Back in November 2017 (I think it was November, my memory’s fuzzy), we had the opportunity to stay a night in a pretty quaint Airbnb loft. The “Fitzroy Loft” (as the listing is called) is found in one of the elegant colonial shophouses that make up the colourful block along Petain Road in the hipster neighbourhood of Jalan Besar. The shophouse itself has multiple floors and bedrooms, but we stayed on the fourth floor and attic, the double-storey space of which contained a living area and two bathrooms. Here’s the actual listing on Airbnb. I didn’t take too many photos of our Airbnb space (I don’t remember why), but the bedroom one level below us was empty and drenched in beautiful natural light from the window, so I sneaked a few pics. Not sure if it’s also listed on Airbnb, but you can try your luck! The communal area downstairs is a delight–there’s an indoor pond and some very cool art on display. Everything in the shophouse screamed eclectic charm.
We stayed there on a work night, but we still found some time to visit Two Bakers at 88 Horne Road, an artisanal bakery-cafe that specialises in pastries and desserts, alongside good coffee and some decent fresh food options. We didn’t stay long, but it was a nice place to catch a break.
It’s surprising how much you can learn in a week. I’ve been staying in Switzerland, in the municipality of Conthey, with an incredibly lovely couple in their incredibly beautiful house up in the mountains. I’ve been lucky enough to be sent on this kinda-sorta immersion trip that combines business with pleasure, so I’m really grateful for this opportunity. I’ve seen so much, discovered so much, experienced so much, all in just a small amount of time. So far, I’ve seen the magnificent landmark castles of Sion, driven through the impressive rock tunnels along the road to Derborence, admired the black Hérens cattle Valais is famous for, encountered wildflowers bursting with colour and life, marvelled at the emerald green vineyards stretching as far as the eye can see, tasted local cheeses and sampled plenty of Swiss chocolate, even travelled through the Val d’Hérens and Val d’Anniviers alpine valleys to explore the little villages… it’s really been a dream.
As you can probably imagine, I’ve taken hundreds and hundreds of photographs. It’s been a painstaking process to choose the best ones to feature, but here’s a tiny collection to showcase the beauty of what I’ve seen so far! These are mostly photos from my first day in and around Conthey (some taken elsewhere, but nearby). Once my journey in Switzerland is complete (17 days away from home, and I’m still not done yet!), I’ll have a bit more time to upload the rest of my collection and write about other regions. For now, enjoy!
James surprised me with a 3D2N staycation at Sofitel Singapore Sentosa Resort & Spa over the Mother’s Day weekend. Nope, I’m not a mum (ha!), but it was my birthday on Friday. 28 (yuck). He’d already had it planned before he discovered I had to make a work trip out of the country to stay at a Shangri-la resort for 5D4N just immediately before my birthday weekend. That meant an entire week away from my comfy bed. It’s okay, I didn’t complain.
Holy heck, finally. A stay at Sofitel Singapore Sentosa Resort & Spa. James knows me so well. I’d been gushing about how they have peacocks just wandering about the resort grounds, by the poolside, at breakfast, just outside the guest room gardens… James even booked a room that led straight out to the ground floor gardens so we got to make friends with this particular peacock who kept coming back to our little porch. Ahhhhhh! I wanted to take him home with me!
Everything from the fairy lights in the trees at night, to the friendly bartender we met at Le Bar who takes pride in preparing the more elaborate mock/cocktails from the menu, to all the water features everywhere — not to mention the super easy access to the beach from behind The Cliff — made this stay really lovely. The selection at Kwee Zeen’s daily breakfast buffet is pretty amazing, too! Plenty of pastries to choose from, and a smorgasbord of local and international fare. Sit on the veranda and you get to watch the peacocks and peahens wander around. Just try not to feed them human food!
Would I stay here again? Heck yeah.
We enter the warmly-lit cafe and are quite taken aback by the buzz and energy rolling off the crowd in waves. The waitress at the door motions for us to follow her once she gathers it’s just two of us she needs to seat, while the family of four in front are told to wait for a bigger table – they’re all taken. We weave our way through the packed interior, past tables of boisterous mid-twenties and hungry expats, and sit by the window in what I deem an appropriate spot for food photography. Plenty of natural light, sturdy wood benchtop. Perfect.
The cafe is clearly in vogue with the cafe-going crowd this side of the city. From the folks who brought us the likes of Curious Palette on Prinsep Street, it’s really no surprise. Perhaps it is the minimalist interior, with its touch of chic rustic homeliness, that keeps everyone coming back. Or, it could very well be the food dished out here — hearty and healthy with a good pinch of aesthetic finesse. One thing’s for sure: whatever Strangers’ Reunion is doing, it’s clearly doing it right.
Your heart will be stolen by the luscious flavours of the Crabcake Reunion, with its eye-catching presentation and impressive list of ingredients that make up the stack: ribbons of asparagus, a delightfully fluffy crab croquette, creamy avocado chunks, a poached egg that oozes perfectly, aburi chive hollandaise, and a smattering of ikura and micro herbs for colour.
Thirsty? You will never taste anything more decadent than their bottled Sea Salt Chocolate – an elixir for sweet tooths who like their sweet treats with a twist. Creamy coffee lovers will no doubt want to make return trips to pick up orders of White Magic (it will heal any ailment).
Strangers’ Reunion is located at 35 Kampong Bahru Road. Closest MRT Station? Outram Park. If you have the time, have a little wander around the area after brunch. Neil Road, Everton Road and Blair Road are littered with old shophouses. You’ll find everything from antique stores to art dealers to hidden cafes. Walk a little further and you’ll find a few residential blocks and plenty of greenery. Spottiswoode Park Road and the nearby HDBs are home to some stray kitties. Blocks 106 and 107 have great views of the Keppel Harbour and all the colourful containers that come to port.
It’s been a long time since you’ve last seen me here, and daaaang, so much has happened since! This year has been a roller coaster ride so far. Now that I’ve got a smidgen of time, I wanted to update the blog with a quick travel post about a recent road trip I embarked on this week. Just covering half of the adventure for now — snapshots from Busselton down to Augusta. I’ll try to cover Augusta to Albany at a later date! And just a quick note about our driving soundtrack: it included the likes of Mitch King, The Black Keys, and City & Colour, among others.
We started the drive on Monday, from Perth down to Busselton. Yeah, we made the famous jetty — longest in the Southern Hemisphere at an impressive 1.8 kilometres — our very first stop. On the way there, we passed beautiful wildflowers of all colours, cows and woolly sheep grazing by slow-moving rivers, mobs of kangaroos hanging around (and when I say “mob”, I mean about 300 kangaroos in a group, being lazy and not doing much), tranquil wetlands shrouded in mist, wild lilies growing in clumps under low-hanging trees, and even a number of one-hump camels by the side of the road. The flora of Western Australia is quite different to South Queensland (where I grew up). It was certainly an eye-opener of a drive!
Continue reading “Road Trip Through Australia’s Gorgeous South West – Spring 2017”
There are so many things we loved about The Datai Langkawi —
The fact that it is surrounded by lush virgin rainforest. The abundance of wildlife, including tame dusky leaf monkeys and cheeky macaques intent on climbing through the guestroom balcony window. The constant cicada noises that echo through the surrounding forest. The balmy sea breezes that cocoon you in tropical bliss. The sound of calm waves washing along the shore by the Beach Club. The sunbirds and swallows and hornbills that drop in to say hello. The resort’s dark wood furniture and modern touches here and there. The pretty orchid blossoms that are thoughtfully placed throughout the bedroom and bathroom. The little green frogs in the lilypad pond by the Lobby Lounge that insist on hopping all over the place — up pillars and down corridors. The panoramic view of the Thai islands belonging to Tarutao National Park in the distance (we were that close to the border!). The two swimming pools — the smaller ‘family’ pool by the beach and the larger one that the lobby overlooks. The fancy breakfasts each morning at The Dining Room (think DIY cocktails and à la minute signature dishes, among a decent buffet spread). The much-needed peace and quiet. And, as a cherry on top: the fact that there is high-speed wifi pretty much everywhere. Including down at the beach, and at every far-reaching restaurant of this sprawling place, so you can do your work wherever you are!
Continue reading “The Datai Langkawi: The Tropical Paradise You’ve Always Dreamed Of”