Glittering Rocks & Snazzy Geodes @ Yamanashi Gem Museum, Kawaguchiko

Yamanashi Gem Museum Yamanashi Gem Museum Yamanashi Gem Museum

James understands how much of a crazy gemstone lover I am. He was incredibly patient with me as I took my time browsing the Yamanashi Gem Museum’s decent rock collection. They have a lot of shiny jewellery pieces on display, but I was most interested in their raw, roughly cut stones. I don’t care much for over-polished, “brilliant cut” jewels because they all start to look the same (or at least aim to look similar) once they undergo that process – the same refraction, the same transparency, the same sort of colour, the same sheen. At least in their more natural forms, gemstones retain their individual character and beauty. Well, that’s what I think anyway. Continue reading

First Impressions of Kawaguchiko, Yamanashi Prefecture

Kawaguchiko Kawaguchiko Kawaguchiko

Our final morning in Tokyo greeted us with beautiful blue skies – a good sign for our trip to Kawaguchiko. From Asakusa, we made our way to Shinjuku Station on the Ginza and Yamanote lines, and then headed over to the Keio bus station to buy our tickets. When we arrived at Kawaguchiko Station, we were surprised at how much cooler it was compared to Tokyo. A quick Google told us that it’s situated at an altitude of 800 metres, which certainly explained the cool summer breeze. Despite the almost chilly weather, we still bought ourselves some freshly made strawberry ice cream from a cute little van outside the station. Continue reading

Temple Hopping in Kamakura {Engaku-ji & Meigetsu-in}

Kamakura Kamakura Kamakura

Basically, the weather in Japan during summer is annoyingly unpredictable. Prepare yourself for rain if you’re thinking of spending the day outdoors. And if the skies aren’t crying (or aren’t looking like they’re about to), it’ll most likely be stiflingly hot and humid. On the first day of July, the four of us (TJ, Luke, James and I) went on a day trip to the coastal town of Kamakura (located south of Tokyo) to experience firsthand the temperamental rainy season of Japan while going on a temple binge. The rain did put a damper on our visit, but we still managed to see two main temples (Engaku-ji 円覚寺 and Meigetsu-in 明月院), enjoy some traditional Japanese summer desserts, and have a filling lunch in town. Continue reading

7 Cool Things To Do In And Around Shibuya & Harajuku, Tokyo

Following our morning stroll around Asakusa and Ueno, James and I migrated over to the outrageously busy shopping district of Shibuya to have lunch with Luke and TJ at a rather pretty organic food café, then spent the rest of the afternoon with them wandering hip Harajuku. We got ourselves some bubble tea, walked the length of Takeshita Street, wandered Yoyogi Park, visited the Meiji Jingu shrine, explored the zelkova-lined avenue of Omotesandō, and even visited a rabbit café! Continue reading

Amisfield Winery & Bistro, Queenstown NZ

Amisfield Bistro Amisfield Bistro Amisfield Bistro

Growing up, I visited Queenstown with family quite often – sometimes multiple times a year. Despite all Queenstown has to offer, from extreme sports to beautiful scenery, I was always most excited about visiting Amisfield’s Winery & Bistro for a long lunch. I have very fond memories of sitting outside under the warm spring sun, playing pétanque with family between courses of incredible food. Of course, the surroundings look fantastic in winter too and I was glad to have Angie with me this time around to savour the “Amisfield experience”. Continue reading

A Visual Guide to Asakusa & Ueno {Or How We Started Our 2015 Japan Trip}

Senso-ji Temple, Asakusa Senso-ji Temple Prayers Asakusa Koi Pond

When James proposed a 20-day travelling spree to three very different locations – Japan, Taiwan and Hong Kong – I was sceptical of my ability to handle such a long trip. Especially knowing how much we tend to do in a single day when abroad. We’re the type to set out early and not return to our hotel until past 10pm, which results in us having perpetual muscle aches and sore feet from too much exploring. Sometimes we even fall sick from this overexertion. But despite my initial apprehension, I caved and let James plan the entire trip (for which I am eternally grateful). We’re now one week into Japan and I’ve got no regrets so far! We have seen and done so many amazing things. I’m stupidly excited to share! Continue reading

Maple Peanut Butter & Jelly Muffins {vegan}

Peanut Butter & Jelly Muffins Peanut Butter & Jelly Muffins

Konnichiwa! The boy and I are in the land of the rising sun and we’re loving the balmy heat of summer and the re-immersion into our much-loved second home (or third – I guess Singapore can be considered our second). This must be James’ fifth time holidaying in Japan (third for me) and I think we’re now very well acquainted with Tokyo. This time we’re staying in the Asakusa area, which is a change from our usual base in Shibuya. Tokyo’s all very well and good, but I am most looking forward to our stay in Shirakawa-go (an incredible historic village) and Fujikawaguchiko (where we’ll get a perfect view of that famous active stratovolcano, Mount Fuji). Gonna have a field day with my camera for suuuure. Just hope the weather will be good. It’s the rainy season, apparently. Continue reading

Hitting the Snow at Coronet Peak

Coronet Peak Coronet Peak

To James, I asked: “What is Coronet Peak to you?” To which he replied: “It’s the closest ski resort to Queenstown. Pretty easy to get to – the drive up is much easier compared to other snowfields. But the snow itself is generally not that great. It’s an acceptable place to ski if you are lazy and don’t want to go further.”

I can agree with half his assessment, but I am no snow sport expert, so I cannot give my honest opinion on the quality of Coronet’s powder or user-friendliness. I can, however, tell you with absolute certainty that the views of the surroundings from up there are quite spectacular on a clear day. Continue reading

Low Carb Crepes with Strawberries, Blueberries & Walnuts {gluten free}

Gluten Free Low Carb Crepes Gluten Free Low Carb Crepes

As you’ve probably noticed by now, we’re back home on the Gold Coast after our short stint in Queenstown. I know, depressing isn’t it? I’m already missing that ridiculous cold and million-dollar view. What’s after New Zealand, I hear you ask? We’re heading to Japan next Monday (yes, Japan again), followed immediately by Taiwan and Hong Kong! We’ll be gone for a good three weeks, but I’ll try my best to keep this blog updated. Anyway, more on that some other time. Today, I have a LOW CARB, GLUTEN FREE crepe recipe for you! Continue reading