August 30, 2009

Desire: Laura Ashley Cupboard


By request, here's the picture of the cupboard....


August 29, 2009

End of Week 3

Time flies. It's been 3 weeks since I got here. The past 3 days I've been busy trying to move into my new place. What that means is lugging lots of luggage and things back and forth. I'm thankful that my friend helped me with quite a fair bit of the heavy carrying when he can. One can't imagine the number of things that you would need to make a house a home. Ok maybe it's just me since I seem to need more things than normal people.

Over the past few days, I've had to go to the department stores and supermarkets and lug back duvets, sheets, pillows, broom & pan, frying pan, kettle etc. Some of these things are pretty bulky and it's been quite a feat trying to bring it home, usually I bring my expandable sports bag and stuff the things in. I haven't even gotten my crockery and cutlery yet cos I'm going to Ikea only on Monday so I'm living off my tupperware and plastic cutlery I got from the supermarket.

Yesterday I went to a big Sainsbury to try to get some basic groceries like tea, coffee, sugar, cereal and cleaning stuff like detergent and cleaning liquids. I was a tad ambitious in the amount that I thought I could carry. After I paid and put everything into bags I knew I was in trouble. Nevertheless I carried what seemed like 20 kg (no I'm not kidding) and attempted to make my 15 min journey home. Mind you, I was in heels (after work) and the plastic bags were cutting into my fingers. After about 10 minutes, my fingers were numb and I looked around and it seemed as if I had gone the wrong way! By this time, my arms were about to give way and I thought there's no way I'm going to backtrack and potentially face an even longer journey. So I stopped and tried to flag a cab. Luckily one came by and I quickly got into it, relieved. It turns out that I was walking the correct way (luckily I didn't try to 'backtrack'!) just that I wasn't familiar with how the road turns. Finally I was home. I'm seriously contemplating buying one of those trolley things to carry my marketing. Very auntie I know.

Enough of the unglam stuff and onto more glam things. I was in Paris for a day trip for work yesterday (before the supermarket saga). It is amazing how one see Eiffel Tower, Champs-Elysees in the afternoon and then Westminster, Big Ben at night. It was really quite rushed, with 4 meetings back to back but I enjoyed the sunny Parisian weather (London was grey and rainy) and just soaking the French air. I do miss Paris and come to think of it, it's been exactly one year since I went last year. The trip where I learnt how to make macarons :) Hopefully I'll be able to take more leisure trips to Paris soon.

I'm hoping to get the kitchen and house stocked up asap cos I can't seem to concentrate on anything else. Though I know it's quite silly and I should be able to just do other things but somehow it's become an obsession. I need to tell myself I can slowly do it, and just need to get the essentials. There's this cabinet from Laura Ashley that I would really like to get, it's light aqua blue and it's really pretty. Except it's going to take 9 weeks for delivery. I shall go and contemplate tonight. I need instant gratification.

August 24, 2009


Char Kuay Teow from Kiasu
A little burnt, too salty and not sweet enough. Prawns were fresh and big. Probably not fried with lard. Probably a 3 out of 5.
The curry puff I ordered was the flaky pastry sort, the curry wasn't terribly tasty, again more salty than fragrant. Not enough chicken or potatoes, no egg.
Ice kopi was passable, made from coffee bag and using condensed milk at least. A little diluted since I asked for it iced.



Jom Makan
Nasi Lemak came with Rendang, the requisite ikan bilis + peanut but not fried with chilli, sambal with squid and half a hardboiled egg. The rice tasted more like chicken rice than coconut rice, it had a lot more galangal, ginger and spices than coconut. The sambal was quite good, sweetish just like how I like my chilli but the squid was squishy. The rendang was a little dry.

We also ordered chicken satay whic was better than the nasi lemak. The meat was well marinated and tender. The peanut sauce wasn't that spicy. The curry mee was a tad oily.

August 23, 2009

A Foray to Bray & Fat Duck

So yesterday, 4 of us went trotting off to Bray in search of 3-star Michelin restaurant, The Fat Duck. After missing the first train, we caught the 1743h train towards Maidenhead. We passed through Slough and my companions informed me that it was one of the most unimpressive places in Greater London. Well, it was where The Office (remember Milton and the hole puncher?) was set. Yeah, it's quite depressing.

After a 45 min ride, we were finally in Maidenhead! We caught a cab to nearby Bray, the cabbie took one look at us and immediately said "Fat Duck or Waterside Inn?". Now, was it THAT obvious? Guess 3 chinese and a caucasian aren't that common sight there huh? We arrived plenty early for our 9 o'clock sitting and so we went traipsing the little village. The place is really very pretty and quaint, with small streets, cottages, flowering gardens and greenery all around as you can see from the pictures. There were also plenty of fancy cars, surely patrons of the fancy restaurants. We walked towards the Waterside Inn where we scored another reservation there for October. So we will be returning to Bray soon enough :)

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To while away our time, we chilled at the Hind's Head pub next to Fat Duck. The bartenders and waiters there all somehow had the Heston Blumenthal look - bald with metal frame glasses. Maybe it's a cult of gastronomers? We were kinda hungry, so we ordered some of the bar snacks, they were actually not bad, my first time having Scotch Eggs, which is an egg (quail's in this case) wrapped with sausage meet, breaded and fried. Yum.

Finally, it was time for our meal at The Fat Duck. The place is tucked away by the streetside with no obvious sign except for its logo hanging outside. The restaurant was full, as expected, and we were shown to one of the only remaining tables. The decor is understated, well really not much decor at all. It was converted from an old pub so it has low ceilings and has exposed wooden beams. We were seated and were asked if we had any allergies or dietary restrictions. Since there was only the Tasting menu (they got rid of the a la carte menu in July) with 13 courses, the only choice was whether you wanted the budget wines, mid-priced or high-end wines. My companions all opted for budget wines and I went for an organic apple-pear juice.

Before long, our waiter came by with some contraptions and proceeded to prepare our amuse-bouche. He had some liquid nitrogen in a pot, and he squeezed a dollop of egg white meringue onto a spoon, which he proceeded to drop into the liquid nitrogen. He then turned the meringue around a few times in the liquid and took it out, and sprinkled green tea powder onto it with a big puff. We were served one by one and told to put it our mouth whole as soon as we got it. The meringue was icy cold, tasted of lime and green tea and kinda melted/dissolved in your mouth leaving a tangy cool aftertaste. A worthy palette cleanser and it set our expectations for more theatrics to follow. Oh by the way, this menu is known as the Alice in Wonderland variation and here's the entire menu for reference -

LIME GROVE
Nitro Poached Green Tea and Lime Mousse

RED CABBAGE GAZPACHO
Pommery Grain Mustard Ice Cream

JELLY OF QUAIL, CREAM OF CRAYFISH
Chicken Liver Parfait, Oak Moss and Truffle Toast (Homage to Alain Chapel)

ROAST FOIE GRAS
Gooseberry, Braised Konbu and Crab Biscuit

MOCK TURTLE SOUP (c.1850)
"Mad Hatter Tea"

"SOUND OF THE SEA"

SALMON POACHED IN LIQUORICE
Artichokes, Vanilla Mayonnaise, Golden Trout Roe and Manni Olive Oil

POWDERED ANJOU PIGEON (c.1720)
Blood Pudding and Confit of Umbles

TAFFETY TART (c1660)
Caramelized Apple, Fennel, Rose and Candied Lemon

THE NOT-SO-FULL ENGLISH BREAKFAST
Parsnip Cereal
Nitro-Scrambled Egg and Bacon Ice Cream
Hot & Iced Tea

CHOCOLATE WINE "SLUSH" (c.1660)
Millionaire Shortbread

WINE GUMS
Historic Trade Routes of Britain

"LIKE A KID IN A SWEET SHOP"

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Next up was the Gazpacho with mustard ice cream. The Gazpacho was really cabbagey, for lack of a better description, which I quite liked. But there were also some pickled vegetables and the pommery grain which I didn't really like, so overall the dish kinda tasted like Chinese pickles.
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This was followed by the next theatrical dish. You will notice this will be an over-riding theme for the restaurant, where the uniqueness and wonder is derived from the bells and whistles and the unusual ways of presentation, rather than the taste of the dish. Yes, so back to our next dish, which was a combination of crayfish cream, jelly quail and liver parfait with a piece of truffle toast. Before we got to eat though, our waiter brought out a bed of moss with these melt-in-your-mouth films, like the listerine mouthwash kind except that this tasted of erm... forest. He poured some liquid (nitro?) onto the moss which began to 'smoke' except I didn't smell anything though I definitely tasted forest. Only then were we allowed to eat our dish. The crayfish cream was really quite delicious, not unlike a lobster bisque except lighter, and there was some green cream at the bottom layer of my creme dish which I really liked. Oh, and the truffle toast was good.
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Next up was the foie gras. This was one of my favourite dishes in terms of taste. The foie gras was just nicely done, not too livery nor fatty and the crab biscuits and konbu seaweed were a nice touch that was different from the usual sweet fruit compote that foie gras usually comes with. Our only lament was that they could have given us a FULL piece of foie gras instead of that small half! Especially considering how much we were paying for the whole meal!

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The Mock Turtle Soup definitely wins for best presentation hands-down. Our waiter, in his thick French accent, told us the story of how in Alice in Wonderland the Rabbit dipped his golden watch into his tea. As you can see from the series of pictures below, we had a golden watch in our tea cup, and when hot water was poured into it, it began to dissolve and the gold flakes started to swirl around in the 'tea'! This was then poured into this beautifully plated dish, which I think consisted of steamed egg, some really cute tiny mushrooms, truffle and veg cubes and some pork slices, transforming our dish into the 'mock turtle' soup. I just can't get over how cute the small tiny mushrooms were! Don't let the pictures fool you, the eggy dome was only about 3cm in diameter. The 'tea' was in fact a savoury (chicken?) consomme and the pork slices with some fat in between was really quite yummy.
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The signature "Sound of the Sea" was next. We were presented with these shells which had an ipod tucked into it. We were to listen to it while enjoying our next dish. The sound was of the sea (what else?), with waves crashing and seagulls calling. The dish itself was also made to look like a scene of the beach, with tapioca and eel somehow made to look like sand (on top of the plate, not the below one, that's real sand), and different types of raw fish and sea weed and small ikan bilis with some seaweed foam as waves. I really enjoyed the 'sand' as it was part crunchy and part melt-in-your-mouth. The fish was so-so but I really liked the ikan bilis (hahah I'm cheap).
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The next 2 were main dishes, one was a semi-poached salmon in liquorice gel with a whole lot of other flavours on the dish, and a pigeon dish. I really didn't like either of these. The salmon texture was nice, like aburi salmon that you get in japanese restaurants but it was quite bland. Perhaps it was purposely made bland so that you can taste the ikura, vanilla mayonnaise and the artichokes (which were yum). It was kinda sweet, with a faint taste of liquorice and quite strong vanilla, which was strange for a savoury dish. And then the pigeon, which was my least favourite dish of the night. I'm not sure how they cooked it, while it was not bloody, the texture and taste was quite raw and gamey. Did not rock my boat. There was also some bloody pudding, which again, is something I'm not hot about. My favourite bit was the pigeon cracker. For a degustation menu with 2 main dishes, it was really quite disappointing that neither of them were substantial. We concluded that perhaps it was harder to do something special with main dishes than appetisers and desserts. I guess we all would have preferred a thick slab of wagyu.
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The next 5 dishes were dessert. First up was the Taffety Tart, with lots of goodness like rose, apple, lemon, a berry sorbet and thin tuile sheets. It was a tad sweet after a while, though the tartness of the berry sorbet did cut the sweetness a little.
Then came the famous Bacon and Eggs. This was part of a trio of the Not So Full English Breakfast. Our entertainer waiter came by again with his favourite ingredient liquid nitrogen. This time, he took out a couple of eggs and cracked them into the pot, poured liquid nitrogen over it then 'stir-fried' it and out came scrambled eggs! Except that this was scrambled eggs ice cream! We found out that it wasn't really egg inside the egg shell, they probably emptied the egg and refilled it with some egg custard and sealed it somehow. Ingenious. And I wonder how they get the texture of the ice cream to look like scrambled eggs as well! Other than that, the bacon strip was like a bacon flavoured candy, and it was served on french toast. It was also topped with some sweet pepper confit, which I wasn't really a fan of. This dish also came with hot & iced tea, which was a tea that was hot and cold at the same time! There was a cold denser viscous liquid suspended in hot jasmine tea, and when you drink it together you get both hot and cold sensations. Amazing. Think this was the crowd favourite of the night!
The other part of the breakfast was our Parsnip cereal. Well just some dried parsnip chips in milk. Nothing very wow but the packaging was really quite cute.
We're almost at the end! The next two desserts were the chocolate wine slush, and the wine gums. The chocolate wine slush is exactly that - a slushy chocolate wine errr slush, served with a really good dark chocolate shortbread. I liked the shortbread better than the slush haha. The wine gums were literally that as well, gums made of liquer from various parts of the world. They were placed along the respective countries they came from and we were supposed to eat them in order - Mead, Cognac, Madiera, Sherry, and Rum. Somehow this dish made us giggle a lot, we were all very high and happy from the wine (me from the slush and wine gums) and some of us had trouble following the numbered route. It was very fun peeling the wine gummies from the picture frame *giggle*
And now, for the last dessert and dish of the evening - Like A Kid in A Sweet Shop! We were all presented with a pretty gift bag with a variety of sweets and a explanation card that smelled like a sweet shop! Actually it somehow evoked a memory of Paris for me instead of a sweet shop. We were discussing what a sweet shop smelt like and Connie said that it should smell of old ladies and lavender, which prompted our waiter to burst out laughing. Smells aside, the goodies in the bag included an aerated orange chocolate (not great, I prefer dense chocs), a coconut caramel baccy (which tasted like gula melaka + coconut i.e. onde onde), caramel apple toffee (yum!) and a white chocolate + fruit compote Queen of Hearts (it was very exquisite, even the envelope seal was chocolate!).
We finished the night off with 2 pots of Yellow Tea (supposedly the rarest tea in the world), which cost 20 quid each - yeah so that's like SGD100 for both. It was kinda like Longjing, not terribly impressive.

I was impressed with the overall experience of the meal, of the thought put into packaging and presenting the meal, though not so much the taste of the food and flavours. It's more of a restaurant to be entertained rather than good food. They definitely do appetisers and desserts better than they do mains, since the salmon and the pigeon failed to impress. It was a positive experience nonetheless and I think we enjoyed ourselves. The wines (which I think Connie will write about) were mostly quite good, and that was just the budget wines - think of what the high-end wines must have been like! It's worth a trip at least once just to be thrilled and wowed by the cool liquid nitrogen stuff. I'm looking forward to the Waterside Inn, where it's not so strange food.

Other than the entertainment from our food, we were highly amused (and annoyed) by the table next to us, where a twat of an Eton boy (16 yrs) was dining with his father. Throughout the night, we were regaled with stories of how he (the boy not the father) loves to dine at posh places (he's apparently trying to get an El Bulli reservation) and other things that sounded like he was trying to impress daddy. He even tried to pay for the meal, which was dumb since his dad obviously would be paying for the supp card. Gosh, if you're eating at the best restaurants in the world at 16, where do you go from there?

Gosh, this review took as long to write and put up as it did to eat - 4 hours. As I was mentioing, Connie writes a food blog as well and she will most probably be putting up a review real soon as well! Check out her blog here!

I'm intending to do a eat-off challenge for the various Singaporean / Malaysian restaurants here in London i.e. go to each of them and compare some of the signature Singaporean / Msian dishes and see how they compare with each other. Stay tuned!

August 21, 2009

Homesick

It's been about 2 weeks since I got here, how time flies. I'm beginning to freak out about how long I am going to be here and what that means. Getting increasingly frequent pangs of homesickness and mini panic attacks. Yes, I know life here sounds exciting (it's London after all) and the experience of setting up a new home and all is great but at the risk of sounding ungrateful, I sometimes ask myself wtf did I think I was doing deciding on this move. I miss the familiarities of home, of my close friends and loved ones, knowing where all the things and shops are, having the convenience of a car and knowing I can meet up with my dear friends whenever I want. Here, I find that I have to watch what I spend on, ask around before I know where to get certain things, I don't even know the areas when people talk about them, and generally I just feel lost and unresourceful. I hate hate hate feeling like that. Whilst it's definitely been easier having a couple of friends here who have been more than great in showing me around, it's just different.

Restless, unsettled, lost.

Jude Law in Hamlet

Once again, I lucked out, thanks to Eugene the well-connected one! Someone couldn't go last minute to the Hamlet performance last Thursday and I jumped at the chance since this was a sold-out show. And of course, what wouldn't I give to see Jude Law up close and personal?




Sorry my pics turned out quite crap since I was using my iphone to sneakily take it. Yes, the figure next to the ghostly white lady is Jude Law. Yeah so his face looks like every other ghostly white person on stage haha.

The show itself was alright, though half the time I had no clue what they were saying cos it was all in Shakespearean and it's quite hard to concentrate after a long day. It was quite a minimalistic set, kinda modern/classic costumes. The performance by Jude Law was good, portraying Hamlet as a tortured and almost mad prince. The rest of the performers were so-so, I didn't really like the 'shouting' and way of acting by some of the actors. But overall, guess it was quite a good first London theatre experience. And did I mention Jude Law? Yum.

August 20, 2009

Eunice in Wonderland

Ahhhhhhhhhh!!!!!! I'm going to Fat Duck on Saturday!!!!!!! No 3-month long wait for me!

Woooohoooooo I can't wait!

I super lucked out, all thanks to my good friend here :)

August 18, 2009

Notes of a New Londoner Part II - Food!

I'm slowly catching up with the posts I've been meaning to blog about since last week. First up, I wanted to show everyone where I'm putting up at the moment - Saco Covent Garden Serviced Apartments. It's a nice one bedroom apartment with a kitchen and a large outdoor terrace that I don't make enough use of. It's right in the heart of Covent Garden on a quiet street, walkable to work, with H&M, Ted Baker, Paul Smith etc right at my doorstep on the same street.

Since I have a kitchen, I have been making use of it. No, not macarons or any sort of baking, but making simple meals (remember the student life I mentioned?) to save money. I do wonder if I am saving any money since I keep buying groceries from M&S, Tescos, Sainsbury. Stocked up on cereal, milk and some pasta ingredients. Here are my first home-cooked meals in London - Capellini with Sugar Snap Peas and Beef Bolognese, Scrambled Eggs and Capellini with Sugar Snap Peas and Sausage in Tomato Sauce. I usually make way too much, and end up either stuffing myself or eating leftovers for the next few meals. Totally not helping in my dieting plans.



And to make things even worse (in relation to my diet plans), I've been dining pretty well. Wan has been introducing me to all the good food and must-try places. His bunch of foodie friends meet quite often to try new places to my benefit. In the short week that I've been here, the places that I've already tried are:
  • St John Bread & Wine (British food) 94-96 Commercial St, Liverpool St tube, E1 - good simple British fare with undecipherable menu names, like wth is a white faggot? stinking bishop? speckled-face sheep? ok I think the last is what it says it is.
  • Rock & Sole Plaice (fish & chips, bottom left pic) 47 Endell St, Covent Garden tube, WC2 - age-old fish and chips institution that is getting pricier.
  • Orrery (French chichi place) 55 Marylebone High St, Marylebone tube, W1 - tried the cheap(er) set menu, so-so not blow away but not too bad considering price. Many upmarket restaurants are offering 'recession' set menus
  • GBK (gourmet burger chain) 50 Westbourne Grove, Bayswater, W2 - yummy beetroot burger!
  • Hummingbird Bakery (famous cupcake place, top 2 pics), 133 Portobello Rd, Notting Hill tube, W11 - If you're wondering why the cupcakes in the below pics are so smashed up, it's because the silly carrier box they gave us was super not sturdy plus an entire day of walking around caused the cupcakes to do somersaults and backflips. We tried Red Velvet, Carrot & Black Bottom (my fave!)
  • Cha Cha Moon (Alan Yau's take on noodle bar, bottom right pics), 15-21 Ganton St, Oxford Circus tube, W1 - Wan had really good crispy duck noodles (meepok!!!) and I had Jia Xiang Beef Hor Fun, which was very tasty beef hor fun with black bean sauce. Definitely gonna come back and try the other stuff.
  • Dragon Castle (Chinese restaurant), 100 Walworth Rd, Elephant & Castle tube, SE1 - supposedly one of the better Chinese restaurants around, it definitely didn't disappoint, most things were quite authentic, not your usual angmoh chinese restaurant place.
  • La Trompette (French Michelin 1-star), 5-7 Devonshire Rd, Turnham Green tube, W4 - I didn't know this was Michelin-starred till I went back and googled it. I had a business lunch there and I think the standard of the food was much better than Orrery. Chiswick, the atas residential area it's in, is also very nice. Probably will go back one day to walk around.
Sorry don't have pics for most of them cos it would have been a tad touristy to whip out my camera at the nice chi chi places haha. So the below would have to suffice for now.
Posted by Picasa

London In Pictures

Figured this would be easier since people would be lazy to go over to flickr. I'll be adding more to the Markets set since my stupid Flickr Pro expired and 1/3 of my photos didn't upload properly.

Random Sights Around London




Markets in London

August 15, 2009

Notes of A New Londoner Part I

I feel like a student again. Everything's so expensive here, I have to watch what I eat, drink and buy in case I overspend. I guess I should stop converting everything back into SGD cos that's only going to give me a heart attack soon. I probably will end up eating Pret sandwiches a lot, or take-out M&S food, gotta start rationing my Starbucks coffee as well, gone are the days of S$1 kopi. The plan is to cook for dinner and bring in the leftover for lunch and have 2 nice meals during the weekend. Let's see how I do on that. Although it's just sad that I have to watch my expenditure so closely.

Not just that, but I am really starting to miss the convenience and luxuries of having a car to zip around anywhere anytime. Here, I'm subject to the ubiquitous oft-broken down Tube, bus or walking everywhere (I've already worn out my cheapo Far East shoes) cos I can't afford to be cabbing everywhere. Hais...

Speaking of shoes, EVERYONE in London seems to be wearing flats. Not that that's a bad thing, but I had thought more people would be wearing heels, judging by the amount of heels H&M, Topshop are selling. But no, everyone's feet are clad in flats. Some even wear trainers or slippers with their work clothes (I suspect there's a pair of heels hidden in their bags) and that attests to how much of a walking culture there is here. Not just a walking culture, but a practical culture since pain-free feet take precedence over style. Either that, or I'm totally hanging out in plebian cum tourist land where the chi-chi fashion forward Londoners don't hang out. Probably the heel-cladden fashionistas are zipping everywhere in black cabs or their shiny beemers.

I really should find out where the real Londoners hang out. So WHO are the real Londoners? The old money and aristocratic? The surburban working middle-class? The stylish fashion set? White-collared I-bankers? (who have most probably been retrenched and disappeared these days) Or is it the cosmopolitan melting pot of immigrants and transient working people (like me) that I come across everyday in Central London? Seriously, when I take the Tube, not one person is speaking English (American doesn't count). A smattering of various tongues can be heard and I thought I came here to be surrounded by the Queen's English.

I guess this is the real London - a city where paths are crossed and different people of the world come together to call this place home. Just like me. Now I just need to find out where Hugh Grant hangs out.

August 14, 2009

My Sweet Pad (Almost!)

So, after 5 days of relentless viewings and tons of walking, I finally found the place I am going to call home for the next 3 years. Well, almost as I've got to wait for the paperwork to clear before I get the keys. Crossing my fingers that nothing goes wrong and the approval goes through.

I'm really quite excited about it! It's situated in Belgravia, near Sloane Square tube and also Victoria tube. It took a while for me to get used to the idea of this neighbourhood as I was earlier quite set on something in Marylebone (the Rosetti House property). This area is slightly quieter and less err poseur I feel (although many would beg to differ since this is the poshnosh area). It's a short walk to Sloane Street where all the designer boutiques are situated leading to Knightsbridge. Around the neighbourhood is King's Road, Pimlico Road and Elizabeth Street, which are full of cafes and cute small shops. The apartment's in not in a period house (which I originally wanted), but in a non-descript block but at least I'll have a porter (caretaker in Brit).

Ok ok, here are the pics I took from the apartment viewing that day.
What really got me was the decor of the place, everything's pretty new, and the kitchen. Yes, I've been obsessing about the kitchens. This has all the appliances, all new AND a gas stove plus plenty of storage. I also have a tiny tiny balcony to either put plants or maybe even BBQ (not in winter tho). The landlord's also a big corporate landlord with their own tenant support system which would be so important if anything breaks down.

Yeah, I'm very thankful that I managed to settle this before I start work next week, which promises to be crazy and full of back to back meetings. Really hope there aren't any problems with the lease and everything will go smoothly.

I kinda feel purposeless now that I've found a place. Was walking around today and feeling very lost, the shopping didn't really call out to me, and without any place or neighbourhood to view, I really didn't know where to go! Quite a bit of observations and thoughts to pen down over the next few blog entries so I guess stay tuned!

August 13, 2009

Starting In London

I've been meaning to blog about everything here since I came but haven't been able to because it hasn't been convenient to do so thus far, and there was just so much thoughts and observations to pen down that I didn't know where to begin.

I wanted to start another blog just to talk about London, but then again it might be troublesome for those who would read both. So I'm sticking to this for now, unless I feel compelled to move later.

Oh where to begin? It's been 5 days already since I left. I was very touched by my friends who turned up at the airport to see me off. Really fortunate to have them around, cos I was having trouble with my luggage. It was TOTALLY overweight (and that's after I already took out some at home). Luckily for me, Jean was a miracle worker and managed to redistribute my stuff around my multiple bags and I managed to get through onto the plane without having to leave anything behind. As I was entering the gate, it really felt like going off to Cornell all over again. Needless to say, I was quite upset to leave and was crying quite a bit. Even on the plane, I'd go to the toilet and cry.

Then I got to London. To be honest, I don't think it has hit me yet. The past 5 days felt kinda like a vacation, except that I wasn't really doing touristy things like shopping and sightseeing. I was busy walking around the various neighbourhoods and viewing apartments. That's all I've done really. I've seen about 30+ apartments thus far, and walked around South Kensington, Belgravia, Marylebone, Mayfair, Covent Garden, and also near Angel. The first 2 days of viewing were crazy as I saw about 30 in 2 days. There weren't any that jumped out at me though a couple left an impression. I've shortlisted about 3 thus far and the pics are here.

Apartment 1
Apartment 2
Apartment 3

The first one is located near Great Portland St and Regent's Park, on the edge of Marylebone and Fitzrovia. Very large and spacious apartment with neutral colours. When I saw it I felt it was really well decorated, until I saw the rest. The kitchen is a fairly good size with a dining room of sorts as well. Kitchen has new appliances but the stove is electric. Yes, the kitchen is very important to me, and is kinda disproportionately weighing on my decision. The location's pretty good since it's quite near to Marylebone High St, Oxford St and Regent St where all the big shops are.

The second one is nicely furnished, cosy and on top of this bridal shop along a cute street called Elizabeth St in Belgravia. The kitchen looked a bit old though but the owner has done it up really nicely in a homely cottagey sort of way.

The third place is in Chesham St, which is kinda off Eaton Sq (atas place) was the most well-furnished (now Apt 1 kinda pales in comparison) and has the British India sort of feel about it. Only one bedroom though, but it does have a powder room (!) though it does seem like wasted space since I can't really make it into a walk-in wardrobe with no storage there. The kitchen is nice and new, but again, induction stove.

Apt 2 and 3 are kinda in between the Sloane Sq tube and Victoria tube. Pretty prestigious neighbourhoods. While it is well decorated, it doesn't really feel homely or my style, whereas Apt 1 has the benefits of having the main furniture in, but I can do it up, like a blank canvas. So currently Apt 1 is tops.

I'm going to look at something else tomorrow that really really looks like it has potential. 2 bedrooms, with wonderful furnishings (more of my style) and in the same areas as Apt 2 and 3. I think the downside is that the apt is in a building (as opposed to a period house) and there aren't that many supermarkets or big shops nearby though plenty of small cute shops and cafes.

Think this might be the winner :)

August 5, 2009

Leaving On A Jet Plane

Sorry for the radio silence. The past couple of weeks have been hectic to say the least. Busy packing, buying, preparing, selling car, meeting friends on top of work stuff and finishing up my flower class. Yup I've finally finished my Professional Cert in Floral Design, I barely passed and it was quite sad seeing how raw and unskilled I am still after all this time. Guess I just have to practice a lot more.

I feel like I've just been rushing from place to place, event to event, without really taking in the significance and pleasure of the experience. These past few days when I had to bid final farewells to close friends have been difficult to say the least. I resent the fact that I still have to do work stuff and fulfill other commitments (like flower class), rather than just have all the time devoted to spending time with people I care about.

I'm toying with the idea of starting a new blog to document my adventures in the new land and maybe lock this blog and keep it purely personal and private for a select few. Will also have to figure out how to use Twitter and FB more to keep people updated about what's going on over there. Not too sure what social media route I'll take, any suggestions?

I'm going to miss all of you and my life here. I suppose this marks another end of a chapter, just like how it was when I finished Cornell. I'm sure London will have its share of excitement and new experiences but for now, I really do wish I wasn't going and leaving all this behind.
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