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Tuesday, August 31, 2010

SNA National Day Luncheon

I thought we will miss this year's SNA National Day gathering as hubbie just got back from the US on Saturday and the lunch was to be on Sunday and he may be a bit tired to make the drive there. But he's the ever strong man, so we managed to join in the fun! it was great meeting singaporeans and getting to know new friends and getting more acquainted with those we got to know last year.

The chinese buffet food was quite good. but alas, we forgot to take photos except for this of Kaira and Chrystal Jie Jie. They met last year during the lunch and it was great to meet again this year.


Majulah Singapura!!!

Friday, August 27, 2010

天水围的夜与雾

终于有机会看"天水围的夜与雾". 真的值得一看! :)

不知怎么的, 有很多感触. 联想起在香港的四年, 有幸探访监狱中的友人, 与他们交谈.从他们背后的故事得到的领悟.....对我而言, 真的获益匪浅.

繁华的社会隐藏着多少的辛酸.当我们追求更好,更高的生活素质之余, 应对身边的人伸出援助之手. 那才是懂得幸福.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Supermarketing

A rather "师奶 auntie" topic i think ;p

some time back, i came across a financ-related article which highlighted how much one can save on each supermarket trip by putting in the effort to keep track of coupons/offers etc.

i can't help but reflect on my own supermarketing habits that has evolved over the years. and whilst i loathe to admit it ..... i do think that, more and more, i am taking on rather 师奶 mindset ;p

as a young swinging single, how often did i have to go to the supermarket? rarely. maybe to help my mum pick up stuff or for the ocassional get together/bbq etc.

Then, as a young married couple with our new home in Singapore. It was quite fun visiting the supermarket -- stocking up for our home. But since we were both working, and hardly cooked and were hardly at home anyway, the visits weren't that frequent, which means that I was not very price sensitive and usually, i buy whatever i fancied. And brand wise, i guess it's what's convenient and available. so it was usually NTUC or cold storage and ocassionally the more upmarket ones in town for more fancy stuff. I wasn't particular about where the stuffs were produced or where they came from. I trusted that whatever i buy was safe to eat/use.

When we moved to hong kong, there was a change. Whilst i continue to shop at the more mass market supermarket (ParkNShop and Wellcome which were so accessible), i became more conscious of where the stuffs came from. Blame it on the bad pubilcity of "made in china" stuff, especially foodstuffs!!! so if i can, i avoid produced in china and willingly paid for produce (oragnic or otherwise) from japan, europe etc. I chose to shop @ the more upmarket supermarket for most of my foodstuffs. Now, that's actually a rather half-hearted effort i think, cos when i eat out, i am sure most of the raw ingredients came from china! hahaha.. guess it's just me trying to think that i am not consuming too much toxic by choosing to shop @ certain supermarkets.

And when it comes to non-food stuffs, i buy when i need them. i don't particularly look out for sales etc. and sometimes when there's a sale, i think, is there something wrong that's y there's a sale??? ;p guess that's the luxury of being a DINK (double income no kids), no need to think so much over "small" things.... and i enjoy looking out for fancy/premium stuff.......they just look so much better ...hehehe

Now, here in the netherlands, i have so much more confidence in the foodstuffs available @ supermarket although i still try to buy organic produce as much as possible. if not, i try to buy holland produce as much as possible. and i also consciously tell myself to choose foodstuffs that are on offer and plan my menu accordingly rather than plan my menu and then buy the items. That helps to stretch the budget.

When it comes to non-food stuffs, i keep an eager lookout for offers everyweek. when i first arrived, i wasn't so conscious about supermarket offers (cos it was never in me to look out for offers), but i realised after a while how much more i was paying for items at regular price. so now, i make sure i stock up on toothpaste, dishwashing liquid, toilet rolls etc when they are offer and hope that they are not used up before the next sale ! ;p otherwise, no toiletpaper to use.... LOLOLOL .... joking lah.

i love it, when i see the price i would have to pay, versus what i actually pay ... especially when the difference is ard 30%-40% ... that's when i feel really goood. hahaha. although, that savings percentage doesn't happen too often.

the negative side of this is, i overstock on certain items at times. like i have so many bottles of shampooooooo i am not sure when they will be depleted. and why do i overstock?? cos i forget whether i have them in the first place!! my memory failed me :( i must must coordinate my buying with what i already have to ensure well-balanced situation!!!

one other habit i have picked up is to check on the expiry dates of items on sale. on several ocassions i almost bought expired items which were on sale. *tsk tsk*

such a long post on topic like this???? i just thought it's really interesting to document the change that i see in myself. i guess the change also reflects the life stage i am in -- now with a child and being a single income family. if someone reads this and start reviewing his/her supermarketing habits which may mean paying less for more ... that's really great!!!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Summer Green

everytime i see luscious green and lovely sun, i have a urge to capture the moment. like i am afraid that i am not going to see such a beautiful sight again.... the thought that the green will soon turn to brown, red and orange ... makes me treasure it more.

don't misunderstand. it's not that i don't like autumn. i do....in fact, i love the sight of autumn foliage. just that i don't like what comes after that!! so the end of summer evokes mixed feelings in me. 真的很矛盾!

this was taken in dusseldorf, our favorite weekend getaway if we don't have any other plans.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Pears

We went to Philips Fruit Tuin again on Saturday. This time, the conference pear trees were ripe for picking!
Yum!

Saturday, August 14, 2010

A Dutch Wedding Experience

Today we had the opportunity to attend a dutch wedding dinner reception.

It was a gorgeous wedding @ Castle Henkenshage, Sint Oedenrode. Kaira really enjoyed it, especially the dancing part ;)

View of the castle :


With the gorgeous wedding couple (kaira was smiling so happily becos she really likes the bride! she loves the gown and veil!!)

interesting seats by the pond. guests supposed to sit on them to view the nuptial ceremony.

the bridge on which the couple stood for the nuptial ceremony while the guests look on from the stone seats.

Monday, August 09, 2010

National Day

9 Aug 2010. Singapore's 45th National Day. I managed to catch the live webcast with Kaira who enjoyed it for a while and then decided that she got better things to do! hehe.

Does one get more "patriotic" with age? or is it due to the fact that we are away that makes us miss home?

Really, when i was in singapore, national day, was really, another public holiday. I have not attended any national day parade before and while i do watch the parade on TV, not always.

SInce we left singapore, i think i have made it a point to try to watch it, as long as i can make it.

Proud of my country, proud of what it has achieved. Only thing is, i do feel a sense of detachment sometimes. Maybe it's the distance. Maybe it's the change that has been taking place within SIngapore -- that while it is familiar, i find it unfamiliar at the same time. it has evolved and maybe i have not kept pace with it?

She's 45, i am 38, yet it seems like there's more years between us than the 7 suggests. Funny why i feel this way.

Whatever whatever. At the end of the day, it is my country, it is my home. I am happy that it's doing well. Happy Birthday Singapore.

Sunday, August 08, 2010

Ghent (Gent), Belgium

It was bright and sunny this morning and so we headed to Gent, Belgium about 1.5 hrs drive from our place. Unfortunately, the rain came and wellz, let's just say, it could have been a much better day!! :))

But as we know now, the rain's not gonna stop us from having fun cos if it did, we'd be coop up indoors most of the time!!

It's a lovely little town with a waterway running through it and lovely old buildings (wellz, just like most of the other european cities we visit i suppose! ;p)

Must visit St Bavo's Cathedral. I have been to many historic churches .... let's just say that after a while, they started looking the same to me ;p with the few exceptions and this one i think is worth the visit! They didn't allow photographs to be taken. What a pity.

Inside the church is the painting "Adoration of the Mystic Lamb" by the Van Eyck brothers.

I think maybe we will be back again another time -- and hopefully then the sun's shining and we can take in the sights better.

Saturday, August 07, 2010

Zaanse Schans

Since Zaanse Schans' so near to Alkmaar, we thought we would pop by since it appears quite frequently on tourist itineraries ;p plus my goal this year is to see more of Netherlands :)

but i have to say that i was a lil' disappointed with it. It's kind of a cross between Kinderdijk (pictures here) and Giethoorn BUT it is not as charming as either. or maybe i am already "jaded" .... seen too much ???

the good thing about it though is that there are quite a few interesting museums -- qutie educational although not something that particularly interest us (or rather our active toddler!). Plus it is very near to Amsterdam so it's good for tourists who wants a glimpse of windmills, waterways etc.

But i'd recommend Giethoorn and Kinderdijk anytime!

Alkmaar

Finally, we made it to Alkmaar.

From being one who doesn't eat cheese to, now sampling the various types of dutch cheese and actually enjoying them, i think i have come a long way!!!! hehehehe.

Monday, August 02, 2010

Dutch Fast Food

Looking for a quick snack/meal?

In the Netherlands, look out for FEBO, which dispenses burgers, a variety of croquettes, fries and so forth!!!



i don't know how they taste -- cos i have never tried them!! just not my cup of tea ;p i much prefer the japanese snack vending machines!!! hehehe.

Sunday, August 01, 2010

@ Park Hilaria

The annual Park Hilaria Kermis started on Friday. The last 2 years we gave it a miss cos we figured kaira's too young to enjoy it and i am not really an amusement park person ;p

anywayz, since it's a lazy sunday, we cycled there to while away some time.

There were ponies for riding -- but she's such a scaredy-cat!! when she saw the ponies afar she wanted to ride on one but after we paid for it, she chickened-out!! kept saying no and no amount of persuasion can change her mind. O well, i guess she's just not ready! and there i was thinking that maybe i will send her for some riding lessons in the near future!!! guess that will go onto the back burner for now ;p