Nueva Cuba

It was the first launch of “Wine Tastings Evenings” by Trevor and I decided to show support by rounding up a group of wino friends for the event. Tastings of 6 different wines from France along with 6 Cuban tapas. $65/pax. A pretty neat deal, considering what we had.

I was there early and as usual I was starving. We got some tostadas to tide us over first – creamy cheesy shrimp and mozzarella cheese mushroom – good stuff, especially paired with the welcome glass of Chateau d'Esclans Whispering Angel Rose.

Finally my group of 8 arrived and the tasting started proper. First up, a nice tapas platter to pair with 3 white wines. To be honest, I’ve only been to Nueva Cuba for drinks, so I was pleasantly surprised by how good the food was. I really enjoyed the quesadilla, salmon wrapped asparagus and skewered mushrooms. Not to mention the glass of Sacha Lichine, yums.

The second tapas platter was just as impressive as the first. Here we had beef, salsa and cheese layered tortilla (I think that was what we had but it was excellent, in any case), some chorizo tostada, and bacon wrapped asparagus. 3 reds were paired with this, my favourite being the Bordeaux from Thunevin Presidial.

Verdict: I’ve known for a long time that Nueva Cuba, like its Clarke Quay counterpart Cuba Libre, serves up the best mojitos in town. It’s good to know that they have now also expanded their wine list for the benefit of us wino-sapiens. Most importantly, they serve really delicious food! I see myself making return visits to further explore the food menu here.

Find Me On The Forums

Ah - internet forums. Home to the good, the bad and the so very, very ugly. And yet, despite the occasional vitriol thats bandied about ( usually by over-zealous keyboard warriors ) i quite like spending time on my favourite websites forums. Every community has their good and bad, and internet forums are a reflection of that. I like a good, fervent discussion, so i much rather a blog post or article that polarises people, rather than one that just gives its author a gigantic, fluffy, cyber hug.

One of my favourite forums is at Now i know a lot of other people claim to NOT be a fan of the Mamamia forums, namely because they do sometimes get over-run by aggressive and abusive commenters, but i'm a big enough girl to ignore all the idiots and follow the discussion amongst the sane people. I like the range of topics on offer there too - even if they dont quite hark back to the passionate dissections of film and music that I had on Bolt back in the day ( and if any of you know or remember what Bolt* was then, like me, your showing your age... ).

And now i've just discovered ( somewhat belatedly ) the Digital Parents forums. I did sign up last year when they were still known as Australian Mummy Bloggers but for some reason i never went back after my initial registration. But not now! Inspired by all the fanfare surrounding the inaugural blogging conference and a need to feel a bigger part of the Australian blogging community, i've started visiting the forums on Digital Parents. My contributions are in their infancy but if you see me around the traps, make sure to say hi, ok? Its well-known that i'm a shy kind of girl so any connections i already do have will come in handy trying to make new bloggy-friends!

One of my favourite forums is at Now i know a lot of other people claim to NOT be a fan of the Mamamia forums, namely because they do sometimes get over-run by aggressive and abusive commenters, but i'm a big enough girl to ignore all the idiots and follow the discussion amongst the sane people. I like the range of topics on offer there too - even if they dont quite hark back to the passionate dissections of film and music that I had on Bolt back in the day ( and if any of you know or remember what Bolt* was then, like me, your showing your age... ).

And now i've just discovered ( somewhat belatedly ) the Digital Parents forums. I did sign up last year when they were still known as Australian Mummy Bloggers but for some reason i never went back after my initial registration. But not now! Inspired by all the fanfare surrounding the inaugural blogging conference and a need to feel a bigger part of the Australian blogging community, i've started visiting the forums on Digital Parents. My contributions are in their infancy but if you see me around the traps, make sure to say hi, ok? Its well-known that i'm a shy kind of girl so any connections i already do have will come in handy trying to make new bloggy-friends!

A Working Mother's Value

Image from here

Does being a working mother make me a less valeable employee? I know it doesnt make me a worse mother because as far as thats concerned i think i'm doing a pretty excellent job thus far ( despite occasional bouts of mother guilt ). I also know, in my heart of hearts, that i'm good at what i do and valued by my workmates - so why then do i feel like the old brown dog that people only keep around because they cant be bothered taking it out bush to put it out of its misery?

Forgive me for that admittedly harsh analogy, but in the last week i've been made to feel quite worthless in my job. Not by the people i work WITH - the small team i work with in our local branch are like a second family to me and though, like all families, we have our disagreements or niggling annoying habits, we support each other in our work and the roles we play within the team. No, its the people i work FOR who are doing my head in, the upper echelon management who for some reason have decided that running a great company into the ground by getting all their staff offside is the best way to go forward. Without going into too much detail, my hours and days of work have been changed, without any consulation with me personally or with anyone in my branch - its been a " this is happening, and you WILL do it " kind of attitude. To be quite frank, i havent appreciated it. Its made me feel like they only keep me around because they legally cant get rid of me; that they really would prefer it if they didnt have to put up with a young mother who's toddler has been sick a bit lately, or who's availability of daycare is a priority when trying to organise anything work-related. Like i was more valuable, and thus better appreciated, by them when i was a full-time working DINK, even though the only thing that has changed is my working hours, not the quality of the work i do.

Quite frankly i want to tell them to take their job and shove it as far up their arses as they can wedge it, but i dont.... my family needs the money, and in any case i'm hoping to fall pregnant at the end of this year and could really use the paid maternity leave they'll have to give me when i have another baby. I also dont want to burden my team-mates with anymore work than they already have on their already over-flowing plates ( management are also really lax at keeping a full rotation of staff, because people keep leaving the company, fed up with their shoddy treatment ... ).

So, until the next baby dream becomes a reality i'll just have to keep my head down, bum up and try not to run my mouth too much at our upcoming conference when management asks my opinion on branch morale.....


Yes it has been a very "meaty" weekend. Brawn was planned for Saturday and I would have liked to space out the meat out a bit, but my Friday dinner kaki YM was keen to show me this new steak place he had discovered so off we went.

Salta is located at ICON village, near Tg Pagar and a stone's throw from my office. The restaurant's named after a city in Argentina which is famous for beef - apparently the cattle graze freely hence their meat is leaner and full of flavor. Decor was atypical of a steakhouse - black leather and dark wood, nice comfortable ambiance.

For starters, we had the batatas fritas (sweet potato fries $5). Ok, nothing impressive. For mains, both of us ordered steak, naturally. I had the beef skirt ($31 of fatty goodness) and YM had the rib-eye. Check out the pic of my "medium" cow. To their credit, they cooked the beef just the way I like - well done with just a tinge of redness. It was flavorful enough on its own, no need for sauces. I really liked the wine prices too, we shared a bottle of Terrazas malbec for only $55, excellent value.

My only grouse is the lousy bread basket they served, the breads were rock hard - definitely not fresh. Service was a bit patchy at times but they were flexible enough to let us finish up our bottle of wine at the bar which was quite conducive for relaxing and conversation.

Excellent value for decent steak with wine. I'd vote for this rather than Brawn if I had to choose. I will definitely be back since it's right in my hood!

Brawn Steakhouse

I'm a sucker for deals, I am. Brawn is a new steakhouse at Marina Bay Financial Centre which I had walked past a few times and thought looked nice. When I heard about the 1-for-1 Dinner Special with DBS Cards, I immediately grabbed some friends to go check the place out.

The deal was sweet. Free flow of lamb and beef from the spit roast, salads, pita bread, hand cut fries and Charlotte Street Red or White wine at $88++ per set ($50 per pax). Available till 31 July on Mondays-Wednesdays and Saturday (working area no crowd?).

So there we were, on a Saturday night, fine dining (some sort). Ambience was nice and service was attentive - plus. The food itself was just so-so. The cuts of meats were a tad fatty and inconsistently cooked, there were some nice medium rare slices and then there were the dry overcooked slices. Overall, the beef was better than the lamb and I suppose for the price I can't complain. I have to commend the choice of house white and red wine, quite palatable and so we kept topping up haha.

Would I return? Hmm maybe, just to enjoy the deal again before it expires. I wonder if the ala carte meats are cooked with greater care. If not, I will not pay full price to eat here.

Polly Dolly - Frequent Flyer

 Polly's back ( again brought to you by the lovely Dani over at Danimezza ) but she wont be staying long - this week she's off on holiday, lucky thing. She's heading to New Jersey to visit my her friend Flavia who's just had a baby, so Dani wants to see what Polly will be wearing when she's a....

Polly Dolly - Frequent Flyer

Polly Dolly - Frequent Flyer by Amy1984 featuring small tote bags

If she's going all the way to the US, Polly is going to need sometrhing comfy so i've got her in some cotton jersey pants, a cute tee and a soft, warm cardigan ( to keep snug in that airplane airconditioning ) Pretty flats are easy to kick off once she's on board, and a cute neck pillow will make those economy seats a bit easier to sleep in. Of course, when she's not asleep or watching movies, Polly might want to try reading a magazine ( stowed away in her sweet printed tote ) and she might want to reapply some moisturiser and lip balm so she doesnt dry out. Wooden bangles and a gold watch complete the ensemble, but are still easy to take off everytime she needs to go through airport security ( where she'll also need her passport ). Only a two flights at a total of 19 hrs flying til Newark!

30 Days of Music - Days 25 + 26

Seeing as i've been getting majorly annoyed and frusturated the last two days ( long story for another time.. ) i thought it was about time for another music post...
Day 25 - A song that reminds you of a happy moment in your life?
I could narrow it down to just one single moment, so i've gone with a happy time in my life...
One of my girlfriends and i were pub buddies - we'd go out almost every single weekend for a while there, in our early 20's, and this is one of the songs we'd pump in the car as we drove around before hitting the pub/clubs. Why? Because we were G.L.A.M...O.R...O.U.S yea....

Day 26 - A song that reminds you of a bad moment in your life?
" Dyin' Ain't Much Of A Livin' " by Jon Bon Jovi, off the " Blaze of Glory " soundtrack. This song was played at my uncles funeral while his casket was being carried out ( incidentally, i think of one of you readers may  have known my uncle, or at least know OF him... ). Bad moment in my then 11 yr old life? Yep. Nuff said then...

Mambo Jambo

For the uninitiated, it's Mambo Jambo night at Zouk on Wednesdays. It's a (somewhat unorthodox) mix of 70s and 80s pop hits. Think Jason Donovan's "Too Many Broken Hearts", Rick Astley's "Together Forever" and Belinda Carlisle's "Summer Rain" immortalized in a sea of bopping youngsters with synchronized dance moves.

Before competition from new clubs such as Butter Factory and more recently, Filter, Mambo used to be THE place to be. These days it's less crowded, though far from forgotten. Mambo nights hold a special place in the hearts of me and my friends. For many of us, Zouk was the first club we went to when we were 19 (I'm a late bloomer). Plenty of memories there. Including a particularly memorable night involving half a jug of long island tea and a toliet bowl.

I really should make my yearly pilgrimage to get my annual year's worth of Mambo Jambo soon. Quite appropriate timing, considering it's been a tough two weeks and it should be a good night to just release my inhibitions and dance to my heart's content with the homies. A lil depressed.

Human Tears


It is amazing how the sight of someone crying can completely humanise that person, can change them from robot to real in a second. I say this because today, during what was a somewhat intense staff meeting, i saw my formerly dragon-lady boss cry. She cried those embarrassing tears that come when you're trying to keep your shit together and everything just overwhelms you, and rather than make me want to roll my eyes it made me feel bad for her. And, strangely enough, bad that i'd previously thought so little of her. That i'd thought that she was unfeeling and only concerned with the company line, when now it seems she's stuck between a rock and hard place and is as just as frusturated and demoralised as the rest of us. It was nice to see she's not a Stepford-boss after all, and instead is just another employee trying to keep calm and carry on.

I guess sometimes it takes a glimpse of these hidden insecurities to change our opinon of someone, even if that someone wants us to think of them in an entirely different light. I may not think of her entirely differently, but least now i know their is a real woman behind the company robot....

Sweet Life: My Favourite Places

Ooh, so to brighten up my Monday morning ( seeing as my state manager will be at work today and i loathe her, i'll need some cheering up... ) I thought i'd participate in another " Sweet Life " post, brought to you by the lovely Melissa at Suger Coat It. Mel wants to know what makes our life sweet, and this week its all about those places that make, or have made, your life worth living...

1. My mum and dads house
I dont really have any photos of my mum and dads house ( unless you count very badly focused shots from our engagement party - dont know who took them but they arent worth posting ) but aside from my own home, its the number one place i enjoy spending time with my family. Its the kind of house you can just " drop in " to, and you can stay all day if you want to - especially if small toddler-like people are doing your head in and you just want them to tire themselves out by doing laps of the backyard on their tricycles. Plus, my parents are very generous with the snacks and the Pepsi-Max, so it makes for a great atmosphere to relax in and chat. Gotta love my parentals!
2. Taronga Western Plains Zoo playground
So thats not actually the playground ( thats Mick and Flynn with Flynn's favourite animal... ) but i loooooooove the playground out at the zoo. Its a free picnic area with swings and flying fox and jungle gym with slippery dip, and even though you dont have to pay to get in you can still see the monkeys and the lemurs in that area. It has plenty of space for running and isnt anywhere near a road way, so there is no worries about Flynn escaping on me. We've been out there quite a few times in the last month or so, and its become my favourite spot in town for playing...
3. New Jersey, USA
Now go ahead, make whatever " Jersey Shore " jokes you like, but i really enjoyed my time living in NJ ( thats the house i lived in right there ). I lived there for a year and worked as an au pair for a lovely family with 3 boys, and the place holds some beautiful memories for me. I found some self-confidence while i lived abroad, made a few great friends, and had some great adventures in near-by New York City, and returned to Australia with a better sense of who i was and who i wanted to become. If only it didnt snow there, it would be a pretty close to perfect place!
4. Peru, South America

This one makes the list because its my favourite holiday destination so far. I trekked for 4 days through the Andes to Machu Picchu ( which was insane physically, but so worth it ) and fell in love with the mountain city of Cusco. I used what little Spanish i know and marched in a protest ( kind of unknowingly at first... ). I avoided spitting llamas for the most part, fell sick and "magically " got better and kind of had a crush on my tour guide ( who, on the last night, told me i was sexy. Ah, to be there again and have the confidence to run with that comment! ). Anybody looking for a holiday with a bit of old-school adventure to it, i'd definately recommend Peru - just make sure you do the trek to Machu Picchu and dont take the sissy way out and catch the bus!

Alto Taberna

Ever since my trip to Spain last year, I have occasionally been dreaming of the tapas I had there and how good they were. Bar Bocaito’s bacalao con caviar (salt cod pâté with caviar). Casa Lucas’ Madrid tapa (canape spread with tomato confit topped with a mixture of scrambled egg, blood sausage, raisins and pine nuts, decorated with fried potato sticks). Love.

I have been trying to find authentic Spanish tapas in Singapore for the longest time. So far, my little Spanish Place ain’t too bad, the food at Don Quinjote was so-so but service sucked, and Serenity Tapas Bar at Vivo was satisfactory. But nothing amazing.

Alto Taberna last night, was surprisingly good. In terms of authenticity, it comes up tops. The menu is limited, with only 16 tapas items and maybe another 2 daily specials. Nothing to fault there, as there is only the chef and one waitress there – it’s a small outfit in Holland Village.

We ordered a ton of items (as usual) and what impressed me was how consistently good everything was. I love the excellent olive oil they use! Try the stuffed peppers with mashed salted cod, the gambas al pil pil, meatballs, roasted cauliflower and duck rilette – all very good! Haha I know I’m gushing but of course I’m excited – I finally found the taste of Spain in Singapore!

They should hire more help though. Service can get slow when the place fills up. But it’s a Spanish joint, so go after 8pm – late dinners mah.

Address: 16A Lorong Mambong, Holland Village

Polly Dolly - She Lives Out In The Country

Yay - its time for Polly Dolly again! Polly Dolly is brough to you by the lovely Dani at Danimezza ( usually on a Thursday, which explains my withdrawals... ) and this week Dani wants to know how Polly dresses when she's in the....
Polly Dolly - She Lives Out In The Country
Polly Dolly - She Lives Out In The Country by Amy1984 featuring satchel handbags

Now, a small disclaimer - i actually DO live out in the country ( Dubbo, a town in country NSW ) and though i live in town and not out on a property, i know what " real " country people wear. However, seeing as Polly is a fantasy game, i've decided to create a set that is still the "cliche " country that some of you city folk ( haha! ) picture country lasses wearing, but still close to what i might actually wear ( if i could afford it all ). So.... i've found a sweet, floral shirt dress and paired it with soft grey, ribbed tights and some Ariat riding boots ( Ariats are " real " country..... my fiance owns a very expensive pair that he prides himself on ). Ad a warm, comfy knit, a soft beanie and a sweet owl pendant and Polly is ready to go on a picnic with her very cute farmer boyfriend. They'll need their picnic basket and blanket, some country tunes for the ride out to the beautiful river location and some sunscreen to protect against the hot, inland sun. Perfect!
*Note* - more than a few parts of this Polly Dolly may be inspired by dates i went on with Mick and things we did ( or didnt! ) do....

Go Watch NDP With Me

I feel a bit ashamed to say that I’ve never attended a single NDP my entire 33 years. Sis was just asking how she could get tickets for her kids so I decided to check it work today. Guess what, my timing is perfect, applications for the ballot start TODAY!

Singapore citizens and PRs can apply, and there’s a choice for either the preview (30th July) and actual day tickets (8th August). Ballot closes on 29th May so hurry. Ticketing application can be done via 4 channels:

1. Online at or any AXS and SAM stations.
2. NDP 2011 Mobile Application, free download
3. Ticketing hotline 1900-112-4551 to ballot for preview tickets, or 1900-112-4559 to ballot for actual day tickets.
4. SMS: Key in “NDP” and send it to 9395-2855 to start the application process. An SMS reply will be sent to the applicant shortly. Follow the instructions as prompted.

Good Luck!

30 Days of Music - Days 22 + 23

Wow - i'm slowly getting to the end of this thing! The pointy end as some people would call it, and the prompts are getting more personal and harder to pick so its proving to be a bit tricky. Anyhoo -
Day 22 - A song that reminds you of a person
Not many songs remind me of one specific person ( lots that remind me of people in a specific place, or people at a specific time though) so i decided to go with this one, which reminds me of my dad:
I dont think many of you will know it as its a country song ( and most of you dont come across as lovers of country music - i could be wrong ) but this song, about how having a job and working hard for your family is more important than being rich, or famous, or " successful ", really evoked my father even from the first time i heard it. My dad has only ever put his family first, always taking every opportunity he could to better provide for us, even when it was costing him personally. To me, thats admirable, even if he doesnt have a uni degree or earn squillions. So he and this song kind of go hand in hand...

Day 23 - A song that reminds you of a place
See, for this one i couldnt think of a song that reminded me only of a place, without having a person in there to give it some context. So lets consider this a song that calls of memories of a person, in a place, which leads you to thinking just of the place and then of other people there. Ok?
This song reminds me of my friend Keitumetse, whom i knew in the US when we were both au pairs there in 2004-2005. Now, its not because Tumi IS a gold digger, but rather because when this song came out she loved it, and everytime we went somewhere in her big van she'd turn it on, turn it up and sing the shit of the Jamie Foxx part. It also kind of makes me a bit sad sometimes too, because after we left the US i never heard from Tumi again. Its like she went back to South Africa and got eaten by a lion, or just fell off the face of the planet or something. Its a shame, 'cause she was a great person, very fun and bubbly and from a culture so different ours that i felt enriched just chatting with her... where are you Tumi?!

Limoncello Pizza and Grill

I like this new Italian joint. Valentino’s is still my all time favourite with Bruno’s a close second but Limoncello has its charm – not to mention great value, taste, and an excellent riverside location right behind Rivergate condominium. Yay another Robertson joint to hang out at.

It was a dinner to celebrate “the beginning of the rest of my life” – it’s a long story – and I had 4 of my dearest friends with me.

We sat at the alfresco area and it was nice, with a slight breeze, view of the river and nostalgic (think 80s and Tommy Page) music from the adjourning bar (looks hip) at a comfortable volume. We ordered the second cheapest bottle of wine at $58 a pop and it was pretty good.

For starters, we shared the antipasto combination dishes, and wow it was huge for $39 – large chunk of burrata cheese (oohh so milky), parma ham, grilled mushrooms, vegetables and salad. My only complain is that the bread they served it with was lack luster, no love there.

We also shared a parma ham pizza, the mascarpone cheese and mushroom ravioli and the seafood pasta. The pizza was really good! I like the good balance of cheese, sauce and chewy crust. The ravioli impressed us too. The seafood pasta on the other hand, was quite a disappointment, don’t order it.

The bill for the 5 of us with two bottles of wine came up to $50 each. Pretty darn good value if you ask me. Thank you darlings, for being here for me!

Very Versatile

Its been a while since this has happened - but would you believe i've been given a blog award? Apparently the lovely Ames over at Tutu Ames thinks i'm a " Versatile Blogger " and has bestowed a beautiful award and badge upon my little blog. Of course, when accepting prestigious blog awards such as this one, it is customary to complete the attached meme..... which happens to be along the " 7 Things You Dont Know About Me " line of things. Is it possible, after 500-odd blog posts, that there is still random crap i'm yet to share with you? Perhaps. Maybe. Probably not. With that in mind, here are the 7 little tidbits i've come up with, which may or may not already be old news....

1. Sometimes, on a Saturday afternoon, when there is nothing else to do.... i watch WWE wrestling with Mick. I dont avidly and excitedly watch it - like some little and not-so-little boys i know - but if its on i dont mind having a sneaky peek at some of the hard bodies and "athletic entertainment ". Dont be alarmed though because i know its not real.

2. I dont drink coffee, and i dont drink "normal " tea. I dont mind herbal teas from time to time and i love me a chai latte, but i cannot think of anything worse than downing a cup of coffee in the morning. In fact, the smell of strong coffee makes me gag. Yuck!

3. My top 3 favourite films from my childhood are - " The Princess Bride ", " The Never-Ending Story " and " Annie ". Apparently, even when i was a little kid, i didnt find over-the-top slap stick funny. Give me princesses, flying dragons, singing oprhans and true love any day!

4. My feet are a size bigger after being pregnant. Even so, i still only wear an Australian size 6-7. Apparently i have small feet ( pity my waist/hip/bum ratio is not in direct correlation to my feet... )

5. I work in the main street of my town and, believe you me, i get to see some interesting things out my office window - people with crazy hair, near misses when people dont check their mirrors whilst reversing, kids starting fights.... hell, just today i witnessed a bus pull in too close to the kerb and crash into the bus shelter!

6. I am organising my 10 year high school reunion for later this year. Well, me and one other of my former classmates. To be honest, i dont really want to, but 2 years ago there was a rumour going around that i would do the organising when the time came ( i still have no idea where this rumour started... ) but now that we're almost halfway through the year and no-one else has volunteered, i figure i better do it or it just wouldnt get done. My former best friend was keen to help two years ago - guess who is strangely absent from our small planning committee? My major worry now is that myself and the other girl will put in the effort to have a nice little get-togther and a) no-one will show up or b) no-one will enjoy it....

7. My best friend while i lived in America, F, has just had a baby. F is Brazilian and her fiance is Lithiuanian ( they were foreign students when they met... ) so they have named their baby girl Aleksa. Isnt that beautiful? Even though i havent seen them since late 2005 and in all likelihood will not see them for a long time to come, i still love F with all my heart. We just clicked - it seemed that though we were from different countries, different upbringings, different ages... at least we were different together in a place that was different for both of us. I wish we lived in the same country again so i could have a proper "best friend ", especially after last years debacle with my ex-BFF. Now all i gotta do is wait for the pics of how cute Aleksa looks in the clothes i sent her!

So there you go. The other part of the rules is i need to bestow this award on some of the blogs i've discovered and loved lately. So if you are one of the following people - you win!
1. Polly at A Working Mothers Chatter
2. Melissa at Suger Coat It
3. Kate at A Home For Ida

Osia @ RWS

I love restaurants that offer value-for-money set lunches even on weekends. Osia is the brainchild of Aussie celebrity chef Scott Webster whose forte is using fresh Australian primary produce and cooking them with a combination of French and Japanese cooking techniques. It's been on my list of to-gos for a while, so I was thrilled when I suggested it to Aosh and she said yes.

We ordered two flavours of the flat bread to share - macadamia pesto and olive ($9 each). I love the macadamia pesto bread and the eggplant dip. Such a novel idea to have it in a tube!

Set lunches are at $28++ (2 courses) and $38++ (3 courses), including a choice of coffee or tea. I had the cold smoked tasmanian salmon trout for appetizer, the australian asparagus risotto as my main and then for dessert there was the valrhona hot chocolate soup with black pepper ice cream.

Good aussie fare, warm aussie service! I will be back to try the ala carte options.

That Small Warm Weight

The small, warm weight of him is nuzzled against my stomach, his head sweaty against my breast. He has been here for days now, feeling safe encircled in my arms. Without the use of words, we communicate with touch - i know his tummy hurts so i give it a gentle massage; i know his throat aches so i offer him his water; to show how sleepy and sick and altogther frusturated he is he pulls gently at my ponytail, at the soft flesh under my chin. He wants no-one but me - even the Daddy he idolises so much has been pushed aside - and i feel strangely honoured that he wants me as his comfort.

His mum. Mummy. Muuuuuuuummmmmmy.

Yet, i too feel frusturated. I want my lap back - selfishly, perhaps, i want twenty minutes to have a shower without hearing the tired moans of my son, or an hour to cook and eat my dinner without having to fork mouthfuls of food very carefully over the top of his fluffy head. His father would take him - has taken him - but the constant siren wail of " Muuuum! Muuummmy! " is too hard to listen to. It is easier to work around him, to suffer the sore back and numb buttocks for him, to only go to the bathroom when he has fallen asleep and can be put down.

And then, when i again shift my weight beneath his smallness and find a new comfortable spot, i remind myself how lucky i am that it has only been days. That it is not months of sickness, of suffering, of tired frusturation. That we are at home on our lounge under a blanket watching Sesame Street and Play School, and not stuck in the paediatric ward of a hospital. That i even have a child to be sick, when other women want so badly to have a fluffy, sweaty, bundle calling out their name. And, most luckily, that i have family to support me, who gladly agree to take my boy for the night so i can cook, and eat, and fold the four baskets of washing that have piled up in the few days he has been sick.

And i smile through my discomfort, and hold him tighter. I brush the soft hair across his forehead, stroke the smooth baby skin of his cheek. This is only temporary, but he is mine forever....

30 Days of Music - Days 21 + 22

Alrighty - so now that Blogger is back online i can get back to my 30 Days of Music challenge ( which admittedly, is being stretched across, like, 2 months ). So todays prompts were  a bit of a challenge - let me explain :
Day 21 - A song that, for you, is a guilty pleasure.
Alright, so to me " guilty pleasure " would mean that its a song that maybe no-one else likes and you should be just a little bit embarrassed about liking. Well, when i think shame and embarrassment, i think Ke$ha....
However, i quite like this song. I think its because its catchy and the film clip is hilarious ( hey, James Van Der "Douche "! ) but if anyone asked me i'd say " Kesha? Hell no - what a talentless, skanky-looking hack ! ". So just let me bop around to this song and dont give away my secret, ok?

Day 22 - The song that gets stuck in your head the most.
The song that gets stuck in my head the most? There is no such thing. Lots of song get stuck in my head once i hear them, but there is no specific song that just worms itself into my brain and stays there constantly. So, let me just post the song that is stuck in my head at the moment, thanks to Mick who was singing it while he washed the dishes this morning...

" Be With You " by Mr Big... i was a little kid when this came out yet i think i know every word ( except what the rest of them are singing in harmony during the curious. Indecipherable! ). And i dont know where Mick heard this to just randomly start singing it this morning but there you go.... have a listen and let it get stuck in your head too!

The site is stitched back together.

No proper update today, but there ARE some good news:

I've finally gotten around to fixing up the site, so the links now actually lead to something.

The removed pages are still gone - Disney's word is final in this case - but it's now a lot easier to navigate around the site.

And remember - the full issue download links were never removed. They're still available in the last post of each issue. So, you know... get them while they're hot!

Winter Is...

.... the smell of wood heaters permeating the neighbourhood air.
.... cold and flu and croup and yucky, yucky germs.
....tracky-daks and ugg boots, curled up on the lounge with a good book.

....casseroles and curries slow-cooked over 8 hrs, tender meat and creamy sauces leaving you salivating for more. Friday night and Sunday afternoon rugby league on tv. Or, my head in a book.
.... warm, cake-y desserts, dense and sweet, like the self-saucing caramel and apple pudding i made last night.

.... coats and scarves and boots and beanies to keep warm in.
....putting on flannelette pyjamas and snuggling into a bed warmed by electric blankets.
.... hiring a dvd and snuggling together under a blanket on rainy weekend afternoons.
What is winter to you?

Shopping for a Wine Fridge

As many of you are aware, I am (aspire to be) a wine geek. Now that I’m getting my own flat, the single important appliance I want to purchase is a wine fridge. A big one, for 100+ bottles. Yes, I have outgrown my teeny 16-bottle fridge!

So I've been doing some research. Here’s sharing my two cents on buying a wine fridge:

Some Things to Consider

1. First of all, you gotta decide how many bottles you want to store. As a rule of thumb, I would recommend more capacity than you think you need. Think about it, most wine distributors only deliver free above a dozen bottles, so the bottles accumulate very easily I tell you.

2. If you enjoy both red and wine wine, you can consider buying a fridge with dual temperature zones. I thought about it but decided this feature wasn’t worth the extra cost. I figure it’s no trouble storing all my wines at red wine temperature and then popping the whites into my normal fridge just before I want to drink them.

3. The experts recommend wooden shelves instead of metal shelves. Something about the former having more vibration control. But anyway most of the wine fridges have wooden shelves, so I wouldn’t be too bothered about that.

4. Another factor is humidity. Most wine fridges (versus normal fridges) maintain the proper humidity level, but the fancier ones still circulate the air within to prevent mold and mildew.

5. Insulated glass panes are important to help maintain a constant temperature but again, most wine fridges come with them.

6. Singapore is hot so if you can, get a fridge with an opaque door. I hear from friends that glass doors tend to have very bad condensation.

7. My vino shifu advises me to get a unit with more shelves so that I need not stack the wines on top of each other. Not only is it difficult to take inventory, it's hard to get out the bottles from the bottom. He’s drunk many bottles, so I say, listen to the man.

Some market intelligence (prices correct as at May 2011). Please note I only listed the (few) brands within my budget and these are the models with many shelves, which is ideal:

Vintec V110 SGESS (110 btls) - Hong Liang (tel: 62736109/ 62783331) $2,000
Kadeka KA 110WR (110 btls) – Hong Liang $1,430

Europace EWC 1108 (111 btls) - Europace (tel: 6457 3678) $1,740

In a perfect world, I would splurge on a Miele 187-bottle fridge without batting an eyelash. Unfortunately, my pockets are not deep enough. In fact, my budget for a 100+ bottle is less than SGD 2K - quite a stretch, considering what’s out there in the market. Luckily for me, I eventually got the manager of Cuba Nueva to sell me his old unit cheap - $500 for a (model to be inserted) is one sweet deal, thank you Trevor.

Polly Dolly - Pleats Are Neat

 Time again for my favourite meme ever - Polly Dolly! Again we have Dani from Danimezza to thank for our the idea, and this week, inspired by what she's seen hitting the market for this season, Dani wants to see our Polly's in...

Polly Dolly - Pleats Are Neat

I thought i'd go with a skirt, but i didnt want it to look like Polly was wearing my old school uniform! I found this great skirt which gave me a real sort-of mod, retro yet Zoey Deschanel kind of vibe. So inspired by Zoey, i paired the skirt with a plain black turtleneck and tights so that the skirt would be the focus, and then added pops of colour withe accessories - cute flats, a matching bowling bag, a sweet butterfly brooch,  bright bangles and a lady-like bow for her ponytail. Eyeliner and mascara will give my Polly those gorgeous big eyes like Miss Deschanel and a slick of pretty pink lip gloss completes the look. What do you think - are Pollys pleats neat or naff?

Beerfest Asia 2011

Beerfest Asia is back! Gather a group of booze-minded friends and prepare for a fun night out.

I attended it last year, and the year before, and I want to go again this year. It's like Oktoberfest in summer, only better. So many types of beer, be prepared to be spoilt for choice.

Dates: 16 - 19 June 2011 (Thurs - Sun)
Time: 6pm - 1am (Thurs)/ 6pm - 2am (Fri& Sat)/ 12p-9pm (Sun)
Venue: Marina Promenade
Early bird price: $20 - 28 (depending on day)
Normal price: $32 - 37 (depending on day)

1. There are discounts if you book with OCBC cards. For the hard-core beer guzzler, there's also the OCBC 4-Day comb ticket at $50. You can buy tickets here. There are limited early bird tickets so hurry.

2. Ticket price includes 2 free beers, remember to redeem! There's a choice of lager, cider, stout, weiss beer, ale and fruit beer available.

3. Additional beers are purchased with tokens. Don't get carried away by buying too much tokens. Although they may be cashed back, there is a 10% charge.

4. The beer list is not out yet but there were a lot of exotic beers we tried last year. Some weren't cheap, so find an adventurous friend to share with you.

Importantly, it'll be a long night, so go easy and try to remember most of it the next day!

30 Days of Music - Days 19 + 20

Well... thank the good freakin' Lord that Blogger is working again! I tried last night and this morning to make a post and it just wasnt happening - much longer and i may have suffered withdrawals. But fear not, because Blogger is back online and so is the 30 Days of Music challenge. Where are we at ?
Day 19 - A song that makes you want to dance
So there are heaps of songs that make me wana dance - old school stuff like " Jailhouse Rock " or " Love Shack ", cheesy 80's pop songs, stuff from my childhood in the 90's. But when i really thought about it i had to go back to the days when i was a pub-rat and spent 4 hrs of a Saturday night on the dancefloor and i settled on this one -
Even though the video clip is typical Euro-trash crap, " Put Your Hands Up For Detroit " was one of my favourite pub/club dancing songs because everyone would get way into it - its a real party song. " Put your hands... put your hands up for Detroit... i love this city! "

Day 20 - A song that makes you wana rock out!
My answer for this prompt had to be a real rock song, not some light-rock crap they try to pass off as rock on the radio sometimes these days ( do i sound older than my 27 years ? ) So whats the best song for rocking with a party full/ car load of your friends?
Oh yea - you know, i know it, anyone who's ever heard it knows it - this song rocks! How can you not rock out to the chorus? Go on, try it... you cant not!

Hubers Food & Wine Fair

If you are looking for a place to hang out on weekends, this might be worth checking out. In conjunction with the Straits Wine Company, Huber's Butchery at Dempsey is having an outdoor food and wine fair. Up for sampling are a selection of meats, cheeses and antipasto, with (they say perfect) wine pairings no less.

Wine. Cheese. My two favourite things :)

Event details
Date: 28 - 29th May, Sat & Sun
Time: 9.30am - 6pm
Location: Huber's Butchery, 18A Dempsey Road
Price: $25 (Full access for 1 day, rain or shine)

Get your tickets at Huber's Butchery or the Straits Wine Company.

To My Mama

Happy Mothers Day to all you mums out there, to me and to my mama:

First of all, that is my mum, but thats not technically her bike ( its my dads ) . Secondly, that doesnt matter because my mum is pretty neat. We have had our personality clashes over the year - as do all sullen teenage daughters and their mothers - but in the past 16 months i have really come to appreciate her. I guess it took me becoming a mother to be able to see just how good my own mother is.

She's what i call a "funny " mum - gawd love her, but its like she got baby brain when she was pregnant with me and just never recovered. She's constantly coming up with clangers, calling things the wrong name, using words in amusingly wrong context, or generally just saying something weird but thats part of her appeal. She's also exceedingly kind, unslefish with her time and generous with her money ( which is greatly appreciated by our little family, from time to time ). It warms my heart to see that now, in her late 40's, she's starting to find the confidence that she was lacking in my childhood ( the legacy, unfortunately, of her own mother ), both as a mother and as a woman. I'm sure she'll never be truley zen but she's far less uptight now then she was when i was growing up. The whole, new, relaxed attitude becomes her.

So this mothers day i wanted to say thanks to mum for being the type of mum that i can hold up as an example of the kind of mother i would like to be. Kind of funny, sometimes weird, but 100% loving in every way....

Belated Celebration

Because somehow this week i made my 500th post! Holy freaking guacamole...can you believe it? I was hoping to do a giveaway to celebrate my 500th post but seeing as it snuck up on me like that i have no prize prepared, no nothing. So how bout a celebratory giveaway when i reach either my 600th post or 200 followers - whichever comes first?

Kaiho Sushi

Ever since Sage closed down, I have been on the hunt for good BYO free corkage restaurants. Places such as Saint Pierre, French Kitchen and Table 66 offer free corkage on Mondays or Tuesdays which are schoolnights, so that's hardly convenient. The chinese restaurants fare better - many of them such as Cafe de Hong Kong, Ming Kee and Wo Peng offer great value for money food, air-conditioned comfort and good stemware, even on weekends.

Last saturday I found a gem of a Japanese restaurant which also waives corkage charges. Kaiho Sushi omakase dinners has had good reviews so we gave Chef Benard a budget of $80 each, requested aburi sushi as part of the meal and left him to decide the other courses.

First up was a generous serving of sashimi, followed by a very flavourful bowl of mushroom soup. The third course was the highlight of the meal (for me at least) - 4 different types of aburi torched sushi. I took a bite of the hotate sushi and immediately went "omg this is so good.." Mental note to self to get another piece if stomach permits at the end of the meal (we did haha).

After the sushi came a whole grill fish (don't know what fish it was) for each of us. Shiok! We demolished the fish in record time and looked expectantly at Chef Bernard. "What's next?" we smiled gleefully. The next course was a daikon radish and carrot dish, which was simple but enjoyable. This was followed by light fluffy fish tempura served with mustard, which I enjoyed very much. By this time, us 3 girls were quitwe stuffed. Luckily, there was only dessert to go - strawberries with cream :) All in all an excellent meal and pretty good deal, considering we can bring our own wines.

Evronians for All Seasons, part 2

30 Days of Music - Day 17 + 18

Woo hoo - well and truly past the half way now! I have traditionally not been very good at sticking with these types of continuous memes and even though these posts arent generating the comments i hoped they would, i'm still going strong. So, anyhoo....
Day 17 - A song you want to share with the world
Its called " Falling Slowly " and its from a little indie film called " Once ". The reason i want to share it is because its such a sweet, beautiful song and whenever i mention it and the film it came from everyone goes " Huh? Never heard of it ". So even though it won an Academy Award for Best Song and should therefore be better known ( one would think... ) i feel like so many people are missing out. So, as Molly Meldrum would say - do yourself a favour and have a listen to this one...

Day 18 - A song that makes you want to sing out loud?
Seriously, over the years there have been literally hundreds of osngs that have made me want to sing out loud, and i quite often have ( just so's you know, the best place for singing out loud is alone in your car. Apologies to all the other drivers on the road out there that have been witness to one of my impromptu concerts ). Funnily enough though the first one that came to mind when i read this prompt was " I Like It Loud " by Cassie Davis...
Its a good pop song - as opposed to all the crappy generic stuff i dont like at all - and i really appreciate a good pop song. Plus its all girl-power and party-hard and a really great song for putting on when your getting ready for a night out. Love a bit of shouty girl pop!

Blu Restaurant

For my birthday, dear K offered to take me somewhere fancy for dinner. It was a happy dilemma, deciding between the various places marked on my foodie wishlist. It finally came down to Saint Pierre and Blu Restaurant - I'm so glad I picked Blu in the end - it could well be my best meal of 2011!

As mentioned in my earlier post, there's a 40% discount promotion going on. At full price, the Degustation Menu is $148++ and wine pairing is an additional $80 per pax. With the (40 is fabulous) discount, the bill for the 2 of us came up to (dare I say ONLY) $322. Sounds still expensive I know but trust me, for the food, ambience and service, it was totally worth every dollar. Both K and I were swept away.

There are 6 plates in all, 4 "appetizer" sized, 1 main followed by dessert. The Chef recommends based on what's freshest for the day. Me being me, I already researched Chef Cherkas' signature dishes I wanted to try. The menu they planned for us:

1st course (champagne served) - caviar buckwheat waffle for me, oyster for K
2nd course (white wine served) - lobster thermidor
3rd course - eggs came first
4th course - seabass for me, foie gras for K
5th course (red wine served) - tenderloin beef for me, ribeye for K
6th course (icewine served) - "breakfast dessert" for us both
Every plate was delicious. No, I am not exaggerating. The star for K was the lobster thermidor. He had his first bite and told me "I think this will be my favourite dish of the night". I am not a big fan of beef but I loved and savored every bite of my tenderlion.

The breakfast dessert too was a stunner - very novel idea of putting the "egg" on a plate with pictures of bacon, baked beans etc. The "yolk" was mango sorbet, the "white" was coconut and passionfruit mousse.

Sorry for gushing but can I backtrack to say that I also loved the warm onion loaves they served before the meal started? And the petit fours was candy floss cherry blossoms on a "tree" with dark chocolate chips as "soil". I regret not catching the names of all the wines we had but I was just too darn distracted by the food.

Thanks for the lovely dinner treat my dear!

Polly Dolly - Its Too Graphic

Ooh how i love Thursdays! Why? Its Polly Dolly day, brought to you by the goregous Dani over at Danimezza. This weeks set is a bit "graphic". Brace yourselves for Polly and her....

Polly Dolly - Its Too Graphic

Polly Dolly - Its Too Graphic by Amy1984 featuring ankle leggings

Now, if i were Polly, i would wear my graphic tees with jeans and Converse All-Stars ( ok, yes, i already do that ). But my Polly is a little more fashion-forward than me - she's gone with a soft pink print tee, a very feminine print ( look at the bunny! ) and worn with a skirt and tights. But, my Polly is no pushoever either, so she's toughened up the pretty pastel print with a leather bomber jacket and military boots. Her gorgeous Betsey Johnston pendant and pretty satchel handbag complete the look. All she needs is a quick flick of mascara and slick of lip gloss and she's ready to go! How would your Polly be "graphic" ?

You Know That Album ? ( The Redux )

So after doing this mornings 30 Days of Music challenge post in which i touched on my love for The Goo Goo Dolls, i was reminded of a post i made waaaaaaaaaaay back when i started this version of my blog. Way back on December 20th 2007 in fact. It was a post about how most of us have one album that we love, or loved at a specific time in our lives. I wanted to share it with you - i had approximately 2 regular readers back then so i figure some of you need to play catch ups, plus i really love this post. Instead of just linking and hoping you'll click over, i'm going to re-post the whole thing...  i hope you enjoy it!


You know that album ? The one that you loved all the way through, or the one that reminds you of a certain time in your life or specific event, or the one who's songs kept you company during rough times ? Everyone has one of those albums and, for me, its " Dizzy Up The Girl " by The Goo Goo Dolls. Its the album that i will always come back to, no matter what. I was reminded of it yesterday ( by a god-awful rendition of a Goo Goo Dolls song on the radio ) and so i was playing it today, whilst i got ready for work, and put it on in the car. Its funny how comfortably i can slip back into the feelings the songs give me, how i may have changed, my circumstances, my life, but the songs resonate the same way.

" Dizzy Up The Girl " was released when i was in Year 9 and it remained my favourite album all the way through high school. I listened to it with my friends but, more often then not, i'd listen to it by myself, shut away in my room. Everyone knew " Iris " - to my friends it was a love song from a movie soundtrack, or just a really good Top 40 song, but to me it was something different. The chorus to that song almost summed up exactly who i was for the formative years of my life. I know one of you out there has blogged about the same chorus fairly recently, but here's my take :

" I dont want the world to see me/
Cause I dont think that they'd understand/
When everything's made to be broken/
I just want you to know who i am ."

Yes, its contradictory - you dont want to be seen, but you do. By one person. I think for me, that was part of the point. I DIDNT want the world to see me, EXACTLY because i didnt think they'd understand - in fact, my major problem was terrified of people knowing, and not liking the real me. I thought people would judge me, they'd find me tto smart, or too quirky, or too uncool, or too " whatever " and i lived in fear of being judged and humiliated by those judgements. But at the same time, i wanted to be broken down and just have at least one person really, truely know me, and love me anyways. I'd wanted to break down barriers and have at least one person, whether it be a friend or a boyfriend or whoever, know my innermost thoughts and feelings and ideas and be able to look at me and say " You know what ? You rock! ". And what is weird is that i found myself singing that song again in the car today - and wanting exactly the same things.

But it wasnt just " Iris " - i connect to almost every single song on the album, and those that i cant find a deeper personal meaning in are, at least, still good songs. " Slide " despite seemingly being about abortion ( i've had that discussion/disection with a friend too - i'm sticking with the abortion theory ) was the first, and only song, i have ever sung solo in front of people, and i love it for that. The only reason i COULD sing it in front of people - classmates, on a school excursion, because i was the only one who actually knew the words - is because i loved it so much. I couldnt have got up the courage to sing a song i had no feeling for.

" Name " was the same kind of thing as " Iris " - just wanting to find that someone who knew me and wouldnt go sharing my secrets with the world, who wouldnt risk my humiliation or embarrasment. Plus, it has that great guitar bit towards the end where i could imagine that Johnny Rzeznik was singing just to me. " Black Balloon " was a comfort to me when i was really depressed and contemplating killing myself. I just liked thinking that maybe someone would miss me too. I later found out the song is actually about heroin addiction, but everytime i hear it, i think back on how bad i used to be and am glad that its not that way anymore. " Slave Girl " was a cover, and not technically a fantastic song, but i liked the rhythm - it was a song i could rock out to in front of my bedroom mirror.

I have other albums too - " Tuesday Night Music Club " by Sheryl Crow, " Hybrid Theory " by Linkin Park - albums that arent technically brilliant, that werent absolute best sellers, but that meant something to me in a time and in a place and that i'll always come back to. I guess thats the best part of music- you can always come back to it, and it will, if you love it enough, almost always come back to you.

Cafe de Hong Kong

Last Friday I gathered some vino-minded friends for a riesling-themed wine dinner. I organized it at 新天地小厨 Cafe de Hong Kong, having heard good reviews on the food, no corkage policy and excellent service which includes providing proper stemware.


We had 4 rieslings that night:
1. Frey – Sohler Riesling 2006, from Alsace (France)
2. Rheinhessen, Weingut Georg Julius, Gundheim Riesling Kabinett Feinherb 2008 (Germany)
3. Weingut Johannes Hirsch, Riesling Gaisberg 2007 (Austria)
4. Grosset Polish Hill Riesling, from Clare Valley (Australia).

Of the 4, the Gaisberg riesling from Austria was a winner - attractive apricot peach nose with a touch of ginger, juicy minerality and nice finish. No wonder it beat the French and German rieslings at the international tasting. I plan to stock up on this one once my wine fridge arrives!


In usual fashion we over-ordered:

1. fortune seafood roll - deep fried but light on the palate and not oily, liked this very much
2. steamed fish head in black bean sauce - tender but nothing impressive
3. coffee spare ribs - loved the coffee flavour infused in this
4. roast chicken (need to pre-order) - this was excellent, very tender and juicy, the crowd loved it
5. braised lamb brisket - so-so only

6. pumpkin paste and salted egg prawn - my favourite dish of the night but the others found it too heavy. hee hee all the more for me!
7. steamed coral tofu8. fish roe fried rice - loved how the fish roe bursts in the mouth, very tasty
8. french toast - we were already stuffed but we HAD to order two servings of this to share. Very very good.

Excellent. We ordered a truckload of food and total bill came up to $150 for the 6 of us. I will definitely return for more.