Singapore Botanic Gardens – For the Love of Orchids (And Other Colourful Things)

Singapore Botanic Gardens 2016 Singapore Botanic Gardens 2016 Singapore Botanic Gardens 2016

One should really only attempt a serious visit to the Singapore Botanic Gardens on a cloudy day, or in the evening. If the sun’s out, you’ll probably bake to death trying to get from one end to the other. That said, if you can find a cool day to pay your visit, you’ll find that it is well worth your while, especially if you like the colour green or have the patience to seek out and observe local wildlife.

Singapore Botanic Gardens 2016 Singapore Botanic Gardens 2016

Other than an abundance of nature, you will find no shortage of active old men with knobbly knees wearing fluorescent yellow trainers doing rounds like they’ve been born to run marathons, no shortage of cute Caucasian babies in prams being pushed around by stay-at-home expat mums, and definitely no shortage of speckled pigeons, noisy mynas, bushy squirrels and rainbow-feathered roosters flitting about the trees and shrubbery. You may very well chance upon a wild monitor lizard – can’t miss ’em, they’re big, lumbering, lazy things. There are also various themed gardens scattered around the sprawling grounds, as well as a trio of lakes. On weekends, you may be lucky enough to catch a live music performance at the Symphony Stage.

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The National Orchid Garden

For just five bucks, you get to enter one of the most intriguing flower gardens you’ll probably ever see in your life: the National Orchid Garden. You come across various plants here, including various species of carnivorous pitcher plants, a huge collection of exotic bromeliads, lots of unusual air plants and, of course, dozens and dozens of different orchids. To be clear, the National Orchid Garden offers a permanent showcase of the largest display of orchids in the world. You’ll find over 1000 species and 2000 hybrids here thanks to the Garden’s orchid breeding program, launched way back in 1928.

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Singapore’s national flower is an orchid (namely, the Vanda Miss Joaquim hybrid), hence the obsession. I mean, remember I blogged about that crazy orchid garden growing smack in the middle of Changi Airport? Yeah, this country loves its orchids. There’s also a fascinating climate controlled ‘cool house’ you can enter (to seek some respite from the sweltering weather) and a Celebrity and VIP garden where you can find orchid hybrids named after people like Nelson Mandela, Prince William, Jackie Chan and Andrea Bocelli to commemorate their visit.

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Sentosa Island – Chinese New Year Decorations at Resorts World {2015 vs. 2016}

Sentosa Island Beach, Singapore Sentosa Boardwalk, Singapore Sentosa Island, Singapore

Well, I think I’ve kept them sitting on my laptop for long enough. I found a bunch of vibrant photos I took during our multiple visits to Sentosa back in January 2015, so I figured: why not compare them with the photos I took at Sentosa just last week? Here, I present to you the Chinese New Year decorations at Resorts World, taken during the year of the goat and the year of the monkey. It’s like a past versus present juxtaposition project! You’ll also find many pictures of the lovely views from Sentosa Boardwalk and Palawan Beach in this gallery. Continue reading

[Lanes & Alleyways] A Quick Guide to Melbourne’s Ever-Evolving Street Art

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With so many nooks, crannies, concrete walls and innocent dumpsters to spice up, the inner city of Melbourne is a living canvas for restless and relentless creatives. With several narrow lanes and back alleys dedicated to quality street art (and less aesthetic wall tagging), there is without a doubt a whole lot of character and charm between the claustrophobic walls of the CBD. The famous Hossier Lane is a prime example of this fervent spray paint culture. Countless other hidden streets are peppered with comical caricatures and eye-popping, punch-in-the-face masterpieces — AC/DC Lane, with its ‘loud’ art, is a particular tourist favourite, while Rankins Lane offers a more subtle vibe. Continue reading

The Village Markets @ Burleigh Heads State School, Gold Coast

The Village Markets, Gold Coast The Village Markets, Gold Coast The Village Markets, Gold Coast

One thing I regret not doing much of during my 11 long years in Australia is paying the local markets frequent enough visits. The lack of attention and negligence on my behalf is something that I’m still kicking myself over to this day. However, I am proud to say that on my final weekend on the Gold Coast, when the summer heat gave not an ounce of respite and the mercury soared straight past 36°C, James and I decided to rock up to one the GC’s most beloved weekend markets: The Village Markets. Continue reading

Herbed Parmesan & Sea Salt Grissini (Italian Breadsticks)

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We had to use the bread flour, the yeast, the parmesan. We were going away on a long, long adventure and the pantry at home still housed a plethora of baking ingredients that had to be taken care of, lest they go unused for months, maybe years. Our decision to make a long-term move to sunny Singapore gave us reason to make these lovely grissini sticks. They were the very last thing we baked before I flew the coop on Christmas Eve (with James to follow in mid-January). Yes, to a different country altogether. Goodbye, Australia. I’m back in my homeland now and, ironically, am starting to feel a little homesick. Also, I am sad to report that the apartment here does not actually have an oven (yet), which means you will not be seeing any cakes or cookies on this blog for awhile. Continue reading

The SEA LIFE Melbourne Aquarium – A Great Place to Beat the Summer Heat

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If you ever find yourself in need of a place to escape the horrid summer heat of Melbourne, pop into SEA LIFE Melbourne Aquarium for a few hours and only venture back outside when you think the sun’s gone down. Oops, nope, my mistake — in summer, darkness doesn’t come till 9pm. That’s long after the aquarium closes for the day (6pm). No matter, it’s still worth a visit if you’re anywhere near the city. Their star attraction seems to be the penguin enclosure, found right at the end of your journey – they save the best for last. Oh, and they also have critters that you would not think to find at an aquarium, including tarantulas, lizards and snakes. Continue reading

The Grain Store @ Flinders Lane, Melbourne // Home of Breakfast Hunters & Coffee Lovers

The Grain Store, Flinders Lane The Grain Store, Flinders Lane The Grain Store, Flinders Lane

Wednesday arrives and greets us with eye-searingly clear skies. The sun is strong and the Melburnian city streets are quiet, save for small gatherings of locals decked in business attire sitting outside hole-in-the-wall coffee shops. We find Flinders Lane without difficulty and eventually make a stop at The Grain Store, a breakfast place I’d read about on Townske the night before. We are a bit overwhelmed by what we find. Continue reading

Colours + Textures of Changi Airport’s Orchid Garden // Singapore

Singapore Changi Airport Orchid Garden Singapore Changi Airport Orchid Garden Singapore Changi Airport Orchid Garden

Whether it be an indoor butterfly garden, a busy little koi pond filled with lucky coins, or an outdoor sunflower garden, Singapore’s Changi Airport never fails to have pockets of nature at each terminal. This brilliant orchid garden, located in Terminal 2, features over 30 species carefully arranged by colour and shape to represent the four elements of nature: earth, water, fire and air. The vibrant plants surround a pond full of fish, forming an organic-looking landscape within the bustling confines of the airport. Continue reading

Friday Favourites { 4 December 2015 }

Friday Favourites 4 December 2015

1 | With Christmas on its merry way, I can’t help but think of special things to bake. Tieghan’s salted chocolate & marzipan babka at Half Baked Harvest really sets the bar.
2 | I have a love of good ol’ chocolate-y brownies. These rosemary rye ones at Kitchen Vignettes have every right to sit pretty on any holiday feast table.
3 | Seawolf‘s small online collection of sterling silver jewels are all distinctly mystical. Absolutely enchanted by their dainty necklaces.
4 | With their refreshingly unconventional designs, ToniMay‘s sterling silver gem stone rings have got me swooning. The Pegasus Ring is my current ultimate favourite.
5 | The unique marriage of wood and crystal makes some sort of magical sense, as artfully demonstrated by The Crystal Armour‘s organic jewellery. From rings to pendants, they make the earth’s best wares a part of our lives.