Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Birthday Barbie

Rebecca was very sweet to organise a mini-celebration to celebrate my birthday. We decided to have a barbeque at her cosy little balcony of her home and boy, was there loads of food.

Hot and spicy wings, lamb kebabs with mint, burgers, mmm!

Knowing the chocoholic dessert-crazed person I am, she especially bought a super-heavenly-chocolate-GU dessert. In the end, we had THREE different types of desserts - a banoffee tart, chocolate luxury cake and a chocolate and vanilla cheesecake.

Mine! All mine! All mineeeee....

Despite the risk of incurring the wrath of their neighbours, Ian was entrusted with the important duty of grilling our chow.

The Chef-de-Cuisine

Occasionally, Rebecca gave instructions on what to cook. So, I guess you can call her ...

The Sous Chef

Before long, the delicious smell of sizzling meat came wafting through the house and we tucked into a delectable selections of tender and well-cooked meats. Mmmm-mmm. das schmeckt..

Oh, and the erratic weather in London comprising of 5-minute rain showers and 5-minute sunshine spawned the most curious phenomenon ever - a rainbow over another rainbow!

The guys were awesome. They knew that after the very scary experience with candles, I wouldn't appreciate candles on my desserts! Instead, they litted up a tealight and chorused a birthday song for me. *Sniff*

I say we murder the banoffee now!

The awesome gang

Monday, July 27, 2009

Birthday Bonfire

I was woken up on the morning of my birthday with Felix holding a belgian chocolate tart, glowing with 29 candles.

Now, ever since I worked in London, I have always eyed the belgian chocolate tart whenever I trawled the dessert aisle of supermarkets. Yet, I always stopped myself from buying it because nobody in the household is such a huge fan of super-chocolatey dessert and I didn't want to risk the glutton in me emerging and consuming the whole darn tart.

Hence, I was pretty happy to see the belgian chocolate tart. I was, however, a little nervous about the number of candles. After making a loooooong wish, I attempted to blow out the candles...

..to no avail.

Felix: *chirps happily* They are magic candles!
Me: Uh, and?

The candles started to have sparks coming out from them.

Felix: Aren't they pretty? Just like fireworks!
Me: Erm, but can we still eat the tart after that?

At this point, some of the candles whose flames I have blown off re-ignited. I started to panick a little.

Me: Er, the carpet may catch fire!
Felix: Don't worry, honey! The candles will die down.
Me: Did you read the instructions?
Felix: Instructions? Bah.. who needs instructions.

By now, some of the flames from the 29 candles have merged to form a mini bonfire. I was getting more nervous by the second.

Me: I think the tart is going to burn! Ahhh.
Felix: (Cool demeanour slowly breaking) Erm, don't worry! They will stop burning soon.

We watched as the feisty little candles sizzled and sparkled their way right on to the tart, only to feed on whatever flammable ingredients on the tart.

Felix: Okay, I think we'd better bring this tart to the bathroom.

He promptly doused tap water onto the tart. And we all know what is the perfect recipe for a fire! The instantaneous phase change, from a liquid to a gaseous state, is accompanied by a tremendous expansion. Because the water (now steam) is below the oil, it expands rapidly upward, explosively expelling the flaming oil. It atomizes the oil, in the process, oxygenating it and effectively creating a volcanic blow torch.

Ta dah!

Although thoroughly freaked out, Felix persevered in continuing to douse the tart with tremendous amounts of water...

Finally and fortunately, we extinguished those feisty-we-just-won't-die-muhahaha candles and didn't need to spend my birthday morning evacuated from our apartment.

The remains of the doomed chocolate tart

Yup, I still didn't get to taste my chocolate tart after all. Sigh!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Weekend Getaway to Portsmouth

As a birthday gift to me, Felix whisked me away to Portsmouth for the weekend.

Portsmouth isn't so popular with the tourists and many tourists seemed to express surprise to hear our interest in heading to Portsmouth. It is known as UK's only island city and has functioned as a significant naval port for centuries.

When I first walked up the stone stairs, leading up to the esplanade atop the walls overlooking the waters, I was awed by the large expanse of the beautiful blue ocean.

The washed-out colours of the stones and quaint buildings by the ocean make for a picturisque sight.

The town architects has also undertaken much effort to emphasize on Portsmouth's connotation with the waters. The benches and walls have feminine curves to reflect the majestic waves in the ocean.

Unlike most beaches I am accustomed too, the beaches in UK are mostly pebbly.

Instead of sinking your feet into soft white sand, you get your feet sunk into gazillions of pebbles. Looking on the bright side, it is as if you are getting hours of foot reflexology therapy.

Gazing into the humongous expanse of open space, I do feel rather insignificant.

The sea breezes, or rather gales, were so strong that sometimes we get blown off course while strolling on the esplanade.


I kid you not. In fact, there were plenty of times when I looked up in the skies to see a seagull flying in vain against the winds. It would fly on the spot for a few seconds before giving up, and getting blown away by the winds.

On many UK beaches, you will be able to stumble on the phenomenon of seaside piers.

These piers are a British speciality and usually consist of amusement parks, casinos, booths hawking candy floss and ice cream and other carnival-theme activities.

Felix falls victim to one!

Brightly coloured beach huts are an essential part of the British coast. They make a great base for a family on a beach holiday. Many are equipped with small stoves for boiling kettles, essential for the British afternoon cup of tea.

The sunset at Portsmouth was pretty breath-taking, I'll say.

On Sunday morning, we braved the whipping sea gales abd headed towards Fort Cumberland. It was extremely isolated, with not a single soul by the waters. It was just the blue ocean crashing onto the stony walls of the fort and us.

We snoozed...

..monkeyed around..

..and created "art".

Mission Portsmouth, Baby! wasn't disappointing at all. :)

Thursday, July 02, 2009


Several weeks ago in London, Sandy - my regular IM buddy, sent me some pictures of Samantha's new office at Central.

She tempted me back to Singapore with tantalizing offers such as this. "Let's hang out here when you are back!" she suggested. Sure, anywhere with great company is great.

The weeks passed rather s-l-o-w-l-y and soon I was back in SG for a visit. I met HT for tea and we hung out at Burger King, waiting for Sandy to turn up. We were supposed to meet at 530pm.

Me: Hey, I am at Central already.
Sandy: Oh, oh I should be reaching soon.
Me: Okay, give me a call when you are here!

The call never came and I was slightly concerned that HT would be late for his next appointment. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw Samantha standing a distance away from our table, staring at us - slack jawed. I waved frantically and she reluctantly walked towards us.

Me: SAM! Come, sit down.
Sam: Huh, cannot. We need to go up.
Me: Sit down first lah. Sandy isn't here yet.
Sam: No, cannot. I need to go up now.

Ht and I were both puzzled. We had pulled chairs around for her and wanted her to sit down. Sam, on the other hand, seemed quite insistent on going upstairs.

Me: Why?
Sam: I need to bring these bottles of coke to Ivan.
Me: (HUH)
Sam: Hurry up, I need to go upstairs.
Me: But Sandy is coming.
Sam: It's ok, we can head up first. When Sandy arrives, I will come down and pick her.
Me: (HUH)

HT and I exchanged the looks of "HUH".

Me: Aiyo, so troublesome. Why don't you go up first?
Sam: No, no. You are coming up with me.
Me: But Sandy is coming! I just called her and she said she would be here in 10 minutes.
HT: Sandy always late one. You all go up first.
Me: Let me call her.
Sam: Okay, you call her.

And so I did. Sandy requested me to go up with Sam first. After finding out she was with Alan who would be able to provide some company for her, I obliged. We took an elevator up to the rooftop where there was a beautiful garden, adorned with deck chairs, sofas, and jaccuzis. As I stood there admiring the venue, suddenly, out of the bushes - Alan popped out.


My first instinct was anger. The first thought that came into my mind was that Sandy was somewhere waiting for him, but he has come up here by himself. Just when I was to retort to his disappointed quip of "Eh, why you not scared one?", a huge bunch of people emerged from some bushes!


And there was Sandy, with a huge bunch of balloons.

I am usually someone who is quite composed and in control of emotions. The key to maintaining composure is to conjure out every possible scenario to anticipate, so you are mentally and emotionally prepared for it. But this! I'd really thought it was going to be a girly-chillout session at a novel venue Sandy has discovered. Furthermore, my birthday isn't until July!

This, plus the fact that I do sorely miss all my friends in SG and other random factors contributed to the extent at which I was deeply moved when I saw my friends together. *Sniff*

In fact, I can say that many of my friends had put on a great pretence. For instance, Kenneth did not mention a whiff of this while we played tennis in the morning. He had casually asked me what I was doing in the evening and I responded with - Ah, hanging out with the girls. The only thing that could give him away was when I wished him Bon Voyage for his pending Korea trip, he waved me away without a word. Wah lao, I thought, so rude! He has since clarified that he knew he would see me later in the evening, and could send me his wishes for my trip back to London then. :P

Both Cynthia and Candice constantly IM-ed me for possible dates to meet up, despite knowing that they would see me on that very night!

The sneaky babes.

Oh yes, and not forgetting...

The sneaky bastards, *ahem*, hunks.

So, we gathered around to make merry and feast.

The place chosen was awesome. It has little pools and comfortable chairs. You can actually lie there and get a massage, if you want to!

Alas! Soon the dark clouds loomed, and we decided to move the party up to Ivan's office. There were champagne, a large array of food from pizzas to home-cooked beehoon to fusion gourmet takeaways. Looking at my friends gathered together was sufficient to make me filled with happiness. :)

Sandy even bought my favorite cake from Canelé Pâtisserie! She is this one person who probably knows what I like to eat and don't. Mmm, maybe that is because I am similar to Alan in terms of eating habits. Ha ha.

Behold - The Richest Chocolate Cake of all!

Happy Birthday to Me!

They even shared a gift for me! Honestly, I felt spoilt rotten. I was initially happy enough to catch up with my girl friends. Then, I was quite thrilled to see the pretty gardens on top of the Central. The surprise appearance of my friends celebrating my "birthday" was the climax of it all. I really didn't need anything else. That explained why I wasn't so excited about my gift, despite the cajoling to open it quickly.

I already had my dosage of happiness.

Of course, I still had to oblige with the crowd.

It's a Nokia E71!

It was a truly memorable day. Who cares if it was my birthday or not?

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

The Furnace known as London Underground

It is amazing that in a developed city like London, the most commonly utilized transport mode - the London Underground - is not equipped with air-conditioning. No doubt, London usually suffers from freezing temperatures 75% of the year. Still, I can't fathom why they can't build the air-conditioners that can be utilized the rest of the 25% of the year and just freaking turn them off the rest of the time!

Just imagine being squashed into the tube with the rest of the commuters who are sticky with perspiration, the air thick with odours. Ugh! I only had to suffer 2 stops from Waterloo to London Bridge and I felt faint.

The tube advice includes "Carry water with you." Ha! Do these people even take the tube? The peak-hour carriages are usually so squashed you can't even swing a bottle of water to take a swig.

Yet another reason to love Singapore's MRT.