Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Cupcake day for the RSPCA 2015

It's cupcake day time! For the 4th year I am proud to say I will be baking for the bunnies on Monday 17th August 2015, Cupcake Day for the RSPCA.

You can donate to this worthy cause online:

Any amount large or tiny will go towards the RSPCA, caring for all creatures great and small.

Also, George:

Upside Down

Monday, July 13, 2015

Singapore - MBS, Long Bar and Gardens by the Bay

Our last day is a short one. We're already at the airport and about to head back to Perth.

Marina Bay Sands

Yesterday we checked into our one day and night at the Marina Bay Sands (MBS) hotel. It's magnificent! The hotel itself is lovely but nothing new, but the views and the infinity pool are something unique.

Raffles and Gardens by the Bay

We enjoyed the infinity pool in the afternoon and at night yesterday (and again this morning), and it wasn't too packed at all. It was really refreshing having a swim after being in the humidity all day, but I was actually cold and shivering after about 15minutes! This morning though after running on the treadmill it was bliss. 

Infinity pool

This morning Andrew braved the humidity and ran around Marina Bay, while I enjoyed the aircon and views from my treadmill at the MBS gym. We met up at the infinity pool and had one last swim.

Morning gym and breakfast at Amoy

Breakfast Dim Sum

Yum! Quite different from Dim Sum in Perth (which is Hong Kong style), with no carts and a menu to order from. The rice rolls were my favourite, with the corn and egg custard bun a runner up.

Dim sum brunch

Dim sum brunch

Long Bar at Raffles

Andrew and I went on our own to the Raffles hotel to take in the history and also enjoy a $31 (++, which means plus tax and GST, so $36 all up!) Singapore Sling at the Long Bar.

Raffles and Gardens by the Bay

Raffles and Gardens by the Bay

The hotel was a great sight to see, and the price point meant there weren't many tourists so you could imagine how it might have felt to stay there in luxury in the past. 

Raffles and Gardens by the Bay

The Long Bar was a dark, pretty, English style bar with swaying fans (like the Merchant in Fremantle) where you're encouraged to throw the shells of the peanuts you eat on to the floor. The floor was covered in peanut shells which made a satisfying crunch as you stepped on them. It actually took some practice, I had to convince myself to throw those peanut shells. It really goes against my nature, but I got the hang of it and started enjoying it by the end. 

Raffles and Gardens by the Bay

The Singapore Sling was a nice drink, but really sweet. I enjoyed it more when I reached the bottom and it started being diluted by the ice. I thought it would be right up my alley with the gin and Benedictine, but I couldn't make out those distinct tastes because the flavour was overwhelmed by the cherry liquor. That aside, I really enjoyed and savoured it, and all together I would definitely recommend the Long Bar experience.

Raffles and Gardens by the Bay

The Singapore Sling was the first alcoholic drink we'd had since being in Singapore. I can totally see why Singaporeans don't drink, you'd have to be rich! Not all alcohol is as expensive as the SS, but its still crazy to see a bottle of Bombay marked at $220 on a beverage list. 

Raffles and Gardens by the Bay

Gardens by the Bay

After the Raffles, we headed to Gardens by the Bay. We were a bit rushed for time, but we decided to visit both the Cloud and Flower domes and we're glad we saw both. We preferred the Cloud Dome (the one with the giant indoor waterfall) because it was more architecturally impressive, but the Flower Dome was very pretty too (especially the baobab trees). 

Raffles and Gardens by the Bay

One thing learned is that so many plants grow a giant spike in the middle like my parent's alien plant did a few years ago. 

Raffles and Gardens by the Bay

Raffles and Gardens by the Bay

Raffles and Gardens by the Bay

At night we watched the Gardens by the Bay light show from Alvin and Rain's room. We were planning to walk over and see the show from the bridge, but the view of the "trees" from the balcony was really good and we could hear the music so we could appreciate the light choreography. Very cool!

Gluttons Bay

Dinner at Gluttons Bay

We all walked over the Helix bridge to have dinner at Gluttons Bay. I pretty much ate a whole plate of carrot cake, which is like taro cake at Dim Sum, although neither of those names describes what it actually is, which is fried cubes of turnip. Yum! Alvin and Rain ordered some stingray for us to try, and it was really nice. The meat was the texture of chicken breast (pulled apart with strings), and the taste was mildly fishy. It took a bit of convincing to get me to try it though because it really looked like what it was. I also tried oyster (in oyster omelette) but hated it! It looks as bad as it tastes, yuck, pass the stingray please.

Gluttons Bay

Gluttons Bay

We then caught a cab to club street which was quite dead late on a Sunday Night, so we went to another place and the guys had some Haagen Dazs for dessert. This area was Michaels favourite place because it had sports, pizza, bars, and ice-cream! All that was missing was the Maccas. 

Here we said goodnight and good bye and thank you to our wonderful host Ben, and also Michael (but we'll see him back in Perth). 


This morning we had breakfast at Amoy Street and said good bye to Alvin and Rain. 

Morning gym and breakfast at Amoy

Goodbye Singapore!

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Singapore - Temples, Durian, Night Safari and Satay

Another jam packed day!

Breakfast Soup

Pork rib soup (bak kut teh) with iron Buddah tea at Song Fa Bak Kut Teh for breakfast really hit the spot. I struggled a bit with the ribs (getting the meat off was really difficult), but got a top up on my soup and really enjoyed the metallic, astringent tea.

Ben preparing tea

Iron Buddah Tea

Pork Rib Soup

China Town Temples

See all the religions! We visited a very brightly decorated Hindu temple where we enjoyed some awesome drumming and jazzy trumpet during a prayer session. We visited the beautiful Buddha Tooth Relic Temple and saw many sponsored Buddha statues, a room made of gold, and wondered at the story of how Buddhas tooth was found and stored there. We visited an old Taoist Temple which was very similar to the Buddhist temple. Later we saw a Mosque but didn't go in, but I still think it's the most religious I've ever experienced in 1 day. Andrew and I are not religious, but it's always fascinating to see the styles and stories of the religions around the world.

Tooth Temple

Incence Prayer

Tao Temple

Maxwell Food Center

Singapore's best chicken rice! The centre was bustling with activity and heat but Alvin and Rain managed to find a table, and we all had a big catchup lunch over our lunch.

Best Chicken Rice

The chicken rice was nice, but again I struggled a bit with the meat, which was slightly cold and difficult to get off the bone. Ben explained that the chicken is steamed, then immediately cooled to get the fat to congeal which produces a desirable jelly texture (I'm not convinced). The rice was delicious and tasted very similar to Romanian pilaff (rice boiled in chicken soup).

Chicken Rice

Fruits Galore

After Maxwell Food Center Durian we visited Rain's parents place and stopped to buy some fruit on the way. Thank you to Rain's mum who haggled and bought an amazing array of Asian fruits for us to try for the first time!


We tried lychee (very sweet, slippery, and comes cleanly off it's shiny brown seed), rambutan (looks like a red sea urchin, is similar to lychee but sticks more to it's white seed), dragon fruit (absolutely beautiful, bright purple on the inside with kiwi like seeds but a very mild sweet taste), mangosteen (my favourite, has little white segments with brown seeds inside, very sweet and fragrant), and… Durian!

I had the job of carrying the durian back to Rain's apartment, and the spikes were truly impressive. I felt like I was wielding a weapon! I definitely could have done some robberies with that thing, I'm surprised no one does.

Fruits Galore

The smell of durian being cut up in the shop is nothing like the smell of of the yellow fruit up close. The smell is very particular, but I thought it smelt quite like roasted chestnuts, or walnuts, very nutty anyway. The texture is sooo strange - it has like a thin yellow skin that wrinkles when you touch it, with soft yellow pulp below it. The pulpy bit comes away from the brown seed inside, and is a creamy texture kind of like mango, but more sticky.

Andrew HATED it! He tried it twice, and actually did a bit of a gag cough the second time. I've heard it described as tasting and smelling like onions boiled in diesel, and Andrew agreed. I didn't mind it! I certainly wouldn't choose it over other fruits, and I don't understand why some people go so nuts for it, but I thought it was interesting. Ben already knew he hated it, and after our underselling reactions, Michael didn't even bother to try it.

Smells like Diesel

Arab Street

With tired feed and sweaty clothes we wandered through the hip and busy Arab street. There were a lot of small bars, cafes, sections of street art, and ex pats. The Ramadan food festival was very packed with all sorts of strange delicacies and creatures. We walked through this quite quickly because it was really busy and way too hot.

Arab Street

We stopped at a place and the boys got an ice-cream sandwich, and I went and got a coffee. I accidentally started lining up at #Selfie Cafe, but quickly aborted when I figured out what it was all about. I was surprised at the $8.90 coffees, and then realised that the whole thing was that you would take a selfie on the cafe's phone, which they would then (take 10 minutes to) print onto a little plastic lid that went on your coffee, which you then had to shove a straw through. I watched the lady in front of me pose with duck face and retry her selfie a few times before I got the hell out of there. What the fuck!

Boomerang Cafe

Ben and Michael went straight to Boomerang Cafe to watch the Eagles game, and enjoy $14 beers. Andrew and I went to the hotel, I had a quick shower, and we grabbed our Bushmans Bug Repellant before meeting them there and then heading off to the night safari. 

Night Safari

A fantastic idea for a zoo! I'm pretty sure that not a lot of the animals there were actually nocturnal since many were sleeping, but we got to see so many cool things like a sleeping leopard that was right up against the glass, some really active otters, and a bat area where the bats flew right above your head and ate fruit within reaching distance of us. The Tram Ride was definitely the highlight, and a really nice way to see a lot of things in a short amount of time, while also resting our tired feet. We finished the tram ride at midnight, which of course is Satay Time!

Satay Street

Awesome Satay Sticks at 1pm, my body didn't know what to make of it.

Satay Street


Saturday, July 11, 2015

Singapore - Sentosa

What a day!


We landed just after midnight, got to the hotel at 1am, and got to bed by 2pm. We're staying at Naumi Liora, a tiny but new and neat hotel in China Town, with Chinese pole dancing sculptures and a cute little snack bar in the lobby. We got around 4h of sleep before we got up to meet Ben downstairs this morning.

Singapore, Checking in

Singapore, Checking in

Singapore, Checking in

Authentic Breakfast

Ben took Andrew, Michael and I for an authentic breakfast of soft boiled eggs and kaya toast. I didn't have the toast, but the eggs were a perfect proteiny start to a 15h day.

Authentic Breakfast

Cable Car to Sentosa

We managed to convince Ben to overcome his fear of the cable car (apparently the cable snapped 20 years ago) and enjoyed the dizzying views over to Sentosa.


Segway Tour

Andrew and I had pre booked a segway tour, and we made it just in time to beach station for our 10:15am session. We got the 2.5h tour which took us to the old aquarium, the Merlion, and up and down the coast to see the 3 beaches.

Singapore, Segway tour, old aquarium and Merlion

After a tentative start, I managed to get the hang of the segway and got quite confident, although I still freaked out when hoards of school children on school carnival would walk in front of us every now and then. And I never did quite get the hang of going up hill. Andrew on the other hand shined to it instantly and absolutely owned that segway. He even managed to get some air on a jump (on the slope down from the Merlion, the tour guide didn't see).

Singapore, Segway tour, old aquarium and Merlion

At the end of the tour, the guide let us try her segway which wasn't speed limited (ours kicked out out at 12km/hr). Andrew had a great time, but it was way too fast for me! It's such a strange feeling, really different to what I expected. It takes a long time to get used to just using pressure in your feet to control the thing, and by the end of it my toes had pins and needles from all the concentration.

Singapore, Segway tour, old aquarium and Merlion

This tour was awesome, really worth the money, and we highly recommend it as a way to see Sentosa, especially if you've never gone on a segway.

Lunch at Din Tai Fung

We met up for lunch in the resort area at Din Tai Fung where had amazing Shanghai dumplings (along with a demonstration from Ben about how to eat them the authentic way) and pork fried rice, all while watching the dumplings being made right next to us.

Singapore, lunch at Din tai fung, Sea aquarium

Singapore, lunch at Din tai fung, Sea aquarium

Singapore, lunch at Din tai fung, Sea aquarium

S.E.A Aquarium

This place blew my mind. I've never been to a great aquarium before, and this was really fantastic. There were so many giant aquariums, and there were a lot of things that we hadn't seen before, like hammerhead sharks, moray eels, and a manta ray feeding frenzy. 

Singapore, lunch at Din tai fung, Sea aquarium

The whole place was just so beautiful, with really great large and colourful arrangements (I know they're not flowers, but you know what I mean) of sea creatures. 

Singapore, lunch at Din tai fung, Sea aquarium

Here's the guy being swamped by starving manta rays as he tries to feed them in the big aquarium. He was literally covered by manta rays, sometimes disappearing below a manta ray carpet.
Singapore, lunch at Din tai fung, Sea aquarium

We even touched a sea cucumber!

Some Time Wasting

Originally we had planned to do the zip line, but after watching a few runs we decided the people on it looked a bit bored to justify the price, time, and long walk up a steep hill to get there. We instead explored Sentosa some more, and went and saw the wave pool (where some pros were practicing), some orchards, and then hung out at the Macdonald's to get out of the humidity and plan our day tomorrow while waiting for iFly.


Andrew and I each did 2 x 60seconds in the iFly air chamber. 

Jess at iFly

The training experience was also something straight out of portal. Andrew and I were the only two in our 8pm session, so it really felt like we were 2 candidates about to enter the portal testing facility. The first room had a big screen where we watched 20mins of promotional material about iFly, after which a door magically opened and we went to the second screening room. The second training video was a more informative but also heavy on promo material, and told us how to position ourselves during the flight. Then another door magically opened and our trainer came in to chat to us about the experience and get us suited up and ready to fly.

Andrew at iFly

The flights were really fun! It's so much harder than it looks to keep balanced, and small movements make giant changes to your position. I managed to get some great height at one point, and kept trying to replicate that, but I couldn't quite manage.

I have to say it was over really quick and while it was a good experience, I probably wouldn't rave about it or suggest it as a must do based on the time required and the value for money. It's really quite hard, and by the time you just start getting the hang of it, your minute was up and you had to jump out. You can always pay an extra $40 per flight to get some more practice in (we didn't), but it can easily become very expensive. t will say though it definitely feels like skydiving!