Europe city hopping: Paris 2015

If you follow me on Instagram and/or Facebook, you might have guessed that Mr Goh and I went on holiday last week. We met up with my sister and her boyfriend in Paris and travelled together around the city of love and went to Milan as well before we parted ways.

Now where do I begin writing the blog posts? I’ve been so behind my travelogues (I haven’t even completed my honeymoon posts and now I kinda can’t be arsed to complete them anymore), so let’s just go through them briefly, ya? Anyway, I don’t think you peeps are interested in the nitty gritty details of my 9 day trip.

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Room for 2

The plan is for ZH’s younger brother to move out of the room and move in with their elder brother. So we need to do some renovation works for both rooms, and at the same time, his parents also wanted some custom carpentry work done for the living room and to change the laminates for the kitchen cabinets. So my future in-laws decided to start renovations for the house in June when the weather is still dry.

It started with the boys packing all their stuff into boxes and putting them out onto the (half-sheltered) balcony. The beds were shifted out to the living room (the old sofa set was discarded). I took some pictures of the room when it was totally bare, except for the built-in wardrobe which has yet to be hacked away. As you can see, we didn’t have a lot of space in this room. The estimated dimensions of the room are 2.6m wide (wall to wall), and about 3.5m length (window to door). TINY!!!

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His parents also requested for the contractor to do floor polishing. It was then I decided that there will be no parquet flooring in my future home. It costs quite a bit of money, and yet it is not maintenance free. You can’t vacuum the floor, can’t mop the floor, can’t drag stuff across it (for example, luggage or chairs with wheels). To be honest, the parquet floor is still driving me mad because I’m quite an OCD freak. I can MagicClean the floor and still see dust particles immediately after. Or perhaps auntie just bought fake MagicClean wipes that don’t clean so well. I’m also not allowed to mop the floor, which I can understand because water warps the wood. But she doesn’t even allow wet wipes on the floor, even though those wet wipes are suitable for wooden flooring!

ZH's new room Layout done using FloorPlanner.com

The room was completed in a month – flooring, new built-in wardrobes, the new mirror storage and delivery of the new bed. Since the room is puny, we cannot have a normal-sized dresser, so I was obsessively surfing around on the Internet, taking measurements etc and finally found the perfect size – the BRIMNES Mirror Storage from IKEA. The length of the mirror was 138cm, just enough to make it a full length mirror when I stand away at a distance. The price was even better, only $99!

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Our bed is a queen size one from Getha – we chose the Eco Kingdom 10 mattress. It features a plush top and is full latex. Actually, we don’t really care much about whether it is full latex, coils or whatnot. We just went along with what felt right to us. We did a whole day of bed testing and still liked the Getha mattress the most. I also don’t feel much disturbance when ZH turns his body, and that boy is quite a “turner”! When we used the old coil mattress, it feels like I’m going to bounce off the bed when he turns his body!

I’m quite picky about bedsheets, and so I often go for minimum 300 threadcount or my latest obsession, microsatin material. There’s a new (expensive) material called Tencel which is much smoother than any other material I’ve come across. The flowery auntie bedsheet set you see below are of Tencel material and was only $69 for a queen size set (considered cheap since Tencel sheet sets usually retail for around $200-$300!). 

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The boy couldn’t do without a proper computer desk (we were using a bar trolley previously) and so his parents bought this table for him. Not my favorite piece of furniture in the room because it’s not a must have IMO, and it takes up my walking space. We got this from V.Hive. The table is one of the most compact desks available (trust me, I’ve searched for a suitable table for ages, but the only ones of our required dimensions are those similar to Table Mate), but yet it’s not small enough.

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The wardrobe had non-adjustable shelves and I was quite annoyed by it because there is a lot of wasted unused space. For example, the space meant for my dresses is far too long (ok, I’m short so none of my dresses are long enough to fully utilise the space). I decided that we needed some storage units for better wardrobe organization. However that part of the wardrobe has got some weird dimensions – it is very narrow, but deep. It measured 28cm wide by 50cm deep.

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I searched high and low for a drawer unit that would fit the dimensions of the darn wardrobe, almost for 5 weeks. I tried IKEA and Daiso, and finally found what I wanted at Muji. It is a little expensive at $16 per drawer, but it was the only storage drawer that could fit the narrow space. I’m currently using it to store the extra set of bed linen, and put the box of undies on top of it. Finally, some “sanity” restored!

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Gardens by the Bay

So, in my previous previous post, I was saying that we went to watch Phantom of the Opera right? But before that, we checked into Marina Mandarin first and took a short walk around Marina Square.

The Dining Edition

The Dining Edition

We came across this interesting display of dresses. Could you guess which is my favourite?

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As we met my parents at Bayfront station after Phantom, we took a short walk over to Gardens. It was quite funny coz I had to ask Beatrice for directions. Hey I’m the local here! *oops*

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Shadows

Shadows

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Mum said "this is the mosquito pond!"... Er Mum? It's supposed to be DRAGONFLY

Mum said “this is the mosquito pond!”… Er Mum? It’s supposed to be DRAGONFLY

I see you taking a picture of me taking a picture of you

I see you taking a picture of me taking a picture of you

Convocation photos!

Convocation photos!

Willow tree in the background 柳暗花明又一春

Willow tree in the background 柳暗花明又一春

Daddy's girl :)

Daddy’s girl 🙂

Note Dad's funny expression

Note Dad’s funny expression

Mum's flower.

Mum’s flower.

Say Cheese!!!

Say Cheese!!!

The weather was kinda humid and we decided to enter both domes on a whim. That came up to $67.50 for 3 adults and 1 senior citizen, local resident rate + 10% PAssion card discount. There are also similar discounts if you’re a NTUC card member, or ST Engineering employee.

Cute little girl

Cute little girl posing for her mother

Cute old couple

Cute old couple

He says this is the most beautiful photo of me that day. I concur. LOL

He says this is the most beautiful photo of me that day. I concur. LOL

To be honest, I only enjoyed Flower Dome. It was cool and had lots of pretty flowers, including my favourite gerberas in the loveliest shade of coral. The Cloud Forest included a sky top walk which I didn’t like coz I’m terribly afraid of heights, plus the sides were mesh-like grids. Double scare factor.

At the foot of The Falls

At the foot of The Falls

Behind the waterfall

Behind the waterfall

Mountain guide

Mountain guide

Heart shaped lights in the middle! <3

Heart shaped lights in the middle! ❤

Love how the lights reflect off the water

Love how the lights reflect off the water

The weekend before the long weekend

The famous musical, The Phantom of the Opera, is now showing in Singapore! I’ve always enjoyed musicals so Mr Goh decided to bring me to the show. However, somehow, we ended up with the tickets charged to MY card instead. So much for bringing me to the show huh.

So to make up for it, Mr Goh booked us a room at the Marina Mandarin so we didn’t need to rush home with the NDP Preview crowd. But before the day’s activities started, I got myself a haircut at DuSol Beauty salon! And I was also being an “auntie” again by collecting the new skincare samples from Chanel at Robinsons. It’s actually mildly satisfying to get those free samples, but waste not, want not. I’ve amassed so much samples from these sampling programs and also my Korea trip in March, that I need to start using them not only for short trips, but also at home. I’m going to start writing up reviews soon, in my other blog. Keyword: SOON.

Nothing drastic, just 2 inches off the bottom, and a fringe cut

Nothing drastic, just 2 inches off the bottom, and a fringe cut

Mr Goh met up with me before we went to the hotel to check in and lunch was at Sushi Express as it was on the way. The man knows me and my stomach well… I can never pass up Japanese food! ^^ No pictures of all the food we ate, but again, I ate twice his amount. It was my first time having their miso soup and it was actually pretty good! It didn’t taste like your regular miso soup as they had lots of salmon “scraps” in the soup. Quite an ingenious way to use up the leftover bits after obtaining premium sashimi cuts.

Look at how thick the salmon sashimi is!

Look at how thick the salmon sashimi is!

We watched the matinee show at Marina Bay Sands theatre. I remember watching TPoTO when I was 11, and then falling asleep mid-show because I was too tired after school. Oops. So I had to watch it again this time, with eyes wide open! Obviously the songs are the same, but somehow, I felt that the version I watched when I was younger was better… just a tad better.

The chandelier, before the show started

The chandelier, before the show started

Mum happened to be back in SG this weekend, so we decided to bring the parents out to Gardens by the Bay and treat them to dinner as well. It was quite funny because all 4 of us hadn’t been there before, and me being the “planner” wanted to make sure that things go smoothly. So I ended up asking Bee tons of questions like how far is Gardens from MBS, entrance fees, food etc. The local asking the tourist about the tourist spot. LOL. #epicfail

The pictures taken at Gardens are with Mr Goh now, so pictures of that to come later, but I think there are quite a number of lovely shots (of my parents). I liked the Flower Dome better coz there were lots of gerberas!! ❤ The cloud forest sky walk was scary IMO… me no likey heights.

We decided to settle dinner at Satay by the Bay since the treat was mainly for mum who hasn’t had enough of hawker food to last her till the next trip home. #funny coz I originally suggested Gyu Kaku to mum and she rejected because it was Japanese BBQ and she didn’t want to smell on the way home. But SbtB was also smokey and smelly!!!

SbtB is actually a bit of a walk away from Cloud Forest though and the food take a while to arrive, so do not go there on an extremely hungry tummy. Or you may end up being frustrated… But other than that, the food quality is actually pretty decent, albeit expensive. The only thing we didn’t enjoy was the stingray – not enough BBQ/grilled flavour and the chilli used wasn’t sambal.

Cheese fries, requested by mum

Cheese fries, requested by mum

Popiah, $2.50 per roll

Popiah, $2.50 per roll

Rojak, $4

Rojak, $4

BBQ Stingray, $10

BBQ Stingray, $10

BBQ Sotong, $10

BBQ Sotong, $10

BBQ Chicken wings, $1.50 each

BBQ Chicken wings, $1.50 each

Pork belly satay, $1.50 each

Pork belly satay, $1.50 each

Chicken satay, $0.70 each

Chicken satay, $0.70 each

Sugar cane drink, $2 plain, $2.50 with plum

Sugar cane drink, $2 plain, $2.50 with plum

Shanghai 2012 – Part 3

We also met up with jie’s university friend while in Shanghai, and she treated us to a feast. No, seriously, a FEAST.

辛香汇. a restaurant so popular, you will have to make reservations at least 6 months in advance, or be prepared to start queuing for lunch at breakfast time.

辛香汇. a restaurant so popular, you will have to make reservations at least 6 months in advance, or be prepared to start queuing for lunch at breakfast time.

sis & her friend, bijun who generously treated 4 of us to lunch.

sis & her friend, bijun who generously treated 4 of us to lunch.

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拌鸡尾菜

拌鸡尾菜

钵钵鸡

钵钵鸡

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麻婆豆腐

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this might be 红油猪耳.. i’m not sure

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some tomato soup?

 

干过QQ粉

干过QQ粉

水煮鲶鱼

水煮鲶鱼

馋嘴牛蛙配莴笋

馋嘴牛蛙配莴笋

糖醋里脊

糖醋里脊

麻婆豆腐

麻婆豆腐

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see! so much food left! but it's the traditional shanghainese culture to provide a table full of food for their guests.

see! so much food left! but it’s the traditional shanghainese culture to provide a table full of food for their guests.

Stuffed from lunch, we walked to 上海新天地.

It was like being on a 1930s Shanghai movie set

It was like being on a 1930s Shanghai movie set

the old vs the new (in the background)

the old vs the new (in the background)

Shanghai 2012 – Part 2

Staying at mum’s place also meant that we can cook her a meal, and cook her breakfast we did!

French toast with caramelized bananas

French toast with caramelized bananas

Mum’s place was pretty near the Shanghai Science & Technology museum (its basement houses a lot of sellers selling counterfeit goods) and so we headed over for some shopping!

The outside of the museum (day view)

The outside of the museum (day view)

The outside of the museum (evening view)

The outside of the museum (evening view)

Intentional design??

Intentional design??

Our loots from the fake goods market

Our loots from the fake goods market

We also visited Tian Zi Fang, a place that has loads of traditional souvenirs and quirky stuff. There are also many good restaurants and pubs there.

Tian zi fang

Tian zi fang

Mum insisted I take this photo coz I'm also a cow (my zodiac)

Mum insisted I take this photo coz I’m also a cow (my zodiac)

Inside TZF

Inside TZF

Shanghai architecture

Shanghai architecture

Ate non-stop. The cheesecake on the right was the bakery's best-seller, and it was really good!

Ate non-stop. The cheesecake on the right was the bakery’s best-seller, and it was really good!

I brought my office laptop over so that I could connect to Facebook and Gmail through my office’s VPN server. Otherwise, you cannot usually go to these sites using China’s internet server.

Fwah! Huge monitor! :D

Fwah! Huge monitor! 😀

The seats on the Shanghai subway are flat (unlike SG's where they marked out each individual space), and my sis asked me to sit in between her and mum.  Thanks jie, but I don't think my butt can fit in there.

The seats on the Shanghai subway are flat benches (unlike SG’s where they marked out each individual space), and my sis asked me to sit in between her and mum.
Thanks jie, but I don’t think my butt can fit in there.

Seriously, there isn’t much to do in urban city Shanghai, except to eat and shop. And we Tan girls are also not adventurous, so we stuck to what we knew the best: shop and eat.

Mum & me

Mum & me

eh, why mum smile so happy here!?

eh, why mum smile so happy here!?

lunch at a thai restaurant in kerry park

lunch at a thai restaurant in kerry park

spring roll appetizer

spring roll appetizer

prawn cakes

prawn cakes

minced chicken with basil. man, this was spicy fiery hot

minced chicken with basil. man, this was spicy fiery hot

veges!

veges!

pineapple fried rice

pineapple fried rice

cute vintage bike

cute vintage bike

at night, we went to 人民广场 and i really like the clash of old and new shanghai buildings!

in the middle of 人民广场

in the middle of 人民广场

hazy night, so can't see the pearl of the orient

hazy night, so can’t see the pearl of the orient

an old building

an old building

my shop!!

my shop!!

Fresh ginger, pear and carrot juice. I doubt there's carrot though...

Fresh ginger, pear and carrot juice. I doubt there’s carrot though…

poutine fries

poutine fries

buffalo wings

buffalo wings

grilled salmon

grilled salmon

fish & chips

fish & chips

surf & turf

surf & turf

steak

steak

Shanghai 2012 – Part 1

Mum started on a new job in Shanghai in 2012 February. Don’t get started on “oh poor dad, he’s all alone in Singapore. And who’s taking care of you and your sister now? How is your mum able to leave the family behind to work in Shanghai?” Don’t. We are all fine and happy for her that she got a wonderful job offer, and we all support her decision. So don’t even go there. Besides there’s Skype and Shanghai is only 5 hours flight away. No biggie ok? Anyway, dad visits her almost every month in Shanghai and brings her lots of wonderful food.

Sis & I visited her in May earlier this year and we think we enjoyed our stay there, but we probably would not want to stay for long. And being apart now really makes me love my wonderful orange mummy more now! xoxo.

We took CX there and ‘luckily’ for us, our connecting flight to SHA was being CANCELLED due to bad weather in HK. Bloody cancelled, not delayed. We were lucky because I was eavesdropping on another passenger’s phone call and realised that a lot of flights were being delayed for ages. No wonder there were so many people in the transit lounge! I immediately checked the status of our flight and realised that it was being cancelled. So we went up to the airline counter and asked for a solution. They managed to get us on a flight (which was supposed to take off the previous night) which was even earlier than our planned one. Thank goodness! After solving that huge headache, we were relieved and went shopping. Did I mention how wonderful HK airport is for shopping? We bought a pretty wallet for mum since it was going to be mummy’s day soon.

Waiting, and waiting, and waiting for our flight

Waiting, and waiting, and waiting for our flight

Taking the Maglev (Shanghai speed rail) to meet mum

Taking the Maglev (Shanghai speed rail) to meet mum

Long Yang station

Long Yang station

Hi mum!! You're much skinnier now!!

Hi mum!! You’re much skinnier now!!

And my dear sis bought me this ring from HK airport. It's a tad loose on me now though

And my dear sis bought me this ring from HK airport. It’s a tad loose on me now though

It was a short taxi ride from Long Yang station to mum’s apartment. Her place is huge, considering that she’s staying alone. But I guess she had us in mind when she chose this apartment. It’s just that she has a lot of cleaning work to do with such a huge living space.

Entering the apartment

Entering the apartment

View from mummy's place in Shanghai

View from mummy’s place in Shanghai

Master room

Master room

Kitchen

Kitchen

Living room

Living room

Dinner was at a nearby restaurant, about 10-15 minutes walk.

The Tan girls!

The Tan girls!

Bi Feng Tang, apparently a very popular restaurant chain in Shanghai.

Bi Feng Tang, apparently a very popular restaurant chain in Shanghai.

Some dimsum dish

Some dimsum dish

Xiao Long Bao

Xiao Long Bao

Carrot cake

Carrot cake

Stir fried long beans

Stir fried long beans

Carbs

Carbs

Oh we love this! Toasted buns with condensed milk

Oh we love this! Toasted buns with condensed milk

Pot stickers!!

Pot stickers!!