Archive | March 2012

Franc Franc, Singapore

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I am probably the last to know, Franc Franc is coming to Singapore! OMG! I just read it on Straits Times today that they are opening first in Jurong at J-Cube then at Vivocity, their largest flagship store in the world! I am hyperventilating!

“Francfranc proposes furniture and sundries that accentuate spaces through coordinating various items. Francfranc offers pleasing, quality items at reasonable prices. Through an extensive lineup of products, our desire is to help customers in creating enriched spaces for an enjoyable daily life. – francfranc.com”

We first saw Franc Franc at Gotemba Premium Outlet in Tokyo and was smitten by their quirky, colorful and cool stuffs for home! If Franc Franc is my favorite store in Gotemba Premium Outlet, it can possibly be my favorite store in Vivocity too! I can’t wait for them to open in May/June! I heard they are having a soft-opening fair at VivoCity’s Atrium from 18 to 24 April 2012! I can’t wait! My one and only wish for Franc Franc is to stay affordable! Just like in Japan!

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Coffee Plantation, Ubud, Bali

On our way up to Kintamani to view Mount Batur – an active volcano, we stopped at Oka Agra Wisata coffee plantation. It is a small little plantation who plants “organic” (non certified but they claimed that they don’t use any pesticide/fertilizer) coffee, cinnamon, spice, vanilla, tobacco, cocoa, fruits and all!

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Coffee fruit before it ripe. Coffee roasting. Coffee with poo in a container.

After a brief preview of their coffee roasting facility we were given the opportunity to taste their local coffee, hot chocolate, ginger tea, lemongrass tea and ginger coffee for free!

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I love their yummy hot chocolate! We paid 50,000 rupiah (approx SGD 7) to try a small cup of Kopi Luwak! The most expensive coffee in the world! The reason why it is so expensive? The bean is eaten and pooped out by Civet cats! We spotted two in their big cage which they captured to show tourist but these cats were taking their afternoon nap! Jason tasted the coffee but didn’t find the taste any special. I guess it really depends on individual taste buds.

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He sampled some of their local fruits which was also from the plantation. We bought a pack of ginger tea and vanilla (we can come in handy during baking). He also bought a pack of Bali cigar despite my violent objection!

We enjoyed the visit and had fun!

The Yoga Barn, Ubud, Bali

One of the Ubud trip highlights is to practice Yoga at The Yoga Barn.

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Nestled among terraced rice paddies, tucked in a corner and away from the street bustles, The Yoga Barn is one of the most popular yoga studio in Ubud, Bali. It is walking distance from the Monkey Forest, after all, Ubud town is tiny.

It is a relaxing and friendly environment and I can imagine myself practicing Yoga every morning if I were to live here. The environment is perfect and serene.

We picked the Hatha Yoga which is something we have been practicing every Sunday afternoon and were glad to learn that it is similar to what we picked up in Singapore.
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The only difference? At Yoga Barn, their Hatha yoga lessons are not merely an exercise but a form of spiritual meditation. It is surprising that all the Caucasians who seem to be regulars at Yoga Barn can also chant and worship the Indian Gods. We are not entirely comfortable given our different beliefs but it was surely an eye-opener.

This place is a haven for yoga enthusiast – novice or experienced, you will love it.

Right within the premise of Yoga Barn, there is a little cafe called Little K. They have powerful juices at an affordable rate. I tried their juice with turmeric and it was an interesting juice. Imagine a sweet juice with curry powder. Ommmmm.

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Chipotle Promoting Sustainable Farming

Spotted this at Suzy’s Tumblr and love it. But she shared that the company mentioned in this clip is owned by McDonalds and I had my doubts on the sustainability of their farming practices. Despite that, I do wish someday, we will all give back to Mother Nature and turn to how farming is practiced in the past. Green and sustainable.

Ubud Market, Bali

We went to Ubud Market which was right opposite Ubud Palace! It is one of the must go for shopping in Ubud since there really isn’t much to shop in Ubud. Haha. Here are some of my favorite things which we spotted at Ubud!

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We bought some Christmas ornaments for our Christmas tree next year! It is around SGD2 each!

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This is absolutely beautiful. I saw it hanging there and was smitten! It was crazy expensive because it takes almost 1 week to craft one of this! I love the turquoise one but it was too big and too expensive, so we bought a size smaller with pink trimming instead. It is the most beautiful sofa throw!

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There are many paintings in the market. I read some where that in Bali, most of them are descendants of the royal family, priest or artist! That explains the many crafts e.g wood carving, stone carving, paintings, silver crafts, batik painting etc. But these paintings are really for the tourist as it lacks character and creativity. We really wanted to buy a painting but we couldn’t find one which we like and is suitable for our place.

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This is a tea light candle holder. Super cute!

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There are many owls in Ubud! Many of various shape, size and color! But I can’t collect them all because of the discipline master at home. He only allows me to buy one. A small one. Boo. I bought the one with a little flower on its head, which reminds me of Bali.

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Many rattan delights! Wanted to buy the little rattan picnic case but I resisted. I regretted! I should have bought one! Maybe I can get Steph to bring one back for me! Haha.

Other than these, we also bought some soaps for my staffs, pillow cases for my in-laws, shell made soap holder and yoga pants for both of us!

Something Borrowed & Something Blue

I am back on my reading track and thanks to CW for lending me two great books from the same author from the same series! I finish reading one during my Bali trip and I couldn’t put the book down. I quickly came home to read on the sequel and gosh, I love them both. Love them but love them differently.

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Something Borrowed is written as the voice of Rachel. The good girl, a hard-working attorney and a faithful friend who is her charmed but self centered best friend Darcy’s maid of honor. Rachel has always taken the backstage, accepting her sidekick role and allowing Darcy to shine. But all that changed on the night of her thirtieth birthday when Rachel confessed her feelings to Darcy’s fiancé and discovered that he feels the same way too. Something Borrowed makes me want to beat up Darcy and cheer for Rachel during their roller coaster love triangle ride! It is a book with an exciting start and an exhilarating reading experience with a slight disappointing ending which left me satisfied but not pleased.

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The second book, Something Blue was written from Darcy’s side of the story. The beginning was painful to read because I dislike Darcy. Darcy was a pain and I can’t stand her nonsense. But I am glad I pressed on. This story is about the transformation of Darcy. It paints the journey of Darcy maturing and moving on with her life and I love the ending. I am certainly pleased with the ending. I love happy ending.

If you love reading chick flick, you must read this. You must. It is that good. I am now curious about the other books written by Emily Giffin.

Santi Mandala Villa & Resort: Inside the Villa

We stayed in the Garden Villa, their basic villa. We asked for a villa with better view and privacy and this is what we got! Our villa has great privacy as there are a few others where people can actually look into your room.

For people who doesn’t enjoy wildlife or has great fear for bugs, Santi Mandala is not for you. We spotted dragonfly, butterfly, lizards, small toads, grasshoppers, geckos, monitor lizards and other random bugs. So far we are doing ok as long as these animals don’t invade into our bedroom. Haha.

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This is our cosy villa hidden at a corner near the valley.

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Within the villa premises, we have a little waterfall! For people who cannot sleep without complete silence, you may need a earplug.

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We told them we are celebrating our anniversary and this is what they prepared for us – a flower bath! How nice! All the toilet facilities are outside in a semi outdoor environment. Perfect for the free spirited or exhibitionist.

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The outdoor shower!

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Our four poster bed with anti-mosquito net! Very important to keep the mozzies away!

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We have a huge balcony to ourselves with a day bed and a place to laze around.

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This is the view from our room! It is part of a cliff! Some calls it bushes but since we love greenery it’s nice to wake up to some greens!

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The roof is made of natural material just like a traditional Balinese house.

Lazing at Pool, Santi Mandala

Half a day passed by doing absolutely nothing. We woke up early for breakfast then went for a quick swim and a tan there after. Took an afternoon nap and now enjoying coffee and afternoon snack. We will be going for a spa in a while before we head off for dinner. Thereafter, we will be watching some movies we brought over in our room and that’s the end of Nyepi day for us. A truly relaxing day.

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A magazine and a Sangria it cannot get any better.

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This is the view we have while tanning.
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Just read that my favourite chick flick writer has a new book! I’m so going to get it!

Review of Garuda Airline

If you wonder why am I blogging during a holiday, it’s because it’s Nyepi Day today and we can only stay within the resort for the entire day! More on that in another post!

It is our first time taking Garuda Airline and there are a few good and bad! It wasn’t as bad as we have imagined it to be.

The Good

  • Airline ground staff was helpful and emphatic. When we asked for better seats because of my injured ankle, they gave us a seat nearer to the entrance and with an empty seat beside us. They also allowed us to board earlier and offered us wheelchair (which I quickly rejected)

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  • The interior is new and clean and they actually has a video on demand, touch screen inflight entertainment system
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  • They provide local newspaper too

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  • Food wasn’t too bad (I picked the safer option, something that sounds like an Indonesian dish)
  • It was a smooth and safe ride

The Bad

  • Their inflight crew wasn’t too friendly, when we asked for ice in plastic bags to reduce the swelling in my ankle, I was given the black face
  • Their inflight movie selection was bad, very bad. Thankfully it was a short ride!

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My poor ankle.

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We are almost there!

Santi Mandala Villa & Resort: Within Resort

We love our resort – Santi Mandala Villa and Resort! Hidden away from the city bustles, our resort is in a small village off Ubud town. The air is clean and you will find yourself in a totally relax mode with birds chirping and crickets creaking. The staffs are friendly and everyone is smiley.

Here are some scenic pictures of the resort! More of our villa and the food in another posts!

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They even have resident ducks living by the river which flows through the resort premises! Amazing.

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Sheldon says.

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Hahaha! I can identify with some of the quotes but I’m not sharing in case people hate me. Lol!

Snails reunion

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Last Sunday afternoon after a rainy morning, we spotted three snails crawling around the edge of our sky garden. Trying to play God, I pluck them out from their various paths and out them together. Thinking back, maybe the snails are trying to get away from one another but unfortunately they met again.

Sometimes when we try with all our might to escape from someone/something, God does that to play a prank (in a form of life lessons) on us too! Heh.

Had a busy and bad day! Thankfully during lunch I bought these pretty stickers to cheer me up!

On other news, thank God for the grace and mercy showed upon Jason! Hopefully you have something nice planned for him!

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Heading to Ubud, Bali

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We are going for a short getaway to Bali on 22 – 25 March 2012, next Thursday to Sunday. Nope, we are not there for the saucy bikini scene at Kuta (even thought I would love to visit one day), we are heading to Ubud, away from the beach line and into the rice paddy fields and forest trails. It will be a relaxing trip, with spa, yoga, forest trail and hanging out at tiny cafes.  It’s going to be an Eat, Pray, Love trip! Haha. Any tips or recommendations on things to do or eat?

//We promised each other to at least go on a short and a long trip every year together and I’m glad we have been doing that all these years!

A Play: Cooling Off Day

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We attended the play – Cooling Off day and had a great laugh at some serious topics echoed by the grievances / opinions of the heatlanders.

The second run of this sold-out hit of the Man Singapore Theatre Festival 2011 is equally popular with full house audience on a weekday! The essence of this play is formed by the responses of the interviews playwright Alfian Sa’at collected in the months leading up to the 2011 GE. With these interviews where some are optimistic, some riotously frank, some fearful, some painfully honest – it captured the emotions on ground before/during/after the 2011 GE.

I had a great laugh but after the laugh, I reflected on some of the topics discussed and left with a heavy heart.

// That’s all for now. I shall see my mood for the other posts! Hah.

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Their God-Mother.

My sister and I attended CW’s piano ensemble performance! Even though I can’t quite appreciate classical musical but to see my close friend’s talent and achievement at her best makes me happy too! I am so making her the god-mother of my future kid just so she can teach him/her piano lesson at a heavily subsidized rate! Hah.

// On a side note, I think all 3 SSS girls must be his/her god-mothers! Haha. One is his/her dad’s favourite bridesmaid, one for all the shopping and dining treat and one for piano lessons! Haha.

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The Cake Book.

Remember a while back I researched a list of cake books which looks good and has got positive reviews online? I realized that it is going to cost SGD60 to buy from Kino and USD30 to ship them in via Amazon. So I got my local book distributor (which can be cheaper) to hunt for these titles and there is one hit! She gave me the book as a gift in the end! Yippee! Now I need a good reason to motivate me to bake!

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Staycation at parent’s home.

I went on a staycation at my parent’s home two weeks ago when J is off town! Glad to spend some quality time catching up with family! I missed my sister’s nonsense and anal character! Haha.

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I didn’t bring any outside clothes during my staycation and so I had a whole wardrobe full of clothes to pick from! My sister’s wardrobe! Heh.

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To celebrate my stay, we headed to Ban Leong at Upper Thomson for yummy food!

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In my sister’s words, “In Singapore, we take pictures of food instead of human”. Haha.

Dear SbR readers,

Today you will be in for a treat! After working overnight till 6am last night, I am free from work today! Yay! So you will be expecting the SbR blog post diarrhea today! Stay tuned!

XOXO

renes