Archive for December, 2014

[New Zealand 2014] 5D4N in Nelson Abel Tasman / Picton

How time flies, my 17 day trip to New Zealand is officially over! I had intended to post a few blog posts during my time in New Zealand, but there were so many distractions ranging from Facebook, Instagram and just plain relaxing that I decided to heck it. To this day, I am amazed I managed to push out a number of posts while on holiday in Norway and Denmark!

Although the this trip may sound long, in actual fact the touristy stuff happened in the 1st half of the trip, with the 2nd half being more of family stuff as the Partner has family in New Zealand (aka my chance to live like a local). This is actually my 5th trip to New Zealand but only my 2nd time to the South Island. Since I had already covered the usual favourites such as Christchurch, Queenstown, Milford Sound etc, our focus this time round was to spend time in the Northernmost part of the South Island, ie the Marlborough / Nelson Abel Tasman areas. This is not an area that is usually covered by the tour groups but is picturesque in its own right. We spent about 4 glorious days in this region, as well as about 1.5 days in Wellington (capital of New Zealand) before flying back to Auckland. 

Journey-wise, we opted to fly into Auckland first from Singapore via Singapore Airlines, followed by JetStar to Wellington. We spent a night in Wellington before waking up at the crack of dawn to catch the 3-hour InterIslander ferry from Wellington to Picton. For those of you who are keen to explore the same area I did, you could also take the 10 hour Northern Explorer train from Auckland to Wellington, followed by the ferry ride. I hear the train ride is super scenic and we almost opted for this to enjoy the scenery, but decided to skip it in the interest of time and factoring in additional nights in a hotel etc. Also, the train only goes 3 times a week. We also almost took the option of flying to Christchurch (South Island) from Singapore, followed by driving up to Marlborough / Nelson Abel Tasman, but because air-tickets were fast running out back in September, we opted to fly into Auckland instead of Christchurch in case we changed our minds about going down south.

Kaitaki - InterIslander Ferry

The Kaitaki which we took to Picton. Snapped this picture when I spotted it on my return journey back to Wellington.

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[Christmas 2014] The Butcher’s Dog

Christmas is less than a week away! If you haven’t already made a reservation for Christmas Eve dinner at your favourite restaurant, you might want to consider throwing your own party instead. It’s totally fuss-free if you allow the experts from The Butcher’s Dog help you with the job, and it’s not that expensive either! I had a look at their festive catering menu and I really do think that the prices are very affordable and attractive.

Holiday Revelry (S$168.80 per set)

Check out this Holiday Revelry set that costs only S$168.80 per set. Comprises of the following items. That’ll feed about 6 people for under 30 bucks per person!

  • Capon Roast Chicken, approx., 1.7kg
  • Crispy Pork Knuckles, 1kg
  • Grass-fed Premium Roast Beef, 1kg
  • 8 pieces of Traditional Homemade Brandy Mince Pies
  • The Cellar Door’s Selection Merlot 2013

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[Christmas 2014] Christmas Drinks

People don’t often eat “Christmas food” like Christmas turkey or log cakes until Christmas Eve and Christmas Day itself (except for us crazy bloggers who may have already had those as early as 2 months ago). But it seems such a waste not to delve into the Christmassy mood when the Christmas decorations and Christmas shopping are in full swing.

Well, the Christmas food may not be ready yet but there’s still the Christmas drinks to put you in a festive mood first, and I’m not talking about Egg Nog or the booze. Check out Gryphon Tea’s Christmas collection as well as The Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf’s Christmas drinks. Makes good gifts too if you’re lost for ideas. The Partner loves teas and coffees so I do make it a point to buy some Christmas blends for him each year.


Gryphon Tea

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Gryphon Tea Company launches three new limited-edition Festive Teas in collaboration with Capella Singapore Chocolate and Tea Experience. In the spirit of festive celebration, the limited edition set features Gryphon Tea Master Blender interpretation of joy, peace and warmth, spread a little love this season.

Highlights of variants:

  • Winter Love: Single origin black tea sprinkled with copper fairy dust with top notes of forest berries, nutmeg, blue flowers and vanilla. Love is in the air this season.
  • Chocolate Gingerbread: A rooibos creation of the seasonal favourite combination of chocolate, caramel, ginger and pomegranate flowers. A holiday essential for the child at heart. Naturally caffeine free.
  • Strawberry Champagne: A scarlet red infusion with top fruit notes of strawberry and champagne. The perfect alibi to celebrate the season. Naturally caffeine free.

Exclusively available at Capella Singapore The Knolls Sentosa, or order online at http://www.gryphontea.com.


The Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf

Coffee Bean Christmas Drinks

If you’re thinking of coffee instead, do check out the The Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf’s Christmas coffee drinks. These are the familiar favourites but with added flavours such as peppermint or red velvet. Peppermint Mocha is my personal favourite.

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Dulux Let’s Colour [Part 3] : My transformed room after using Dulux Painting services

After the nail biting decision of going for a really dark wall colour, we waited for the good people of Dulux to come turn our white walls into the beautiful image we had in mind. The painters arrived at 9.30 am on the dot as arranged, and immediately got cracking. They looked very experienced and seemed pretty methodological in their process.

Dulux Painting Serice (2)

First things first, armed with a ton of old newspapers and plastic sheets, they got right down to covering all the surfaces that were not meant to be painted. Where the cupboard edges met the walls, they were meticulous in ensuring a straight line. If only the HDB painters had put such heart into their work, I wouldn’t be “boasting” cupboards with white splotches now. At one point, the painters even asked me who it was that did the last paint job. I gave them one word, “HDB”, and they nodded at me with sympathy.

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Antoinette Restaurant – Not just for desserts

Inspired by the famous last queen of France, Marie Antoinette, and exuding the style and private ambience of Marie’s favorite hideaway chateau, the Petit Trianon in the gardens of Versailles, a visit to Antoinette Restaurant, Pâtissierie & Salon de Thé lets diners embrace the same French elegance. Antoinette Restaurant was conceived by Chef Pang Kok Keong, with the 1st outlet at 30 Penhas Road opened in June 2011,  a second at Mandarin Gallery opened 2 months later; and the third and largest at 3100 square feet, opened in 2012 at Palais Renaissance.

Many people think that Antoinette is just a place for desserts, cakes and sweet treats, and indeed, they do serve these (my favourite being the Nougatine crepe!), however, there’s a whole repertoire of French inspired main courses waiting to be sampled as well in their recently revamped menu. Now, you needn’t just come during tea time, or after dinner. Anytime of the day would be just as good! The following are some of the dishes I tried at Antoinette Restaurant a while back. Can’t wait to return again!

Antoinette Montage

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