Moodboard for West Ridges master room

The layout of my master room is a narrow rectangle, leaving us with just a handful of placement options for our bed and wardrobe. As apartment sizes are getting smaller these days, IDs are being creative and offer ‘walk-in wardrobe’ styles to cater to young couples influenced by Western styles. However, these ‘walk-in wardrobes’ are not real walk-ins in the sense that you don’t utilize a whole room for your wardrobe. Instead you position your wardrobe to face an inner wall and your bed will be facing the back of the wardrobe.

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One of the contractors I met proposed this to me and I rejected this idea even before he could finish his sentence. The room is already small as it is – what I need is to make the space look bigger, not smaller by building an additional ‘wall’. Besides, if I were to go along with this pseudo walk-in wardrobe, the wardrobe area will not have any daylight, and it means that I will have to position a light in the narrow wardrobe corridor and switch on the lights every time I access that area. I like naturally bright and airy spaces, not artificially lighted areas.

So I was left with only 2 options to place my wardrobe: either against the toilet wall or perpendicular to it. We will be doing 1.8m of carpentry work, and hopefully it will be sufficient. If not, that just means we need to do a KonMari to clear our clothes *can’t stand mess and clutter*.

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One thing we both agree on is mirror wardrobe doors. Some old folks may advise against it because of fengshui reasons, but our current bedroom in Bremen has mirror doors facing our bed in a L-shape and we sleep just fine. Having multiple mirror doors also makes our room look bigger and we don’t have to share a teeny mirror when we are getting ready for work/to go out.

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Photo credits: Go Modern

If space permits, we will also get a low drawer chest to store our linen and knick knacks. It will also double up as a dresser since I can easily place a mirror on top of it (or save money and just use my wardrobe doors).

 

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Photo credits: Pinterest

I also thought of placing the bed against the window because the space there fits the bed perfectly, leaving 50cm on each side for bedside tables, plus HDB had installed the powerpoints on both sides of those walls – perfect for charging our mobile phones without having to use extension plugs.

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Photo credits: pilotproject.org

However, ZH is quite against the idea… is it really that bad an idea?

 

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Busan / Seoul 2017 – Part 2

Day 2 is the highlight of Busan as we headed our way to Haedong Yonggungsa, a temple built by the sea. I think the temple is included in Singapore tour packages as we encountered groups of Singaporean tourists (they came in a tour bus).

Lunch was at Gijang market – I had wanted to eat crabs this trip and I read that Gijang market is a better choice than Jalgachi market, the latter being better for sashimi. We walked around and compared prices before deciding on a restaurant (King Crab House) that offered us a 3kg king crab for 139000 won. It was prepared and steamed on the spot, and for a cover charge of 3000 won per person, we were served a variety of banchans (delicious steamed egg!!) together with our main dish. Do not miss out on the fried rice served in the crab shell after you’re done eating the legs. Though we were feeling quite full, we somehow managed to stuff the fried rice into our full bellies. That’s what you do when you are faced with tasty food – do not waste anything.

Besides crabs, Gijang market is also a haven for seafood. It was quite a culture shock for me to see fresh fish and seafood being sold in tubs and tanks out  the open (it did smell a little, though not as much as in Singapore, probably due to the cold weather). You could also see stacks of dried laver being sold, starting from 100pcs.

After lunch, we took a bus to Haeundae Beach and just walked around, waiting for the sun to set (we had plans to eat at the pojangmacha there). There were families feeding the seagulls with prawn crackers… I stayed far away from them because the seagulls are too overwhelming for me.

We headed to the food cart ‘village’ after the sun had set, in search of food. Pojangmachas are usually drinking holes serving tze-char styled food. However, as Busan is near the sea, the pojangmachas at Haeundae only had seafood to offer. Our seafood ‘quota’ was maxed out for the day after the king crab lunch so we decided to skip the pojangmachas and went to Gwangalli beach instead.

We had read that the Gwangandaegyo bridge at Gwangalli was a highlight and so we headed there directly. There were also several restaurants and cafes facing the water – I’d imagine it being a hotspot for couples and tourists during summer period. We were feeling a little peckish by now but we wanted cheap street food. So we headed back to Nampo and had dinner near our hotel.

We initially only ordered gimbap and a spring onion pancake to share… however as we stood there eating, I was facing the tteokbokki tray. It looked absolutely enticing and I lost the battle – we added one portion of tteokbokki to our dinner menu at the end.

Shortly after we returned to our hotel, ZH told me he was craving for chimaek. So we googled online to find a fried chicken shop and thankfully there was one down the street from us. Upon reaching the shop, I realized that it’s a franchise shop of Cultwo chicken – I love watching them on ‘Hello Counselor’!

We ordered takeaway for ‘half-half’ which is half portion of original flavor and half portion of spicy flavor. As you can imagine, it was too much for us to finish especially after the street food dinner.

Total expenses for Day 2: 198,000 won

Busan / Seoul 2017 – Part 1

Our original plan was to do our home trip in October 2017 and then go to Norway for Christmas, but in August, we changed our minds and decided to go back to Asia for Christmas since we also had to collect the keys to our new apartment in December. Not wanting to stay in SG for 2 whole weeks, we planned to go to Korea for Christmas, which wasn’t the best choice we have made as we have been so busy the week before we departed Germany, and we had full day schedules during our time in Singapore, we were really exhausted when we were in Korea. Nevertheless, we enjoyed ourselves as we can understand the language (not perfect, but at least our Korean is better than our German!) and we just love Korean food.

Both of us have not been to Busan before so it was a major part of our trip. Not many airlines fly direct to Busan, so we had to take China Eastern airlines and transit in Shanghai. Urgh… I would not do that again… they had a new system for transit travelers which was not 100% working and I was one of those unlucky ones because the order of my name and surname was different on my passport and boarding pass. The customs staff were not friendly at all.

But my mood was instantly lifted when we arrived in Busan! The weather was perfect – clear blue skies, fresh air and it wasn’t too cold! We stayed at Aventree hotel in Busan – getting there was relatively easy: take the airport bus (6000 won per person) and alight at Nampo-dong. From there, it was a short walk of 5 minutes to Y’Z Park Mall (the hotel is located above the mall).

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Our room wasn’t ready when we arrived at noon so we left our luggage there and headed out to lunch. Mr Goh wanted to eat pizza at Ijaemo Pizza, a popular pizza place near the hotel. We ordered a small Special Bites pizza to share and the bill came up to 29000 won, including a hot tea. Look at that stringy cheese!

 

After lunch, we took a walk around the area before heading back to the hotel to rest. The location of the hotel was really good, being near BIFF Square and Gukje market. We are more foodies than shoppers so it didn’t bother us that Seomyeon (the main shopping belt) is quite far from us. The famous Ssiat Hotteok (1200 won each) was just a short walk from the hotel, and we may have indulged a little too often 😉

 

For our first dinner in Busan, we opted to have street food, because street food in Korea is the best! We started at Gukje market (so interesting with so many household products… an entire shop front stocked with POTS of all sizes!) and had a stick of fishcake each (1000 won per stick). That broth was so comforting in the cold! We walked further and ended up at a street near our hotel, with many food carts. We stopped for some fried dumplings, and due to my rusty Korean, I ended up ordering 2 portions instead of 1 (2000 won per portion of 5 dumplings). Oops… I shall indicate using my fingers instead. The dumplings were nice, but 10 dumplings were just too much for us.

 

I also came across this bakery which looks interesting and bought a loaf of bread for breakfast the next morning. I fell in love with the soft and fluffy bread and ended up buying a loaf of bread almost every day.

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I wanted to do my hair in Korea and had originally planned to go to Juno Hair, Hwamiju or Soo Casa, but the locations were all quite far from me, and I had read that they’re expensive, so we decided on Liso Hair instead after seeing its price banner. It was also very convenient for us as it was just across the road from the hotel. Mr Goh had a haircut, while I cut my hair and also did a type of hair perm called Volume Magic. The cost for the 2 of us only came up to 85000 won – super affordable! If we were to do the same in Singapore, it would have been at least SGD300.

Total expenses for Day 1: 138,100 won

Plans for 2018

This post will be a mish mash of topics since I haven’t blogged in ages and there are so many things on my mind lately.

Life in Germany 2018

I’m glad to say I’ve managed to survive 2 years of working and living in a small German village, and finally done with my work contract. However Mr Goh is still not done with his project work, so we will not be able to return home until August 2018. I’ll be a housewife for 8 months, but I’m not complaining at all. In fact, I’m actually happy about it because then I’ll have enough time for myself (I’ve started Psawyer Kitchen!!) and to coordinate with our chosen ID for our house renovations.

West Ridges

Yup, we have finally gotten the keys to our flat and I’m actually still in Singapore as I’m writing this because I wanted to finalize our ID/contractor for our renovations, as well as make a selection on appliances & furniture to purchase. Once the items go on offer, I can ‘activate’ my parents to make a deposit on my behalf to secure the offer prices. Some ‘friendly’ people around me say to just purchase the items when I’m back in September since there are many sale periods in Singapore – BUT why pay more when I can save by planning my purchases properly? The mid-year GSS usually has better deals than smaller sales such as National Day sales etc.

I reckon I’ll be spending a lot of time trawling websites like Taobao and Castlery, making a list of all the items that we will be needing (I have to be mindful of what we already own in Germany and will be shipping back to Singapore, to prevent myself from buying unnecessary multiples).

I don’t mind looking at stuff like washing machines and fridges, but it gives me a headache to compare aircon specifications and lighting. Oh my goodness. My dad is more excited about these stuff than I am, and he is already starting to search on Taobao for lighting, bed frames, sofa etc. Er… thanks dad, but I will not buy bed frames and sofa from Taobao, no matter how cheap they are. I very much prefer to buy such things only after I have seen the actual product and tested it. When I told him my preferences, he got a little huffy and puffy about how ‘rich’ I am now to disregard buying things from China. Gosh… it’s my place, I should be able to make my own decisions on where to get my furniture from right?

Jonghyun’s suicide

At the end of 2017, we learnt that Jonghyun from SHINee committed suicide due to depression. To be honest, I was really shocked (I think everyone who knows Kpop feels the same) and I still cannot believe it. I kept really quiet upon reading the news about his suicide, and tried to wish it was fake news, but more and more articles reporting the funeral surfaced.

I think it was probably about 2 weeks ago that I finally read those articles in detail, I started to binge watch Youtube videos of him performing in the past years (I stopped following Kpop so closely after I met Mr Goh) – so much that I would find myself tearing up when I realised that we won’t be able to see any new performances from him anymore.

He was my favorite member from the group and super talented in so many ways. I remember being so crazy over him/SHINee at the height of my K-pop craze that my dad would even know Ring Ding Dong.

I hope he is at peace now…


Europe city hopping: Prague attractions

Truth be told, Prague has never been on my travel list. It always seems that there are other more interesting and exciting places to visit but of course I cannot go to all of them for budget and time reasons. We had 2 weeks off work last Christmas but we decided to spend one week traveling and the other week in Germany because most of the attractions would be closed over the Christmas/New Year period. With only one week, and not willing to spend too much on our holiday (since we’re planning a big one for 2017), we decided on Prague. We heard it was lovely from some of our friends who have visited the city before.

When we knew we were moving to Germany 2 years ago, we heard many comments like “oh lucky you, you can travel to *this place* and *that place*”. That is true, but not without spending a lot of money. The distance is relatively near, but it doesn’t mean that transport is cheap as peas, neither is the travel time. Case in point: Prague is nearer to Bremen, than Singapore, obviously. However if we were to take the bus, it would take us close to 13 hours, 8 hours by train, or pay triple the cost of a bus ticket and take the plane for 45 mins.

But after visiting Prague, I’m glad I did because I enjoyed the city SOOOO much! First of all, they all speak very good English (a very much appreciated fact after living in Germany for more than a year now), and very welcoming to tourists. The city is safe and the shops open till late!

Here’s are some of the places we visited

  1. Charles Bridge
  2. Old Town & New Town
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  3. Jewish Museum
  4. Lennon Wall
  5. St Vitus Cathedral
  6. Prague Castle
  7. Petrin Tower
  8. Clementinum
  9. Mirror Maze
  10. Wenceslas Square
  11. Prague Underground Tour
  12. Old Town Hall Tower
  13. Old Royal Palace

What I enjoyed the most were the Jewish Museum (a lot of history, and it can be quite emotional to read the history), the Clementinum (gorgeous library that is out of bounds to public and no pictures allowed to preserve the centuries-old books) and our absolute favorite was the Prague Underground Tour (interesting to see how modern Prague was built city upon city)

Moodboard for West Ridge kitchen

Colours wise, it will be light gray cupboards and white walls. I haven’t decided if I want a wooden counter top.

Since our unit does not have a kitchen wall, we have the option of having a kitchen island at where the wall is suppposed to be at, with the cookhob and dining corner incorporated into it. IKEA Bremen has got one nice show kitchen which is exactly what we like!2017-09-30 20.06.19

To try to demarcate the kitchen area, we will go for folding doors. They will be kept open most of the time though as we like open spaces. However, we need the doors for practical reasons such as when we switch on the aircon in the living room as well as keeping the smells in the kitchen when I’m frying fish or something.

Europe city hopping: Zakynthos, Greece (Day 3)

Read about Day 1 & 2 here

The next morning, we took a boat tour to the main highlight of the trip, which was to visit the shipwreck beach amongst other places *cue Descendants of the Sun music*. There were 2 types of tourists on the boat with us: the westerners who wanted to go the beach for the waters, and the Asians who were there for a romantic trip like us. Haha.

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As we were on a boat tour, we couldn’t spend too much time at the beach. It would have been nice to just sit on the pebbles and enjoy the cool breeze, while having DOTS OST playing in the background. Instead, we quickly took pictures, found ourselves 2 nice smooth pebbles and wrote ourselves a love message on the pebbles. We left one behind within the shipwreck and took the other one home. It’s now sitting on my display shelf and I still catch myself smiling fondly at the memory when I see the pebble.

It was almost lunchtime when we were done with the boat tour and we were starving so we didn’t drive far to find food. There was Taverna Faros nearby and we just decided to grab lunch there. The food there was amazing as the taverna was situated on top of a small hill and it offered a clear view of the sea. Gorgeous.

We drove down the road after lunch to Windmills Snack Bar as it was even closer to the water and we were once again faced with the vast sea and all its gorgeous turquoise waters. It’s a view that you just won’t get sick of.

Our time in Zakynthos was relaxed and idyllic because we were there mainly for Navagio. The remaining of day 2 was spent exploring Zakynthos town, as well as visiting the Turtle Rescue Center and Gerakas Beach (within walking distance to the Turtle Rescue Center).

On our last evening, we ventured out to Zakynthos town for dinner at a recommended place called Yard of Taste. It was a lovely restaurant, decorated tastefully like a country cottage. We must have been there quite early because there were only another (Asian) couple there besides us. Maybe Asians just eat dinner much earlier than the Greek. Haha.

We had a warm seafood salad (recommended by the owner) and pork chops, both of which were superb! I had especially loved the seafood salad because it was unlike anything I have tasted before. The portion was huge and I almost couldn’t finish it.