Wednesday, December 31, 2014

2014, in a heartbeat!

The usual tradition of wrapping up the year with a simple blog post. This year was a difficult year, as we went through the year without baby bro by our side. It was painful initially, but we survived together as a family. We also bid our farewell to Granddad, who passed away 4 months later in the comfort of his bed surrounded by his family. My mental health took a slight dip thereafter & I was really exhausted. It made me realize that life is indeed fragile. I always wish for the best for mummy dearest and lil bro; may they be healthy and happy. Wish baby bro is happy on the other side of life & please continue to appear frequently in my dreams!

3 years of marriage and I am thankful that we didn't tear each other apart, lol! Let's survive another year together, my love :) Marriage life is so enriching because I have you in my life! 

As we embrace the new year together, here's wishing everyone a blissful 2015!

Saturday, December 6, 2014

3rd Wedding Anniversary at OTTO Locanda

Time flies, we are officially married for 3 years. Since I got a gift during the 2nd anniversary, Leecher declared - in fact, way in advance - that I won't be getting any present. Boy, this guy is seriously good at managing my expectations or maybe, I have low expectations to begin with, tsk tsk! Well, a dinner is still a must but I decided that we should head for a place near the office, so we could walk stroll there after work to avoid the jam.
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We headed to Otto Ristorante located at Red Dot Traffic Building. They couldn't find my reservation when I showed them the email. Upon seeing the email, I realised that I had walked into the wrong restaurant! *super paiseh* The place that I had booked was Otto Locanda, instead of Otto Ristorante - can't believe I made such a blunder. Leecher was trying his best not to give me the see-you-also-make-the-mistake-look, lol. 
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Separated by a street, Otto Locanda is a more casual, informal Italian trattoria as compared to Otto Ristorante. We managed to rush there in time to secure my reservation, as they only hold the table for 15 min. We were greeted warmly upon entering the front door and shown to our table by the corner.
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The restaurant exudes a cosy and intimate ambience; the walls are decorated with Italian dinnerware and a personal postcard collection from one of the owners while the shelves are filled with antique Italian memorabilia and recipe books. The bar area, boosting an extensive collection of alcohol, is perfect for those who are seeking to unwind after a long day at work. 
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 After showing us to our table, the waiter swing by and presented us with a glass of champagne each, complimentary on the house to celebrate our wedding anniversary. How thoughtful of them :)
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Can't wait to get started! 
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Warm & crusty bread was served once we placed our orders. Leecher was famished and his hands headed straight to the bread basket before I could even snap a picture.
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We went for a 3 course set dinner and started with breaded saffron risotto ball stuffed with taleggio cheese and green peas on beef ragout. This was absolutely delish, even though I'm not a fan of green peas. The only complaint - the risotto ball is too small!
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For mains, I went for homemade squid ink angel hair pasta with lobster meat and basil pesto while Leecher had char grilled rack of lamb with arugula and sicilian cherry tomatoes salad. Hmm, why was Leecher's main served in fanciful italian dining ware while I get a plain plate? Nevertheless, both mains were well-executed.
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 We ended the meal with vanilla panna cotta & chocolate drops. This was my kind of dessert (anything with dark chocolate & sweet) so I was delighted when Leecher offered his share to me, haha! Happily polishing 2 portions on my own :)
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 Happy Anniversary
Otto Locanda
32 Maxwell Road #01-03
Singapore 069115
Tel: 6224 0978
Opening Hours: Closed on Sundays

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Holiday Blues

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It's the time of the year where holiday seasons begin. I miss going on holidays ....

Thursday, October 30, 2014

3rd Wedding Anniversary

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3 years, 1096 days, we walked through another year of our marriage.

Happy Leather Anniversary, my love! 
 

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Malacca 2014: 5 things to do in Malacca

Malacca, located on the west coast of peninsular Malaysia, is often termed as "The Historic State". Listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the city centre eludes a strong blend of historical and cultural influences from Portuguese, Dutch and British rule. Over the weekend, the Sisters embarked on a road trip to Malacca, braving the infamous Malaysia jam to enjoy a 2D1N sisterly trip!
1. Asam Laksa at Jonker 88
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The most famous icon of Jonker Walk, Jonker 88 is no doubt the place to go for a bowl of asam laksa. Based on a home-made recipe, the laksa is served with noodles and tipped with cucumber, onion slices, tofu pok and a spoonful of tuna. Be prepared to brave the queue before you are greeted with a bowl of delish noodles. 
2. Conquer Jonker Street
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Conquering Jonker Street on a weekend is no easy feat. This street comes alive at night, bustling with roadside stalls that sell everything under the sun - ranging from tasty snacks to cheap souvenirs. We braved the human crowd (sweaty bodies, arms and all) and walked from one end to the other while sampling tasty snacks along the way!
3. Indulge in Chicken Rice Balls
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Don't leave Malacca without polishing off a plate of chicken rice balls. These rice balls are so tiny that I could easily eat 10 of it myself. Do not attempt to bounce these off the table, for they are not ping pong balls :)  
4. Fill your tummies with pastries
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Savour a wide collection of pastries housed under one roof, ranging from 老婆饼 to 豆沙饼. These pastries are freshly baked from the bakeries, we could even smell the fragrance from across the street. Lug some goodies home for the family and spread the love!
5. Chill at a Cafe & enjoy live music
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We headed to Geographer's Cafe for a girls' night out. Located at a corner of Jonker Walk, this is the place to be seen! With a drink in hand, we chatted the night away while live music accompanied us in the background. 

Psst .... detailed posts will be linked once completed, stay tuned!  
 ******
 Read our Malacca adventures here:

Monday, October 13, 2014

Honeymoon: The Palace - The King's Grand Apartment

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*****
Been almost a month since the last post; I really need to find back the blogging motivation to document more memories of this lil space. Over the weekend, I made asked Leecher to vacuum my work table at home. Then, I swapped the ironing slot to blogging slot, so I could sit in front of the computer and begin typing this entry. From the Royal Chapel, we adjourned to the King's State Apartments. This is a prestigious collection of 7 rooms, each dedicated to a Roman deity. As the rooms were meant to serve as a venue for sovereign's official acts, no efforts were spared to decorate each room lavishly. 
 HERCULES ROOM
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The Hercules Room connects the chapel and the North Wing of the Palace with the Grand Apartment of the King. The room began construction in 1710, for King Louis XIV wanted the Hercules Room to be a showcase for a large painting. The work was finally completed 26 years later, with a painted ceiling called Apotheosis of Hercules. It is not surprising that the painting gave the room its name (Hercules Room). 
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The painting which led to the construction of the room, known as Meal at the House of Simon the Pharisee. Simon was a gift from the Doge to King XVI, for he wanted the french king to support him in a war with the Turks. This painting was once displayed at the Louvre, but Simon was returned back to its rightful place in 1961.  
ABUNDANCE ROOM

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pic courtesy of google 

During evening soirees, the Abundance room was the place of refreshments, which consisted of coffee, wine and liqueurs. The King's vessels, a precious object in the form of a dismastered ship was placed on the sovereign's table on grand occasions. This was a symbol of power, for it contained the sovereign's serviette and everyone had to salute as they passed. Strangely, I couldn't find a picture of this room in both cameras, so I had to grab one of the internet.

VENUS ROOM
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The Venus Room takes its name from the Venus, the theme linked to the solar myth which inspired all the decor of Versailles. Venus is depicted on the ceiling with the features of the Goddess of Love. During apartment evenings, the Venus room was used for serving light meals in buffet style. We also get to see a full length status of King Louis XVI glorified as a Roman Emperor, which is the centerpiece of this room.
DIANA ROOM

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On evening soirees, Diana room served as a billiard room for the King. King Louis XIV was known to be skilled at billiard. The ladies would watch from benches set up on platforms, giving them a good view of the game. The ladies often applauded the brilliant strokes of the King, hence this room has a nickname called "The Chamber of Applause".
 MARS ROOM
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In ancient Rome, Mars was known as the God of War. The strong inspiration of this using Mars, the God of War, for this room for it was originally meant to serve as a guard room for the parade apartment. During King Louis XIV's reign, it served as a ballroom during his evening receptions. 
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In the centre of the ceiling, a painting of Mars on a chariot drawn by wolves can be seen. The work is then framed by two compositions; on the east - Victory supported by Hercules followed by Abundance & Felicity and on the west - Terror, Fury and Fright taking over the powers of Earth. 
MERCURY ROOM
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pic credit to Rhonda Krause

The Mercury room, named after the Roman god of Trade, Commerce & Liberal Arts was the parade chamber of the Grand Apartment, hence it's name of "bed chamber", even though this bed was quickly removed in winter in order to free up the space and install the gaming tables. Since then, it served as a gaming (card) room during evening receptions. The palace's famous silver furniture was kept here. Next to the bed is a painting of David playing the harp, one of the King's favorites paintings. Once again, I had to grab a pic of the internet for Leecher wasn't taking pictures despite him holding onto the camera, tsk tsk!
  APOLLO ROOM
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Dedicated to the Sun God, the Apollo Room was the most luxurious of all. Apollo was also the God whom Louis XIV identified himself with. While the paintings and sculptures remained in this room, the rest of the furniture has disappeared. The silver furniture, in particular a 2.6m high throne, was metled down in 1689 due to a war. The King ordered all the silver furniture to be sent to the mint to be melted down, so as to help defray the cost of war. Instead, a gilded wooden armchair replaced the throne. 

As we walked through all the rooms, I was largely impressed by the detailed drawings found on the ceiling. It must have been difficult doing large scale paintings on the ceiling without suffering from neck aches. The effort taken to complete each painting, regardless of sizes, was definitely commendable.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Honeymoon: The Palace - The Royal Chapel

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*****
Once we reached the front gates of Versailles, we headed to the ticketing office to get the admission tickets. There are 3 types of tickets available; namely The Passport, The Palace and Trianon Palaces & Marie-Antoinette's Estate. The Passport (€18) allows you to discover the Versailles estate in all its glory, enabling you access to all places.
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Since we came all the way here, I argued that it would be more worthwhile to get the Passport. This way, we'll get to visit the whole Palace and the surrounding compound. However, the entire compound span over 2014 acres of land. Thus, we had to time our visit to each destination, taking into consideration traveling time between the places of interest. 
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An audio-guide in 11 languages (included in the ticket price) is available as well. With the map in hand, we began our journey through the Palace :)
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The Royal Chapel greeted the visitors as soon as you enter the Palace. This two-storey palatine chapel is designed based on the model of the Holy Chapel in Paris. The construction of the Chapel first started in 1687 by Jules Hardouin-Mansart. Unfortunately, Jules did not live long enough to see the end of the construction for he died in 1708. His brother-in-law, Robert de Cotte took over the job and ended the work in 1710.
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The Cliquot organ is placed above the alter. Played by the greatest maestros like Francois Couperin, the Music of the Chapel - renowned across Europe - would sing motets each day throughout the entire Church service. Throughout history, all the kings (regardless of Chinese/English/Indian kings) are known to be the Chosen One by God. In French monarchy, the King was chosen by God and through his coronation, the king became God's "lieutenant" on Earth. As such, the paintings and sculptures in the Chapel evoke that idea in a series which start at the nave and ends at the gallery where the king would seat.
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Since Leecher took charge of the camera, I decided to utilise my then-newly-bought iPhone 4S and took tons of pictures, lol! Well, I admit that I did attracted a lot of attention with the Hello-Kitty cover, haha! The angmohs seemed to be surprised that such handphone cases existed!
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I loved all the lights that are found in this Palace! These gold-rimmed lamps lit up the arched passage way, which I think will be an astonishing sight during night time. Then again, we never got to stay till night to witness this :( Perhaps, they would switch of the lights to conserve electricity, lol!
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As we forgot to bring the extra memory card out for this day trip, Leecher had to make sure the camera had sufficient memory to contain the pictures that we'll be taking for the day. Thus, he carefully scanned through the pics to decide what to keep or delete.
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OK, no matther what, pictures of the dear wifey will NOT be deleted. 
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We came across actual documents that lasted through history! I tried to read a few lines but soon gave up. I do admire the cursive handwriting :)  We continued to explore other aspects of the Palace, which I will share more in future posts. 
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