence. Before we left though, we bought some groceries from Giant, and picked up 3 monkeys for our trolley!

December 27, 2011

Y is for...

...Yong Tau Fu.

As you can tell, I am in a mad rush to complete the Alphabet Dates before the year runs out and we just did Y today. 25 down, 1 to go!

Since the boy has been clearing leave, we have been clearing the backlog and drove all the way to Upper Thomson to have Ampang Yong Tau Fu. It's been ages since we'd been and it was his preferred choice over all the other Y options.

For 2 persons with wonton soup and drinks, it only cost us $11.30. We had extra tau kee in place of bittergourd and while it still tasted good, the gravy was a bit salty.

After lunch, I popped by Great World for a bit to pick up some ingredients for the quiche I made for dinner whilst he attempted a car wash. Alas it rained and he was thwarted.

The dopes came over for dinner and we had a bacon, zucchini and mushroom quiche with canned minestrone and a side salad. I think nothing beats bacon in a quiche!

December 26, 2011

Pressie time!

Today was Boxing Day and the girls were finally allowed to open their Christmas presents. They were very busy during breakfast, tearing open wrappers and inspecting the goods in their matching H&M nighties.

Nat's present from us was a Cookie Monster Play-Doh set which she picked out herself a few weeks ago (and helped wrap!), while Sasha received a little tricycle which Nick had to assemble first.

Nat then helped to guide her little sister on the new bike, so sweet.

Headed over to Membina for lunch, where more presents awaited them and then while the girls napped, Nick and I went out for a test drive before returning to Membina for a tapau-ed dinner.

December 25, 2011

Christmas 2011

If I thought last year's Christmas was quiet, this year was practically mute! Not that I'm complaining, sometimes it's nice to just chill and lay low.

We had Christmas eve dinner at Amah's house last night, Nick had requested for steamboat...such a Chinaman! But his wish was granted, maybe we'll have turkey for CNY reunion dinner! Aunty Lillian and Aunty Darrell joined in and we were quite stuffed by the end of the night.

The next door neighbour gave some clips to the girls, they are a family from India and have a little girl named Maji who is in between Nat and Sasha's ages. She's very friendly and cute and we gave her a little Xmas pressie in return.

After the kids slept, Nick and I exchanged our cards at midnight and opened our respective pressies. Funnily enough, our messages to each other were quite's been an up and down year, of course more good than bad but it's been a challenge trying to juggle work, the kids, their health, managing a household whilst maintaining a personal life AND a romantic life that sometimes we take each other for granted and I felt neglected at times, especially when he dragged his feet for our Alphabet Dates.

The kids frequent sicknesses in the second half of the year didn't help - tempers were frayed, snappish comments made, conflicting instructions led to some disagreements...we never used to argue till the kids came along! I know it won't be the end of it, we have very different styles when it comes to their rehabilitation but hopefully they fall sick less next year!

But at the end of the day, we know where we stand with each other and it's all good. I was pleasantly surprised with the gift he got me, a 3D/2N getaway to Penang for our anniversary next year, he actually made a reservation with a travel agent. Much better than the water dispenser I got last year! LOL!

I got him my traditional 3 pressies - a Ralph Lauren sweater vest, 'Don't Sweat the Small Stuff' book and a Burberry tie I picked up in Hong Kong.

This morning we attended mass at Christ the King with Mildred, Ben and Wendy. Then popped by Amah's to feed the kids and eat some leftover steamboat before heading over to Applebee's for lunch proper with the Dopes, Ma and Aunty Ros, who's down from Malacca.

Nat and Gigi entertained with a 'popcorn' dance after I bought some from Candy Empire. Couldn't really eat lunch in peace, Sasha didn't sit still and Wendy was off but from the little I had, I found most dishes salty.

At night we had dinner with the Gomezs at Toh Yi. Nat and Gigi entertained again, dancing to You Tube videos on Ann's computer...Nat loves the Heineken ad song 'Golden Age' by The Asteroids Galaxy Tour and showed off how she dances to it. Aunty Diana made my favourite fish cutlets - I need to learn how to make them!

And that was how we spent Christmas this year. Quiet eh?

December 24, 2011

X is for ...

...Xmas eve lunch @ Xi Yan.

Xi Yan is one of those places I've been meaning to try since they opened but never got down to checking them off my list, till today. I think they've been around for at least 6-7 years, first heard about them back in SingTel where one of the directors was always raving about them.

It's a private dining restaurant at Craig Road so reservations are a must, as they need advance notice to prepare your selected menu. I made the reservation only a couple of days in ahead and was given the week's menu to pre-select my mains.

I knew it being a Saturday, the place wouldn't be crowded but I didn't anticipate being the only diners! I think they cater to the business lunch and dinner crowd mainly so weekends are not profitable.

But that meant that service was attentive and we had the whole restaurant to ourselves. There was a personalised menu awaiting us at the table, that was a nice touch plus the waiter would explain the dish and ingredients each time he brought a course out.

We kick-started with cherry tomatoes soaked in organic apple cider vinegar. The tomatoes were juicy and sweet but slightly tart with the cider, and they did a good job of whetting our appetites along with the sugarcane jelly accompanying the dish.

Next up was an angel hair tofu and mushroom soup. The silken tofu was hand-cut into fine shreds, they were thinner than mee-sua! The base was chicken stock and the soup was the perfect starter for a cold and rainy was pouring outside while we were snug and warm inside listening to Chinese jazz and Christmas-y tunes.

Stir-fried prawns with salted egg yolk was next, am a sucker for anything coated with salted egg yolk and the prawns didn't disappoint. They were crunchy and buttery and I licked every last drop of gravy. The prawns were served together with a black truffle and Chinese ham fried rice. The truffle taste was subtle but evident, Nick thought it was good fried rice.

Last main was an oolong tea smoked chicken with mango salsa. Another fine dish with the subtle flavours of the imparted oolong, coffee and rock sugar and I think lychee that the chicken was smoked with. The skin was crispy and the meat tender, couldn't ask for more.

For dessert, the waiter brought out a whole lychee ice cream log cake. For a moment I thought they were serving us the whole thing, but it was just for presentation and photography's sake, he noticed I had been snapping pictures and brought the whole cake out for me to take a picture before he cut us some slices. How thoughtful.

The meringue cream around the lychee ice cream was too sweet for me, so I only ate the ice cream bits but Nick ate most of his.

Overall, it was thoroughly satisfying meal, at $48++ per person, I think it was worth it based on the exclusivity and service, and the food was good too. Finally a place that Nick actually enjoyed and approved of, will regularly check their website for updated menus and go again when I see dishes I want to try!

After lunch, we popped by Alexandra car showrooms for a bit, taking a peep at Volkswagen and Peugeot. COE prices are really high but the boy is in the mood for a change, was this close to buying a Volvo S60 earlier in the week but the COE exceeded his maximum budget by a little bit and the deal fell through. But change is imminent, I will miss Pierre!

Bird poo poo

Need to buy 4-D asap! Me and Nick got pooped on by birds in the middle of Orchard Road at midnight, just as we were on our way to Orchard Cineleisure after tapau-ing burgers at Heeren!

I got some on the back of my cardigan plus my hair, and he got some on his hair and the subsequent dash to the loo to clean up made us late for our movie "New Year's Eve". Silly birds, why were they up so late? Thank goodness my bag didn't kena!

Today was the start of my leave, no work till next Friday, woo-hoo! We brought the kids to Orchard in the morning for last minute shopping at Tangs and ended up at Ion's Fish & Co for lunch.

Joanne was having a pre-Christmas party in the evening but Ray had been diagnosed with HFMD earlier in the week and Nick being Nick, opted out to be on the safe side for the sake of the girls' health. We ended up eating leftovers from his office Christmas party that he attended in the afternoon. Sorry Jo and Ray, see you another day!

December 22, 2011

W is for...

...Wah Kee Big Prawn Noodles.

This stall is supposedly home of Singapore's best prawn mee according to the I Eat, I Shoot, I Post blog and ever since reading about them, I've been wanting to try. Had to recover from my bout of flu from last week though, else I wouldn't be able to taste anything! Was so sick, missed a whole week of work, and coughed up blood too.

The boy picked me up from work and duly drove to Pek Kio Market near Kent Road. He started queuing immediately, it didn't seem that long, only 5-6 people deep it but still took a good 20 mins till we got our food.

The old couple dishes them out slowly, and it didn't help that just before Nick's turn, some young boy was allowed to cut queue and order 5 bowls...think he knew the aunty behind the counter! I could almost see the steam coming out from Nick's ears! LOL!

Anyway, the chor bee hoon I had was very fine, thinner than the usual chor bee hoon. The soup was quite flavourful, I would call it power stock. It was sweet, almost buttery with a dash of spice and tiny bits of lard and I finished all my soup. The prawns were fresh and succulent, however I could still get a bit of freshwater taste as if they were not boiled in stock so I didn't quite like that fishy taste.

Overall, it was a pretty darn good bowl of prawn mee, though my boy begs to differ...he was not impressed, the queuing left a sour taste in his mouth but he did it anyway...he says only for me! Awww...