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BEATING THE MONDAY BLUES

2:56 PM, Monday, October 20, 2014


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I'm having a great start to the week with this supersized bowl of goodness. This was inspired by one of my favourite restaurants which serve really good rice/quinoa bowls (Kilo @ Pact) but the fact that I am 1) lazy to travel all the way out to have it 2) sometimes it's never enough 3) it's not cheap…. I decided to do it my way. 

I'm not sharing a recipe but basically how can make it your own. The one at Kilo offers it in shrimp tempura, seared salmon, pork belly and beef short ribs… all delicious. So really, a bowl like that is entirely up to you how you want make it, I love that it's a mini buffet spread in there. I wanted something a little different from regular quinoa so right after I cooked it in chicken stock, I tossed it in some pesto for an extra punch. You can use ready to eat pesto from the supermarket or homemade pesto. In my bowl, there is a pesto quinoa, grilled chicken breast, avocado, spinach, radish, feta, roasted pumpkin, mushrooms and a runny hard boiled egg. So start your day right with this delicious dish! So easy to make and so rewarding. 

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BREAKFAST AT ON LOK YUN

1:27 AM, Saturday, October 11, 2014


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Dress from Zara
Photos of me by Jordus Lim

Bangkok, truly is one of those cities that I've been lucky enough to visit countless of times that still never fails to surprise me with it's rustic charm. I love Thai culture, so intriguing, so old-fashioned and so full of life. I found out about On Lok Yun pretty late in the game through Ally and I can honestly say it's been one of my favourite experiences in the 12 years I've been to Bangkok. It was such a simple meal but one that I never will forget. The experience embraces everything about slow-living, just sitting down enjoying a simple meal of legitimately good breakfast thats toast, eggs and Thai iced tea. The star of it all was their coconut jam, or Kaya as we Singaporeans would know it. I was with a group of 3 other people and I wish someone could have documented the face of all of us the moment we picked up the white fluffy cubes of bread, dipped it into the heavenly Kaya and placed it into our mouths. And this coming from someone who doesn't even like breakfast food… I always find breakfast bread a waste of space in our bodies, like why have toast when you can have pasta?? You get the drift…

The hospitality in On Lok Yun was also commendable, we happened to be the only foreigners in the traditional old coffee shop but the guy who ran it was kind enough to translate to us the menu before he remembered they had an English menu. We were making such a scene in the shop, me with my camera busy snapping everything and everyone, and Jordus and his family affair with Instagram, asking so many questions about their magical Kaya and what else could we buy to take home with us. We had seconds for everything we ordered, the french toast was as sinful as it can get but it was nothing like I have ever tasted in a french toast.... TOO GOOD. The white fluffy bread cubes were so soft like eating clouds even just on it's own. Of course the Kaya is in it's own league.

I couldn't not share this experience even though a part of me really wanted to keep it as one of my new secret hideouts. On Lok Yun opened some time in the 1930s and the menu has remained almost exactly the same all these years selling traditional Thai-styled American breakfast so expect sausages, ham and eggs on top of the fare I've mentioned. There is nothing fancy about the place but so full of charm with it's generous hospitality of the lovely people who run it and the old school decor that has also remained the same since it opened. It's a little out of the way to come all the way here for such a simple meal but please do. The coffeeshop is located at 72 New Road, Wangburapha, Pra Nakorn District, Bangkok and is open daily from 5am to 4pm.

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MORNING ROUTINES

1:32 PM, Thursday, October 9, 2014


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Eat Plate Love Vintage teacup, Wisteriea Lace Bra

I am far from being a morning person with my late nights but I tend to try. It just doesn't feel great when you're waking up hours before the sun is about to set. I am the most productive when I get up early in the day…Here's my routine:

1. Drink fluids. I don't eat breakfast very much, so I try to always have a cup of tea, soy milk or just gulp down a glass of water. Always key to stay hydrated!

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If I'm up slightly later than noraml, closer to lunch time. I make a beauty smoothie. Usually depending on what I find in the fridge. This way, I skip lunch and just get a light snack in the afternoon. This is a lettuce, fig, apple, and banana smoothie. You can see some of my favourite recipes for smoothies here.


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If I do have breakfast, it's usually just yoghurt with fruit. Otheriwse, I'll have yoghurt mid-day after my smoothie, a few hours before dinner time.


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2. These days, I tend to start the day shooting something. Whether it is for Eat Plate Love, content I need to shoot for the blog or Instagram, or work related stuff.

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3. I then plan what to do for the rest of the day and also get to my emails. I find this really helps in getting me organized. If I'm cooking, I'll do some research on ingredients before heading out to the supermarket and then I'll spend the rest of the day cooking and eating. Otherwise, I try to get some reading done.

And that's how I start my day every other day! I've recently been addicted to Mind of a Chef so there's been a lot of cooking going on at home. What is your routine in the morning?



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IN TRANSIT

4:54 PM, Wednesday, October 8, 2014


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In case you must know, I don't have the best taste in music. I love singing corny lyrics out loud whenever I'm in a car, even alone in taxis, with my invisible microphone. A good Westlife hit always gets to me. And sometimes One Direction makes an appearance. Whatever it is, here is my playlist for when I'm in transit in the city, on roads or on trains. Bear with me, I'm trying to be cool here but yeah One Thing by One Direction is my favourite song to whip out my microphone and sing along to out loud.

Shooting Stars- Bag Raiders
I Wanna Go- Yuna
Danger in the Dancehall- Jesse Woods
One May Die So Lonely- JayMay
Long Walk to Never- JayMay
Vanessa- Grimes
Mushaboom- Fiest
If You Run- The Boxer Rebellion
Just A Boy- Angus & Julia Stone
One Day- Kodaline
High Hopes- Kodaline
Moment of Surrender- U2
1901- Phoenix
Tokyo- California Wives
One Thing- One Direction (Heh)
But If I Let You Go- Westlife (Heh)

Let me know your faves!



YUM WOON SEN

6:15 PM, Tuesday, October 7, 2014


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I made Yum Woon Sen yesterday for Ally over a nice indoor picnic we had in my room, of course on my signature carpet. It's a Thai glass noodle salad with meat and seafood that is deliciously light and refreshing. Nothing authnetic about my version, the real deal is fire in your mouth and sometimes I feel it's better to be able to actually taste the combination of ingredients together rather than allow the heat to overpower everything else.

Here's the recipe:


You will need: 
150g of Dried Glass Noodles (soaked in boiling water for 2 minutes and then strained)
300g of Shrimps, devined.
300g of Squid, sliced into rings. 
300g of Ground Pork
A handful of Corriander Leaves, roughly chopped
A handful of Cherry Tomatoes (sliced into half)
A handful of Salted Peanuts or Cashews
2 Garlic Cloves, minced
4 Tablespoons of Fish Sauce
4 Tablespoons of Lime Juice
2 Tablespoons of Sugar

Set aside the glass noodles in a mixing bowl together with the cherry tomatoes and corriander. In some boiling water, cook the shrimps and squid, followed by the pork. Set aside to cool.

To make the dressing- add the minced garlic to the fish sauce, sugar and lime juice in a box and mix. Add chillies if you like it spicy. Mix it according to your taste preferences. When the dressing is done, add the seafood and pork to the large mixing bowl with the noodles, tomatoes and corriander. Pour over the dressing and toss. Sprinkle the nuts over and serve. 


Enjoy!

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DEALING WITH POST-HOLIDAY BLUES

2:40 PM, Monday, October 6, 2014


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I think me going on holiday, or just travelling too much in general makes me depressed. I spent the past week since being back in Singapore, cooped up at home, in bed about 60% of the day..whining out loud, only leaving the house to run to the supermarket to buy food. Otherwise, you'd see me in the kitchen doing some crazy cooking. I've been obsessed with the cooking, always challenging myself to whip something every single day and I love it but I know this obsession is slowly going to become an unhealthy one. Post holday withdrawal symptons…..pfft!

I've suffered this enough times now and this has been the worst I've experienced. It CAN be a problem, so if you're reading this, and you are not alone. I thought I'd share some of my own tips on how to deal with it:

1. Lie about your return date. You NEED that time to adjust. It can be jet-lag or justy time to reflect on your travels, stay in and just be with yourself. I find myself isolating from the outside world the most when I return from travels and it can be depressing but I find comfort in cooking or reading a good book.

2. Even if you don't want to go out, out.. whenever you actually have a chance to get some fresh air. Do it. A friend invited me over to dinner this weekend at her place and it was so nice to just be surrounded by a small group people after a week of isolating. And the best part is, you still feel at home. Or invite friends over. You don't need to do this every day, but it's nice to just have some people around you or you'd really get depressed.

3. Document your travels. It can be blogging, vlogging, scrap-booking, major instagramming, get it all over and done with!

4. Start anew. Get your life at home together (Unpack your suitcase!) and start planning routines, schedules and slowly look into the new adventure you'd want to be a part of next. Make goals. We always come back from travels inspired with fresh new perspectives so making new goals when you're ready is a great way to just slowly get yourself back on track because it makes you start wanting to do things to make it all happen.

5. Exercise. Ok, this coming from me…. for someone who NEVER exercises. It's true. Ha, I mentioned it before, I exercise on average about once a year? And guess what, it's usually after a holiday. I love a good swim, relaxes my mind.

6. If you're still home alone, feeling a little under the weather- play the radio out loud, whip out your invisible microphone or grab a hair brush, sing out loud, dance like no tomorrow. Do whatever it takes to get your energy back, to make yourself happy and excited. Watch Sex & the City and laugh out loud while enjoying some bacon and shrimp pasta in bed. Talk to your dog. Bake and give treats to your friends. You will get by!

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These were taken on the first day I decided to head out, properly. Even though it was only to Church. And if you see me at Church, I hardly make the effort to dress up because these people have seen me my whole life. I'm always way too lazy. But even just heading to a simple dinner then to church and surrounding myself with familiarity helped. I enjoyed getting dressed the most- putting on something fancy like my new slips and my favourite fancy top immediately made me feel so much better about myself. It was like I am brand new again. So maybe the next tip I have is to play dress up at home rather than allow yourself to look like a drag in pjs all day.. pamper yourself with a manicure or face mask. Anything to feel good.  

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ALWAYS ON THE GO WITH THE ORDINARY CO.

11:56 PM, Tuesday, September 30, 2014


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Wearing Zara bustier, American Apparel riding pant, The Ordinary co. Crystal Lustre Bib & Genevieve rings

2014 has been a lot of flights and send-offs for me so it means plenty of time in airports. I've always believed that airports are one of the places you really do want to look good in (who knows who you might meet?!) and still feel comfortable at the same time in preparation for the flight ahead…so I almost always make an effort to dress up in light neutral coloured basics that will look good when paired with anything and are comfortable for the hours of travel that are awaiting me. But more on my travel tips and dressing for travel next time in a full proper guide which I'm currently working on!

I love that every wardrobe, especially one that's perfect for living out of a suitcase for weeks, is made up of a foundation of really good basics. Likewise for my flight from Copenhagen to London and London back to Singapore, you can see I chose to be really comfortable… (I can't tell you how good are those pants!) but I love being able to cheat a little at airports and spice things up a little with accessories. It would either be big chunky earrings and statement necklaces so this happened to be perfect for my time in the airports and transiting between Heathrow and Gatwick. I've mentioned it before how I used to be so intimidated by statement jewellery but they've slowly made a very subtle way into my wardrobe so it's been very nice having them around with me on the go. Apart from statement jewellery, I love stacking up very simple rings I collect over time these couldn't have been more perfect timing, I'm not kidding when I say they haven't left my fingers since I put them on weeks ago.

In addition to good basics, jewellery like these are perfect in this situation where I am literally having to mix and match my clothing and accessories out of a suitcase. They really go with everything! Especially black, which I find myself wearing a lot for Fall. 

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The ladies at the store have been generous enough to do a giveaway in collaboration with my blog turning 7 years old this month! So one Crystal Lustre Bib necklace is up for grabs and I'll be personally selecting who gets to have it. All you have to do is follow The Ordinary Co. On Facebook and Instagram (@THEORDINARYCO) and then email me (and if you'd like, give me any kind of feedback on this blog- I would really appreciate it!) and I will pick one lucky email by the end of the week! Good luck!

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HYGGE

3:46 AM, Sunday, September 28, 2014


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I spent the third leg of my adventure in Copenhagen after a hectic week in London. It was the PERFECT escape. I can't even describe how I feel about the city. It has actually been awhile since I've explored completely unfamilar territories, new country, new languages, new cultures.. I was so excited to finally make it to Denmark. My good friend Sam and I met in London and took a short 1.5 hour flight out to Copenhagen and spent a good 6 days in the city, absorbing everything it had to offer. 6 days is quite a long time to be in a small city like Copenhagen but I couldn't have done it in any other way. Simple to say, I loved it! I am drawn to Danish culture for many reasons- beautiful people, bike town, architecture that's consistently blowing my head off or leaving me in awe (the number of windows they manage to fit in one building amuses me) but one has stood out from the rest. 'Hygge'. I read a small bit about Danish culture before making the trip but leaving the rest of the research to be done when we got there but 'hygge' was something I was so curious about. It can be simply translated into 'coziness' but to me it's impossible to express. Bascially, I'd like to describe it as…my entire life. 'Hygge' is more of a feeling, an emotion and an expression. My entire time exploring Copenhagen, it was all I felt. Cozy. Warm. And fuzzy all over. It's the atmosphere that comes when one spends time with loved ones, with good food and company. Oh of course, not forgetting the candles. They love their candles. I absolutely loved that the Danes so warmly embrace hygge into their everyday lives and it was inspiring. I earlier mentioned that it describes my entire life- so many times have I tried creating these moments of hygge and am thankful for friends who appreciate the slow life, good food and conversations that last till the wee hours in the morning but the whole concept is something I have time and time again failed to comprehend. Why couldn't we have this back home? Why haven't I felt this anywhere else? And to tell the truth, I only have one friend in Copenhagen, Sam and I stayed at Airbnbs where we barely saw our hosts but the whole time I was in the city, hygge was everything I felt. Everything I had wanted to feel and everything I needed. 

Danes simply breathe and live in hygge, Copenhagen has it's own heartbeat, one that I now associate positive vibes, peace and happiness with. It's cheesy I know, but it's true. If there is anything I want to do, it's to run back to this amazing city, meet more people and throw dinner parties and experience the real hygge. There is so much more I've yet to see so I know a trip back is in order but we did manage to visit a couple of places you need to go if you ever visit. 

Paludan Bog Cafe
Extremely affordable and delicious cafe that's buzzing with students from all over the world and books. It's known as a University cafe and is right in the center of Copenhagen, a stone throw away from Norreport metro station. Try the brunch plates.

Fiolstræde 10, 1171 Copenhagen, Denmark 


Barburrito
Tiny bar, one that is easy to miss. Great tacos and burritos. Go for the veal in a taco or burrito, for sure a fiesta in your mouth. The plantaines with guacamole were something different from our usual tortilla chips but so, so good.

Skindergade 36, Copenhagen 1159, Denmark

Atelier September
Beautiful place for brunch, pastries and drinks a short walk from Nyhavn. One of those places you'd be busy snapping pictures all over because it's that cute. Loved the friendly staff.

Gothersgade 30 1123 Copenhagen Denmark

Kaffesalonen
This was one of my favourite meals, we sat by the water with a good view of the city but the cafe is tucked in a small neighbourhood. I rented one of their adorable Swan peddle boats and had a blast chasing the real swans and ducks in the lake. Go for the smoked salmon sandwich, their brunch plates, burgers and salads. Perfect way to spend a peaceful day. Yum..!

Peblinge Dossering 6, 2200 Copenhagen, Denmark

Torvehallerne Food Market
A vibrant urban farmers market that focuses on local and sustainable produce with over 60 stands of the freshest produce and food stalls for a quick bite. Loved the atmosphere and smørrebrød that is hard to miss.

Frederiksborggade 21, 1360 Copenhagen, Denmark

Copenhagen Street Food
An old warehouse by the water that's converted into a colourful and cheap street food market, focusing on local organic produce and their vendors. Stalls are in the forms of food trucks, shacks and wagons. We found this a rather enriching experience because you really get to see the locals getting creative with their dishes and of course their stalls. The food was of course delicious and definitely much more affordable than what you'd normally get in a cafe in the city. Sit out by the water facing the Opera House and Royal Playhouse.

Papirøen/ The Paper Island Warehouse 7 & 8
 Trangravsvej 14, 1436 Copenhagen

Hope you guys enjoyed the photo diary! I know it's a lot but there was simply too much I had to capture!





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