Picnic

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Picnic! No I’m not referring to the fun little activity with your friends or family on a sunny afternoon, it’s the name of a place in Wisma Atria, Singapore. It’s hard to describe the place because it isn’t quite a restaurant, or a fast food outlet, it’s more of an upscale food court (think: Marche). It screams hipster instagram vibes, and admittedly, the place does photograph well. So well that I only took pictures of the decor and stalls, rather than the food itself (see: photographs above).

We ordered a total of 4 mains and a side of truffle fries to share. I believe the mains were a sour cream and bacon bits rosti, black pork belly claypot rice, seafood pasta, and a prata taco. I may have gotten some minute details wrong but this is the gist of it. The food was bomb diggity, another reason why we did not take photos was that we were starving and cleared the food pretty fast.

With that said, I would not recommend it, if you are really hungry or have a large appetite, simply because the portions are quite small and pricey. We paid a total of $84 for the above. So if you want to satisfy your cravings, you might have to order more and pay a lot. It’s slightly more expensive than Marche, so if you really want the whole experience of getting food from different stalls, I think it might be better to visit Marche.

On the other hand, I would suggest visiting picnic at least once, because it was a fun gastronomical adventure, and has great ambience. We went there to celebrate a friend’s birthday, and it’s a nice place to treat yourself or others. Also, if you go with a large group of friends who have small to moderate appetites, you can split the costs among more people.

Well, that’s it for this installment of gud fud so I’ll see you in the next one 🙂 Happy eating!

 

Disclaimer: photos in the post are property of emptycokebottles.wordpress.com

                      featured image in the cover of this post was not taken by me, it is property of:

http://sg.asia-city.com/restaurants/news/new-food-enclave-adapts-four-seasons-has-just-arrived-orchard 

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Pocoloco!

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Pocoloco is a casual restaurant that sells Italian foods at really good prices. I discovered it while scrolling through facebook, as one does, and jumped at the chance to eat lunch there the next day. It was good, exactly what I had wanted; although, I would have liked the spicy pasta (second picture) to be more spicy. I didn’t take a picture of the panna cotta that we had for dessert but it was delicious and a sizeable portion. For the whole meal, it cost about $40, which may be quite expensive, but we bought 3 mains and a dessert so I think overall quite affordable. I don’t quite remember the whole menu, but I’ll take a picture the next time I’m there, which won’t be too long more.

They have 3 outlets in Singapore- 408 Ang Mo Kio Ave 10, Jurong Snow City Level 2, and Golden Mile Tower. The latter is a pizzeria and I haven’t checked that out yet, but it should be good. The ambience may not be the best, but it’s good food and that’s all that really matters to me. 8/10 would recommend 🙂

Disclaimer: photographs in the post are property of emptycokebottles.wordpress.com

                      featured photograph is not mine; it was taken from           https://pocoloco.com.sg/pocoloco-a-modest-italian-restaurant-in-ang-mo-kio-that-serves-delicious-food-at-insanely-low-prices/ 

 

 

 

 

 

Pretty days

Ever since I have owned a phone that had great outdoor picture quality, I’ve really taken to whipping it out whenever I see a gorgeous bunch of plants, trees, clouds- you know the kind, with the light beaming down on Mother Nature to display her in all her glory. Anyway, the aforementioned phone was the Sony Xperia C3; it is great for taking photos outdoors because it captures natural lighting really well (I don’t know the mechanisms of it but I’m grateful for it), but if you zoom into the pictures, you’ll see that they are pixelated and not of high quality. They do look great at first glance though.

Since February, I’ve had the Samsung Galaxy A5 (2017). It had just been released in January so it is a phone that is modern, chic, and most importantly, a great picture-taker. I was really impressed by the picture quality when my sister and I fiddled around with the one on display in the shop. So impressed that I decided to buy it. The 16MP cameras on the front and back supercede the 12/8 MP on the Samsung Galaxy S8. I realise that more megapixels does not necessarily equate to higher quality, but I was surprised by that.

Anyway, I’ve inserted here a few of the photos taken on both phones. Have fun guessing which is which! Tally ho 🙂

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How to deal

How to deal with life falling apart. No, scratch that. How to deal with life falling apart? I’d really like to know the answer to that.

The last 8-9 months have been tough. When Mother left the house, I thought that I was prepared for what was to come. I knew that we would have to step it up in every way: caring for each other, cooking, cleaning etc. I had secretly hoped that it would be a coming together of the family, where we all learnt to pull our weight and communicated more effectively. It was just one of those unicorn dreams you harbour about your fantasy family. It didn’t quite happen like that. In fact, as I type this right now, the house is in a mess. Shambolic, if you will. But I’d like to think that we’ve improved from the days when we relied on mother for everything. I can’t quite tell because I don’t have the luxury of hindsight. Growth is small comfort for the crumbling of life, admittedly, but I’ll take it.

I’ve learnt to tackle conflicts with my siblings and others directly, instead of running to Mother. Michael and Matilda (the two youngest siblings) have certainly become more responsive to calls for help. And I’m really proud of them for having the discipline to wash their uniforms, even if they don’t always hand-wash them. I’m proud of Matilda’s efforts toward the PSLE, and for chasing hopes that others told her not to. I’m chuffed that Raphael had the will to study for his O levels, and bothered to ask questions, clarify doubts, make study plans, and do practices. Maybe it sounds like all of these are a given, but that boy is a far cry from the one that was, just 6 months earlier, whinging on about dropping out of school and accusing us of forcing him into doing the O levels. I was just puffed up when he got his results and achieved his goal: to qualify for junior college. Also because I like to think that I had some part in that 😆. I’m thankful for my older brother, (Gor Gor) Gabriel, for being ready to drop everything if we needed it, and for being a phone call away even if he can’t always be here. And for buying cereal, and food, and for helping me clean, and for listening to me. I am grateful for (Jie Jie) Lynn, the oldest one, for her protectiveness and her cooking skills and her desire to improve our lives and to be adventurous.

The last 3 months have been gruelling. We were pretty much parent-less at home. Or it might have been just that way for me. I haven’t talked to my dad much this year. I’m still struggling to find the words to bridge the gap. I’m not sure where it’ll go from here. Hopefully better, we’ll see. But if anything has kept me going against the currents and riptides, it’s to just keep swimming (or you know, clamber to shore because you can’t really out swim riptides).

Also, the family you see in the cover photo are the fins that help me swim through the ocean of life. #blessup #wayup #idontactuallyknowthesong 

Kuala Lumpur: a real treat

KL is a bittersweet memory.

It was the second post-IB trip that I took, this time with the group of friends that I was originally supposed to go to Bali with. 19 days after I had arrived back in Singapore, I was off to Woodlands checkpoint, where we crossed the causeway to Johor Bahru to board an overnight train to KL. It was a real treat for me because it had all the excitement and wanderlust of a road trip, and it was the first time I had really gotten to travel on an old diesel train across the country, through the night. I mean, I did take the MRT from Serangoon to Boon lay once, but it honestly does not compare. I was so excited that I stayed up the whole ride there, whilst all my friends drifted in and out of sleep to the rickety chugging of the carriage. I sat beside a family of 4 seated on 3 seats: 2 parents juggling 2 kids. Throughout the night, they took turns handling their children; at times the father would clack away on his laptop, figuring out some code or program or investment while the mother grabbed whatever rest she could with 2 kids laying against her, at others they each held a kid and tried to feed and change them (I did catch an eyeful at one point). Meanwhile, I was sitting there watching Friends, with only myself to care for. Boy did I feel lucky. But I also appreciated the support that was evident in the little family beside me.

Once we reached KL station, we rushed to McDonalds to get some grub since we had barely eaten all night. We were all pretty smashed since sleep eluded most of us. But once we were done, we hopped on an intra-city train to University station where Capri by Fraser was located. From the station, there was a 10 minute hike in the afternoon sun with our luggage to our hotel apartment. We had to wait awhile before the room was ready because we had arrived before check-in time, so we wandered up to the rooftop and hobo-ed there.

The apartment was amazing- 3 rooms, 2 toilets, a living room area, a dining room area, and a kitchen. All the rooms had TVs in them. One room was a master with an ensuite, the other was roughly the same size with a toilet right outside the room, and the last room was more suited for a single sleeper. The apartment was clean and had a modern design, with a nice view. Our stay also came with complimentary breakfast, gym, pool, game room and bar amenities. I highly recommend it. (Oh also, because we were a group of 7, 2 people stayed in a separate, smaller hotel room which had the typical hotel room layout)

The trip consisted of pretty much shopping and eating. I don’t think that I have ever shopped as hard as I did during that trip. Although, in my defense, the SGD to MYR exchange rate was hella good, and it was post-exams so. The first night, we spent so long in the mall that we ended up taking one of the last trains back. We were so delirious that while waiting for the train, we sat down on the train platform because we couldn’t stand anymore. I don’t regret it- it was hilarious running around trying to find the best bargains, exhausting, but hilarious. While waiting for a cab on the second day, we bumped into a batchmate who happened to be staying at the same hotel that we were. We later found that she was staying in the apartment right across from ours 😀 She even bought us some drinks, bless her. Later at night, we went up to the pool. The water was freezing, but it was fun to play “chicken” (I’m not sure if it’s called the same thing everywhere, but it’s the game where one person sits on another’s shoulders and battles another pair to push the top person off). We also went to the jacuzzi and the bar, where I was once again confronted with my low alcohol tolerance; I can’t finish a mojito. It’s ok, I’m working on bringing it up.

One of my regrets was that we didn’t get to eat more local food while we were there. Sure, there’s not much food in KL that we can’t get in SG, but the style of the same dish varies between locations. That was actually a source of strain during the trip since the main aim of our trip wasn’t made clear to everybody. But that’s something to learn from! I think it’s best to travel with people who have similar travel styles and want the same things out of a trip as you do, or be willing to compromise.

We took a coach back to SG. It was actually more comfortable than the train, and better for sleeping. I also caught How to lose a guy in 10 days– a chick-flick, but it was one of the better ones.

KL was a great time. But it is bittersweet because it was the last time that we truly gathered and spent quality time together. We still meet up, but the moments are now fewer and far between because of university and the army. We’re planning another trip though, so here’s looking forward to that!

 

Bali: A Grad Trip

In November of 2015, I took and completed my IBDP exams. It was a time of great joy and liberation (because duh), marked by a graduation trip to Bali. It was truly an acquisition of freedom because it was the first time that I had travelled overseas without family or under the guise of a school trip. In fact, most people thought that our trip was crazy, on account of the fact that it was 2 girls travelling to a seemingly dangerous place (we were supposed to go in a group of 7, but everybody backed out or couldn’t confirm and we decided to just go ahead because we wanted to). I was scared; at one point, I even contemplated cancelling the ticket or transferring it to Ziki’s sister. I had high anxiety at the time, coming off of the exams, but I was also excited and I wanted to go. It just didn’t make sense for me to not go and sit at home making up scenarios and thinking about things that could go wrong while not doing anything, instead of refuting my fears whilst being in a scenic, relaxing location. In hindsight, there was nothing to worry about. I thoroughly enjoyed the reprieve of work, and the days by the sea.

It was an idyllic, slow-paced 4 days, and we were broke as heck but we pretty much did whatever the hell we wanted, when we wanted. That was the best part. Or the beautiful villa with the pool we never quite used and the deliciously cheap breakfast. Or sorting out a glitch with our accommodation like a pair of grown-ass adults. Or braving the catcalls and dubious comments when we were walking back from dinner and it was dark out. Or the black-sand beach and the sea that made me face-plant into the sand 194738 times, causing me to roll, land on all fours, consume 40% of the sea and lose my dignity in front of a bemused crowd of Caucasians who were way more adapt at Bali seas than I was. Or maybe it was the thrill of parasailing and flying fish. Or the stunning views from uluwatu. And the monkey that bit Ziki’s slipper while we were on our way to stand on the precipice of a cliff. Or the impromptu pool party at a Julian and co’s villa and when the stove exploded. Or traipsing round Bali on the last day with 10 Singapore dollars in my pocket, and when the money ran out, begging the driver to take us anywhere that was free, after which we ended up at another beach, watching the sun set and the planes taking off, while waiting for our plane to take off.

Yeah, probably all of that.

Funny, I’m only recalling these snippets as I’m writing this post. I’d almost dismissed it as a small little trip, but I’m now realising that it was a really really great time. And I was happy to have spent it with a like-minded companion in Ziki.

Check out some of the photos from the trip below!

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A Gap Year

A Gap Year

Starting a gap year post 1 year and 4 months into a gap year is just so typically me (ooh baby baby). And by “typically me”, I mean procrastination. Then again, most people do that too. Anyways, I want to document my thoughts about how the gap year has gone so far, and I guess life in general too. I read somewhere that everyone should keep a blog, whether for commercial or personal purposes, whatever the genre. So here I am.

I should probably establish that at this point, I’m in a kinda confused/lost/in-between state. I’ve just finished applying for universities, scholarships- the whole shebang. It’s got me thinking a lot about the future and where I’m going to go from here. Coupled with my natural anxiety and the aforementioned nebulous psyche, I think elucidating my fragmented thoughts can only help to frame a better picture, even if it is as yet still tenuous.

This is an introductory post. I will follow up with posts detailing the shenanigans I’ve been up to, why I took a gap year, what I’m doing now, and possibly my plans for university.

Welp. I guess I’ll be back tomorrow. Tally ho!

(I’ll probably regret saying that           ^)