Saturday, 27 August 2016

Cocktails & Dinosaurs

I've had some cracking cocktails this week. On Monday after work I met a pal for drinks at a bar called Bochinche where the barman made me my new favourite: blackberry, rasberry, chilli, lemon juice and gin. They've called it 'The Rowan' which obviously makes it that bit better...

The Rowan cocktail
The Rowan

The rest of the week was fairly uneventful but Friday came around nice and quickly, and after a naff day at work I met Phil at Bar Stories on Haji Lane. The bar doesn't have a menu, so you instead ask for your preference in flavour combinations then they work their magic creating something bespoke to each person's taste. The barmen were so attentive to what we wanted and spent ages finessing each cocktail and presenting it beautiful ways. I will definitely be back there again and would recommend to all.

Passion fruit cocktail
Passion fruit, rosemary, chilli
& pisco
Berry cocktail
Raspberry, blackberry, lemongrass
& berry liquor

After Bar Stories, we walked a couple minutes to a Japanese restaurant called Box n Sticks which I need to write about so I remember to go back! Box n Sticks is a really casual, authentically Japanese, reasonably priced little restaurant on Kandahar Street. We had sushimi, yakitori, hotate and teriyaki, all washed down with several glasses of umushu, shochu and sparkling sake. We are deliberating whether to fly back over to Japan for Christmas this year, and meals like that make it so bloody tempting!

Aside from eating and drinking, we have had a great weekend of culture and sport. Singapore have an annual Night Festival which was on this weekend around the Bras Basah / Bugis area. We walked along one of the recommended routes, taking in the art displays and cultural performances. There were interactive light displays, drumming bands, men and women on stilts, dragons and giant dinosaurs falling through the air. It was all a little bit surreal.. but incredible.

Night Festival

I'm writing the end of this blog post, completely battered and bruised from being thrown around the seat of my little race kart at the KF1 circuit in Kranji. Phil and I spent the day there with a few friends and had such a great time. The karts went to 60Kph which doesn't sound alot, but feels really fast when you're in such a small vehicle so close to the ground. I am chuffed because I was better than I thought I'd be, just paying for a bit now with all the aches and pains!

Go KartingGo Karting

score board
KF1 score board

We have just booked tickets to the Singapore F1 in a few weeks time - today definitely got us in the mood. So excited!

Saturday, 20 August 2016

Wine, cheese and heaps of paint

This week flew by and before I knew it, it was Friday and I was at The Australian Chamber of Commerce's Wine and Cheese networking night at the Grand Hyatt Hotel.

It was food and drink heaven. There was every Australian and NZ red, white, rose and sparking wine (and beer) you could ever want. Then in the centre of the hall there were stacks of hard, soft and blue cheeses; breads, olives and other antipasti which were all absolutely delicious. On top of all this, there were some guys walking around with strips of juicy lamb and beef steaks (courtesy of The Meat Club) which were to die for. 

I still can't get over how amazing an event AustCham Wine and Cheese is - it takes place annually and I will definitely be back next year!

AustCham Wine and Cheese
AustCham Wine & Cheese

After ingesting our body weight in steak, cheese and wine; a colleague and I headed over to Bar.Nkd on Club Street to meet Phil and some pals. We then walked a couple of doors up to Beaujolais where we drank and danced until the early hours.

Club Street is a great place to hang out and drink on a Friday night. They pedestrianise the area at night so all the bars spill out into the street. It kind of has that European holiday strip vibe, but without the fishbowls of miscellaneous cocktails and people vomiting on the pavement...

The next morning we went for brunch at Breko in Holland V with Phil's colleagues, then the two of us headed over to Sentosa Island to meet some of my colleagues for Singapore's 2016 Colour Run. Running in 35 degrees was sweaty and tough, but they put on a bit of a festival afterwards where we drank beer, threw paint and danced for hours in the sun. It was awesome.

Colour Run 2016

Colour Run 2016

Colour Run 2016Colour Run 2016

Colour Run 2016Colour Run 2016

Colour Run 2016

This evening we met some pals over at Fort Canning Park for a picnic and to watch Anchorman as part of the the 'Films at the Fort' open air cinema. It's this kind of thing that makes me love Singapore so much. The weather and the expat crowd means there's so much to do and this weekend I feel like we have really made the most of what's on offer over here.

Films at the Fort
Waiting for Anchorman to begin..
Today marks our second month living in Singapore and I still haven't found anything about the country to complain about!

Monday, 15 August 2016

Keep calm and have a martini

Phil was still away in Australia this week which was a bit naff, but I have definitely adjusted a bit more to being alone over here now. I think last week was especially difficult because I was just starting my new job and - as we're still quite new to Singapore - I don't really have any close friends over here yet. Anyway, this week was a lot better. I've been busy in the evenings so the days have whizzed by (also helped by the fact we got Tuesday off work for Singapore's 51st birthday)!

Other than working, working and working some more, the main updates for this week are the three great new bars I've been to...

1. The first is a place called No.5 Emerald Hill opposite Somerset MRT. I went with a Singaporean colleague from work, else I probably wouldn't have ever known it existed. They have amazing martinis - lychee, dragon fruit, mango and loads more, and it's a bit like Raffles Long Bar with the old colonial vibe and the peanut shells all over the floor... but without all the tourists.

2. The next place I went to was Lantern which is a rooftop bar at the top of The Fullerton Bay Hotel. The cocktails and food there were good and it's right on the water so has great views of MBS. It is well-worth a visit, but I'd say some of the other rooftop bars I've been to over here are a tad better.

Marina Bay Sands
View from The Fullerton Bay Hotel

3. The final bar worth mentioning this week is the Little Island Brewing Company right over on the East Coast. It's a microbrewery so they have lots of great beers, live music and they serve huge boards of meat. I can't fault the place; everything was delicious and the ambiance was great.. I just wish it was a little closer to where we live! 

Phil got back from Melbourne on Friday so it's been really nice spending the weekend together rather than me hanging out on my own like last week! We popped over to Pasarbella at Turf City on Saturday which is a bit like Borough Market in London; with lots of stalls serving cheese, wine, meat, bread, oils, chutneys etc. We had a really nice cheese board then headed over to Kallang for another dragon boating session with the Gaelics. I feel like I've got the hang of the technique now and can't wait for next week's session. I've also signed up for a couple of their competitions later in the year!

Today Phil and I are catching up on Super Saturday from the Rio Olympics. Mo Farah has just won his third Olynpic gold, and Jess Ennis is just about to run the 800m  - fingers crossed for another medal...!

Friday, 5 August 2016

Sleepless in Singapore

It's been a long, tiring week and for the first time since I've been over here, Singapore has suddenly felt BIG.

As soon as we docked back in Singapore from Bintan, Phil flew to Melbourne for work and I headed back to our empty flat. I then spent a miserable Sunday alone and was back at work on Monday morning. What a comedown.

I must have got quite used to filling my days with swimming, yoga and art as it's been a difficult transition getting back into working life this week. I've not only had to re-engage my brain, but this working lark also means I have to get up before the sun every day. Owh.

The hardest transition has been adjusting to the Singaporean work culture. 50% of my time I'll be working with Brits, Australians, Americans and other Westerners, and the other 50% I'll be working with Singaporeans. There's such a marked difference in the way Singaporeans work, which I'm just getting my head around.

I was out for a couple of dinners with new friends this week which was fun, but I think everything is that bit harder when you don't have close friends or family you can relax around and let off steam with.
One thing that did really cheer me up this week was this lovely surprise through my letterbox from my best pal back home.  

Friends are like stars

With Phil away I've realised how much harder it must be to 'go it alone' somewhere - i.e. live and work in a completely new place without the comfort of a partner, friends or family around. 

Respect to all those expats who have taken the leap as I'm not sure I could do it!