Monday, November 30, 2009

Christmas with a Conscience @ qi-global

So there I was browsing at this particular exhibition & admiring all these products that are environmentally friendly yet chic & cool when I looked up & saw my friends Kristine & Paul, founders of qi-global.

Long story how I got to know them but we basically met in Cannes & then moved to Singapore around the same time. Kristine & I even shared info on moving companies.

Shortly after they arrived, they started qi-global, a social enterprise that present talks & introduce beautiful low carbon products.

Bag made from candy wrappers

Can you guess what this gorgeous sling bag is made out of
Look closely
they are recycled ring pulls
Each bag has a profile & bio of the woman who made it
How cool is that !

I wish there were more photos of what they have but right after I saw them, I completely forgot to take any pictures. But do check out their website at and perhaps you can pick up a few Christmas gifts. I did.

Wandering City Hall @ Singapore Design Festival

I must have gone past this building a million times but never had the opportunity to go inside. If you haven't either, care to join me on a tour of the inside ?

The main staircase
specially decked out as part of the Design Festival

The beautiful columns

The view of the Esplanade from inside

I didn't realise there was a big courtyard within the building

Part of an interesting collection of
Uniquely Singapore Souvenirs
- the Custom Stamp

I couldn't control a chuckle. If you cannot read the sign, it's
The Singapore Sock Coffee Maker

V is for Vase
what a vase is or is not

Is this a painting or a photo ?
by Charlie Lim

What used to be a courtroom
converted into a gallery

Another beautiful space

Drawings of Carlo Scarpa
an Italian architect

All these a part of the "kawaii" character design & animation

Amazonia in Singapore

" The earth, just as any mother, will never complain that her children are wrong, never. So, it is up to us, her children, to protect her, speak to her & look after her".

Posted on the wall of the Amazonia in Singapore exhibition.

This particular exhibition appealed to me because I always have a soft spot for Brazil. And it's about the Amazon. And it's held in City Hall - I don't remember having ever stepped foot in that building before (more about that later).

The little curious had to touch & feel every single nut/seed & made me name all of them.

But the highlight for us, was the video clip. The fidgety about-to-be 5 year old sat through it, which is already saying quite a lot. The video had interviews in Portuguese interspersed with beautiful footage of animals, insects & living creatures that make "the lungs of the earth" their home. Gorgeous.

Arts & crafts and face masks of the Amazonian native tribes.

The exhibition also highlights the efforts to implement sustainable alternatives to protect & conserve the region. The Amazon is so far away but yet so vital to the whole ecosystem.

I had gone to City Hall with the intention of catching this exhibition but later realised that it was part of the Singapore Design Festival & so I took the opportunity to wander around & was very pleasantly surprised to see what was on offer......& even bumped into a friend.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Random Sightings

Totally random

One is an art installation at the Tunnel that connects Esplanade to the MRT station & the other found at the Food Court @ Plaza Singapura.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Little modern India

Last month, I had the bright idea of going to visit Little India on the eve of Deepavali. What ever possessed me to do that, I have no idea. But we braved the crowds, soaked in the atmosphere & even managed to do a bit of shopping ourselves.

I bought some string lights & sparklers for Christmas (already planning ahead) & a cute little sari for The Girl (complete with matching bracelets & bindi). I was tempted to buy some Bollywood DVDs but that would have to wait till we go there again when it's less crazy.

I remember years ago when Christmas was the only time there was a light up & only along Orchard Rd. Now there are lights for all the major religious occasions - Chinese New Year, Hari Raya & Deepavali. Given what I saw last month, they most definitely do not fall short of Christmas. The lights along Serangoon Road were spectacular.

This was the shop where we bought The Girl's sari. I will have to post a photo of her wearing her new outfit soon.

Although most of Little India has remained pretty much unchanged all these years, the temples, Tekka market & the shops along Serangoon Road, some seemed to have made a big leap into the 21st century. For starters, there is The Verge with the hugely popular Sheng Shiong where even my Japanese neighbours frequent.

And have you been to Muthu's lately ?

I've been going to Muthu's for years. It was my favorite Indian restaurant. Admittedly I haven't been there in a while. So imagine my surprise when I headed over to the familiar address along Race Course Rd to find that they have gone all contemporary. I had to do a double take to make sure I was at the right place. Gone were the plastic chairs & canteen like tables. Replaced by willowy curtains from the ceiling, designer tables & chairs, beautiful food counter with naan oven etc.

I miss the old Muthu's even though the food is still good. Maybe I'm just sentimental. Change is good right ? By the way, I just read that they are opening up a branch in Dempsey Hill.

I finished an order of curry fish head by myself cos X only had one bite & even managed to coax the little one to try some prawn 65 (that was a new one).

Another example of little india going modern is a shop called Chellas. Looking at the desserts on display, one could have mistaken this to be a patisserie in Paris. Everything was beautifully laid out. We had no idea what there were so we told the server to give us a sampling of their most popular items.

The desserts were too sweet for my liking & I could taste too much condensed milk in them. The next time, I go there, I'm going for their vegetarian meal instead. The dosai at the next table looked absolutely delicious.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Weekend of rugby

I'd just come back from a week in Vietnam - visiting friends & checking out the beaches. Lots to blog about but until then, here are some posts from before our trip.

When I saw the Singapore Rugby Sevens tickets up for sale, I knew I had to buy them for X. As you already know, he's a big sports fan. Since we had so much fun the last time we watched a live rugby match, I figured it would be another nice outing for the family.

The event stretched over 3 days. I'm not that big a fan. Besides the final day was probably the most interesting with the deciding matches.

First of all, I was surprised at how many people attended the event. The tents at the Padang were packed with adults & kids. There were stalls after stalls of food. By far the most popular were the drink stands - a sports event is just another excuse to chug down pitchers of beer or margaritas.

You don't even have to leave your seats, they bring the drinks right to you. There was a one man mobile Guiness dispenser. In between games, the sponsors were handing out all kinds of premiums - mini rugby balls, beer coolers etc.

Some serious camera action here

The kids probably have the most fun. There was a bouncy castle which The Girl found too rowdy to participate. She was just happy to have her face painted & a couple of tattoos sprayed on her arm.

And mum, well she was happy just kicking back, relaxing with her ice cold margarita & watching a bunch of buff men on the field.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Not so humble meal

Despite the name, nothing about My Humble House is humble. Even when we made reservations, we were told that no children under 10 were allowed (at least not during the weekdays). Then there is the dress code of no shorts & bermudas which I don't have a problem with. Fine dining is anything but humble.

The dining room is beautifully decorated with high back chairs, opulent lights & chic table settings. Our New York friends loved the many photo op in the restaurant.

I admit I have put off going there despite rave reviews from friends only because everytime I was back in Singapore, I'd rather go for the local stuff. Trying out contemporary chinese cuisine does not come close to my cravings for mee siam, char kway teow, laksa etc.

But now that I'm back & have satisfied my cravings many times over. It's time to venture beyond the old favorites. You all know how much I love the New Majestic Restaurant, so when our friends were in town, it was the perfect time to finally check out this often featured restaurant.

Trio of dimsum

I usually like to order the tasting menu cos we get to try the chef's specials. All the menu items have whimsical names like someone is singing behind the mountains, pearls of spring rain, flights of fantasy etc.

King Prawn in a delicious curry sauce
which had us all raving

Chicken cutlet in a thai sauce

Handspun noodles with preserved vegetables & shredded meat
The broth smelt wonderful but so bland that X hardly touched his

The best part of the meal came last, pastry packet filled with red bean with vanilla ice cream.

We had a wonderful dining experience. The room is beautiful, the service excellent & the food well presentated but I couldn't help feeling a tad disappointed. It might be because I went with high expectations but a couple of low points on the meal eg. the bland noodles, the green apple reduction on the beef tenderloin (not pictured) was too sweet & overpowering. I wanted to be wowed but that didn't happen.

In the meantime, I want to check out Jing & Jaan by Andre.