Archive for December 2009

So what did YOU do this year?

December 30, 2009

On the last day of 2009, that’s the question I’m posing to my dear readers, you, while the question for me is “So, what did I NOT do this year?” Perhaps it’d be easier if we did a recap.

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January>> The major meet-the-parents-uncle-grandmother-auntie-cousin-cousin’s boyfriend-cousin’s girlfriend-domestic helper moment for R when we went home for Chinese New Year. Luckily he didn’t shit in his pants. He tossed Yu Sheng for the first time!

February>> Even though my family knew we were going to get hitched, I nagged and nudged and threatened and coaxed the poor bugger into asking my mother for permission to marry me. Of course he broke out in cold sweat and turned the colour of beetroot. At least he didn’t stutter. And my Mum said OK (reluctantly).

March>> I got my first pay cheque as a full-timer after converting from being a part-timer in February. I discovered the joys of gardening – I grew capsicums, tulips, hyacinths and they all bloomed in Spring!

April>> H came to stay with us over Easter and we went for a little hike up the hill, got up close to sheep and their lovely young lambs and sat down to afternoon tea in a country hotel. I went to the Singapore Day in London, organised by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. I met the Dim Sum Dollies and had such a great time pigging out on the local delicacies!

May>> I flew home to see my family and stayed for two weeks instead of one because my grandmother was very unwell. She had to sit in a chair to sleep, she was constantly in pain, she wouldn’t give up smoking, and she was miserable. Leaving her at the end of those two weeks was heart-wrenching.

June>> R and I celebrated our 10 years of knowing each other by going to Edinburgh for a few days. He had never been to Scotland and the weather was beautiful, so we really had a good time.I transformed my front garden into a colourful little area with pretty summer flowers. R reaped his plentiful crop of strawberries and we enjoyed them all through summer!

July>> On R’s birthday, it was a sunny summer’s day and we went for a lovely picnic on the top of the hill, overlooking the valley. Our boiler broke down so we had to use a polka-dotted watering can to shower for a few weeks until we got a new one installed. It was inconvenient, but seriously fun! My grandmother had a vascular operation to improve the blood supply in her lower limb and almost did not make it through. A tumour was also discovered in her brain.

August>> She very slowly got better and well enough to go home so I didn’t need to make an emergency trip back to Singapore. We went to London to have a meal with H and her beau at Nobu. We caught the wrong bus and almost missed our train back to Wales! R damaged my camera – this was the second camera he’d ruined in 12 months. I celebrated National Day with some Singaporeans in a country park and brought home some ketupat to make Lontong.

September>> A quiet month. Apart from my birthday celebration with R’s family, nothing much happened in September.

October>> We got married at the Sentosa Resort & Spa in front of family and close friends, and had a small lunch reception. We zipped off to Vietnam for our honeymoon a few days later and had a really interesting journey. I submitted all the paperwork for my spousal visa at the British High Commission but was told I needed an interview in December. R returned to the UK a week before I did because his mother’s health had taken a turn for the worse.

November>> On Tuesday, 10 November, R and I anxiously paced around the ensuite bedroom in our house, staring at a dish of urine. My urine. With a strip of paper immersed in it. And then we saw the two pink lines. Oh yes, we realised we were going to have a baby! And then we did this:

December>> Eating is now rarely an enjoyment, but it supposed to get better as the pregnancy progresses. I can no longer fit into my old bottoms so I have been frantically shopping for something decent to wear. You can read all about it here.

I flew back to Singapore to attend M & J’s wedding and I finally got my spousal visa after an interview in Kuala Lumpur. Sadly, my mother-in-law is gradually entering her final phase in life and we look after her at home.  When R goes to work I stay home, and when I go to work, he stays home. We rarely get to go out together and it’s never easy to see your loved one slipping away before your eyes. It’s been a really, really difficult few months for us both, and I feel totally wiped out but I am hoping the New Year brings us better luck and news.

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Well, I hope you’ve had a slightly less eventful year than mine. Thank you for following me through yet another year. I wish you good health and luck in 2010, and may you be constantly surrounded by the happiness and warmth of family and friends, and living life to the fullest so that at the end of next year, you can be like me and ask yourself, “What have I NOT done this year?”

Happy 2010.

The Hero

December 29, 2009

My Italian friend Diego who works as a video editor sent me this amazing video clip the other day. What a surprise I got when I realised I was the star of the show! Watch it here and create your very own video with this seriously cool piece of software!

Chocolate pedicure

December 26, 2009

When I first started looking after my feet, I went to Hollywood Secrets at the old Scotts Shopping Centre. There, I met a Malaysian girl who was so good at her job but one day when I returned to look for her to do my toes, I was told she’d quit.

I thought I had to start looking for a new pedicurist all over again until I got a text one day from her out of the blue to say she was now working at a new nail place in Wheelock Place. From then on I went to see her every month without fail, even though there were so many other cheaper nail salons around town.

She works fast, takes no short-cuts, is friendly but doesn’t talk too much and most importantly she paints darn well and my pedicures usually last up to a month. Unfortunately, since moving to the UK, I haven’t had the luxury of getting my feet pampered every month. But whenever I am in town, I always made sure to visit her for some TLC.

Last week, I was on my way in a taxi to the nail salon for my appointment when I realised I had forgotten to bring my mobile phone. I was running late but had no way of informing the place.

So when I finally arrived, the receptionist told me they couldn’t get in touch with me so they had given my slot to a walk-in customer. It was 10.30am and I had just spent S$15 on cab fare for nothing. Naturally I was annoyed. No, in fact I was boiling mad, but I kept my cool.

“Aileen,” I said. “I have been coming here for the past 6 years and I have never missed an appointment. You should know that.”

“I didn’t know it was you. I asked around if anyone knew who this customer Cynthia was, and nobody said they knew which one,” came the reply.

“Well, look behind you Aileen, you see that Straits Times forum article you have cut out and stuck on the cupboard, praising the nail salon and the staff? I wrote that. Years ago. Now do you know which Cynthia I am?”

“Oh, erm could you come back later this afternoon perhaps?”

“No, I can’t come back later this afternoon because I won’t be free. I don’t live in Singapore and I can’t pop in any other day. I have never not showed up for my appointment, and this is how you reward a loyal customer, but giving her slot to a, walk-in?” I said with disgust.

“We are sorry.”

“Well I’d like to make an appointment for February now, and please, don’t ever cancel my booking.”

Later I was browsing in a candy shop in building when Aileen saw me and came to say hi. “Hey Cynthia, since you are so free, why don’t you come with me to our other outlet and have a look?”

I knew she was trying to make amends but she might just as well forget it with her terrible choice of an opening sentence. “Excuse me, I am so free?” Oh yes, that’s right, I am sooooooo free because I was shopping for chocolate in Orchard Road at 11am.

Er but wait. What should I have been doing, Aileen? In case you have forgotten because there’s isn’t enough space in your tiny brain to remember anything important, let me remind you again. I should be getting my pedicure if you hadn’t cancelled me, you wally, not shopping for bloody chocolate.

“No thanks Aileen,” came my reply. “But thanks for asking anyway.”

Sometimes the state of Singapore’s customer service depresses me so much I feel the need to chomp my way through a mountain of chocolate.

Happy Christmas!

December 25, 2009

Everywhere was covered with snow on my way back to Wales on the train.

My front porch is as slippery as an ice rink with the compacted snow melting on the surface. And my back garden here isn’t any better.

This is our Christmas tree from last year, which we kept alive and well in the garden. And check out all the gifts under the tree!

We got lots of cards from friends and family, including one from my wedding coordinator at The Sentosa Resort & Spa!

My gift for R is flight tickets to Barcelona in Spring, and he got me an MP3 player, pyjamas and a electric heated blanket, which I absolutely love. It’s A LOT better than what I got last year!

These pictures were taken on my way to the office Christmas party two weeks ago. I thought the lights were pretty.

And this golden sparkly reindeer caught me eye.

I like this old-school cafe.

And our posh dining venue. Merry Christmas everyone!

Simple joys

December 23, 2009

Happiness is being jet-lagged, hungry and wide awake at 5am, creeping downstairs to get a Lao Po Bing and stealing a glance at Grandma who had her mouth wide open, arms slumped across her body, purring gently and sleeping ever so peacefully. I stood there for a good few minutes enjoying the sight. It’s wonderful to be able to see her enjoying a good night’s sleep.

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Happiness is snacking on satay with Grandma just before dinner because she was too hungry to wait for my mother to finish cooking.

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Happiness is being the only one who was crying my eyes out while watching M & J get married on Saturday. I was too happy for the couple, who finally tied the knot after 10 years of ups and downs. It was a wonderfully stylish do, with every single detail put together from scratch by the couple. The girls and I helped out too, and with the experience of two weddings in two months under my belt, I can proudly say I am getting quite pro at wedding duties and I love it too! Now I’m just waiting for S & B, the busy entrepreneurs to get hitched so I can have yet another round of fun and oh yes, tears.

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Happiness is finally getting my 2-year spousal visa after months of agony and a 15-minute interview in Kuala Lumpur. However, if R ditches me during this time, I will have to be deported!

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Happiness is being able to travel back to the UK without major delays despite the chaos caused by heavy snow and severe weather. In time for Christmas and with any luck it will be a first white one for me this year!

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Happiness is being able to spend Winter Solstice at home and gorging on my Mum’s Tang Yuan. Happiness is also lugging back bottles of goodies Mum bought for me from Bee Cheng Hiang.

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Happiness is knowing I will be back in Singapore again in 6 weeks!

Wedding photos

December 16, 2009

Finally after months, we got our wedding photos back from the photographer. These are a few of my favourites. Let me know if you want to see the rest of them and I will send you the links.

Peaches & Cream

December 11, 2009

I have a lovely wedding to attend next Saturday, which I can’t wait. My maid-of-honour is getting married and I know it would be a wonderful stylish do. The dress code is peaches and cream. It’s a bit “Er what does that mean?” but I think whatever makes you look good works. I can never do without black so I’ve decided to go in a gold, cream and black ensemble, as inspired by Anne Hathaway on Wear Palettes.