Waterfront Backyard Bliss

I’ve been quite daring in the kitchen lately and recently managed to bake an aromatic red wine chocolate cake and a gorgeous chocolate rye loaf. Both turned out to be ridiculously amazing (even James thought so) and I hope to share the recipes with you soon! Other than baking, this ethics paper I’ve been working on has taken over my life and I don’t like it. I’ve been trying so hard to chain myself to my desk so I can just get it done, but I can’t seem to concentrate. The fact that I’m prone to procrastinating my pants off doesn’t help.

Now that I’ve got that little rant out of the way, here are some pictures I took whilst trying to capture the essence of summer. Most of them are of my backyard. But it’s not really a backyard, is it? It’s more of a waterway. Which is better than a yard, I suppose. Houses on the waterfront tend to have a certain alluring charm about them.

Makeshift Macro: A Blurry Aquatic Story

Because I read somewhere that you can create your own makeshift macro lens by attaching a magnifying glass to the end of your camera lens, I decided to try it out for some fun. I was quite pleasantly surprised when I actually managed to get a few creative close-ups of the fish in my aquarium. Okay, so the shots weren’t perfect, but then again, the fish were darting all over the place and it was hard to get still shots of them! Oh well, imperfections and peculiarities are what make photographs infinitely unique and irreplaceable anyway!

Equipment: Nikon D3100 + NIKKOR 18-55mm f/3.5 lens + a magnifying glass.

Anyway, whimsical experimentation aside, I would like to let you readers know that James and I are leaving for Tokyo early tomorrow morning. Our flight is at 8:00, which means we’ve gotta be at the airport by about 6:00. Oh, I bet you it’ll be freezing at that time! Winter’s here and it gets unbearably cold in the early mornings. Ugh. But, but, but… JAPAN! We’ve waited forever for this trip, and now we finally get to go! I promise to take heaps of fancy pictures while I’m there so that when I return, I’ll have something to blog about! In the meantime, I won’t be updating for the next couple of weeks while I’m away. But watch this space for Japan posts when I get back! :)

Also, tomorrow marks our 16th month together as a sexy couple. Yeah, we’re cool! ;)

A Sneak Peek at Angie’s New Nikon D3100

Hello, readers! I have very exciting news to share with you! A couple of days ago, my daddy bought me a new DSLR camera to play with! Yes, I know, I’m a very spoilt little child. It’s a Nikon D3100 and it came with a twin lens kit for a very good price. An excellent price, in fact. Why? Because, upon getting home and checking the kit and the receipt, I discovered that they made a mistake in charging us for the camera and we ended up paying at least a hundred dollars less for the already-discounted product. Lucky me!

Anyway, I haven’t had many opportunities to gallivant and take awesome pictures with my new toy yet because of university commitments, but I’ve been playing around with it and managed to sneak in a few test shots during my free time.

Majority of the pictures I’ve posted in the past have been taken using my iPhone 4. I’m happy that I’ve got a proper camera now so I can share clearer, higher quality images with you guys! Of course, that doesn’t mean I’ll forget all about my handy iPhone camera and all the convenient filter applications I have! :)

14 Months, A New Aquarium, White Day

So, many things have happened since the last time I blogged. On Thursday, 1st of March, James and I celebrated our 14 months together. I stayed over at his place because his parents were away. As a surprise, I baked him some mocha cinnamon chocolate chip cookies in the shape of little hearts. In return, he surprised me with a batch of sugar cookies (a few of which were cut into dinosaur and heart shapes). They were absolutely lovely and the texture was perfect. They were soft but still retained a bit of crunchiness which I always enjoy in sugar cookies. I liked them so much that I asked for the recipe! James wasn’t too happy about them, however. He didn’t think they were good enough as a monthaversary present, so he actually made me another batch of goodies a few days later to make up for his ‘fail’ sugar cookies, although I didn’t think they were bad at all! His other batch of goodies? Wonderfully fluffy little melt-in-your-mouth shortbread cookies dipped in chocolate and pink icing, which honestly blew me away!

Daytime antics at James’ house. We eat and do funny dances. Most of the time. Well, probably all of the time, if we’re not busy baking/cooking in the kitchen.

On Friday afternoon, we had a wonderful little picnic under the shade of one of the billion large palm trees outside James’ house. We had a really nice view of the water. Halfway through the picnic, Pickles and Bonanza flew into the tree we were under to come squeak hello. Well, they were pretty much observing us with their cute little curious stares. One of them eventually hung upside down on one of the palm fronds and stayed in that position long time just looking at us being all cuddly and kissy. I’ve seen Pickles and Bonanza be very cuddly and kissy towards each other and I bet you they think it’s rather nice to see human couples act the same way too!

  

When we went back inside the house, we hung out downstairs (where no one really hangs out), and had a little short-lived competition at the pool table. I lost. Enough said.

 

On Saturday, 3rd March, mum and dad treated us to a yum cha lunch at Top One. It was an extremely filling and satisfying lunch. I don’t spend much time with my busy parents anymore so it was nice to be out with them. After that, James and I visited the huge pet store at Biggera Waters (Brontasurus) to look at cute little animals. From yellow ducklings to Persian kittens to Japanese quails to Mexican Axolotls, this store always has something to offer! I was quite interested in the fish section. I used to keep fish as a kid and my house back in Singapore had a large 90 gallon (~340 litre) aquarium that was full of amazing tropical fish.

Anyway, when we got home from the pet store, guess what my parents had waiting for me in my bedroom! A brand new aquarium! Alright, so it’s tiny (only about 5 or 6 gallons), but still! I now have a new little fish tank sitting in my bedroom! It’s been a week and a bit since I got the tank now, so it’s currently stocked with a bunch of living creatures, but it took a lot of work getting the tank to the state it’s in now! All the rocks and gravel and planting and water testing! Well, at least there’s fish in there now and they seem happy! :)

As well as the aquarium, my parents brought home a tasty mini Japanese cheesecake for James and I to share! ♥

The 6th of March was Ann’s birthday. There was a little family dinner at Naomi’s house. Naomi prepared an awesome bangers and mash dinner, plus bread and butter pudding for dessert. So full afterwards! For Ann’s birthday present, I got her a set of Crabtree and Evelyn products that came in the prettiest box ever, and also, a pashmina cashmere shawl. Ann is James’ mum, by the way!

 
Left: Ella with her daddy, playing with the mini trampoline!
Right: Mohawk’d Ella and her granddaddy!

13th March (Tuesday), James came over and handed me two adorably wrapped presents as early White Day gifts. He stuck little messages written in Japanese on them, which I thought was very clever and cute. Inside the presents were, of course, chocolate. Lindt chocolate. Yummy, yummy!

Well guys, that’s all I have to blog about. I just want to finish off this blog entry by adding that James and I have booked flights to Japan and we’ll be going in May. We’ll be staying in Yokohama and Tokyo. I am extremely excited! Can’t wait!