Pampering thyself

It is no secret that I enjoy pampering myself, especially when it comes to travelling. I don’t indulge that much, or at all, in beauty pamperings although many feel that I should. Yet I am not a fan of spas, facials and massages, for whatever or no particular reason at all. Maybe I will change my mind one day, but as of now, pampering defined for me typically goes in terms of material things, like shopping, though it doesn’t seem to factor as highly these days, and enjoyment, such as good food and living it up.

Still on that trip to Seoul, yes, my life is all but about looking back. It isn’t that I don’t have anything to talk about, but my blog is called “Beautiful days”, or as it is translated from belle journees, and I want to keep things here as what the blog is meant to record. Besides, dwelling on the depressive and unhappy things doesn’t serve much purpose other than this becoming a platform to air and articulate my demons within.

Ok, back to the Seoul trip. I wanted to redeem for an air ticket to Seoul, but as usual, due to my spontaneity (read: indecisiveness), by the time I had wanted to make the redemption, all the available economy class tickets were already gone. So I thought of giving myself a treat, also as a means of pre-celebrating my birthday, giving myself all sorts of excuses to make this a real pampering trip. I put in a redemption request for business class tickets, which were eventually confirmed despite that at the onset, one leg of it was being waitlisted. Yay! How long has it been since I last flown in the business class… Sigh. So for a noob like me without many, if any, opportunities these days to fly business, I decided to pop by the lounge and was pleasantly surprised that the lounge was a different one from the Krisflyer Gold lounge. Being the glutton that I am, even if I had a good homecooked dinner before heading to the airport, I still went ahead and grabbed myself some food as supper. Hardly supper fare it would appear.  IMG_9960.JPG

I ought to remind myself that if I were to ever consider redeeming business class tickets again in future, I shouldn’t choose a red-eye flight. Initially, I wanted to make use of the “book the cook” service, but because I’d chosen the red-eye flight it wasn’t possible since I did not want to have the meal service before sleeping (i.e. after take off). For this flight, perhaps because it was not exactly a long one, there was only one meal service, either after take off or before landing. I opted for the latter.

A view that I had missed, because I always preferred aisle seats. I was lucky this time round where the seat next to mine was empty! So I could be seated by the window and not face any difficulties getting in and out. Just as dawn broke, I love how the first beams of the rising sun slices through the darkness of the night sky, seemingly bringing forth a strong ray of hope to the world. IMG_9961.JPG

And so breakfast was served! It came one by one, so pardon the half-eaten bun and fruits.IMG_9958.JPG

The main, which I picked the egg frittata. I can’t remember what the other options were, but there was quite a few to select from. It has also been a long time since I had such a full breakfast that consisted of hot food. Mostly, it would just be a big mixture of breads, yogurts, fruits and cheese. Plus coffee of course. The food wasn’t too bad, and I’m not saying this just because this is business class food. Even in economy, I seldom find the food bad and inedible. I know of many friends who complain about airplane food and how they would never eat anything onboard, choosing instead to have their meals before the flight. Since the food is already included in the ticket price, why not just sit back and enjoy it? Furthermore, I don’t suppose they travel that often to get sick of the food? Probably I just have lower expectations and yardstick of comparison where food is concerned.IMG_9959.JPG

View when the sun had fully risen, the beautiful image of a milky sea of white clouds. To live in this moment is to take in the wonderful picturesque display before my eyes and not think about anything that would cause my brows to furrow. After all, all things will work out as planned, won’t they? 

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Starbucks, Seoul

Just one last one that I missed out. This was the breakfast that I had on my final day in Seoul. And yes it is Starbucks, no surprise but I really wanted to try out something from them. Almost ordered a Carrot Cake, which they had in stores there but sadly the cake selection in our Starbucks stores are quite pathetic. As my eyes roamed gleefully over the food display case, I was having a hard time trying to decide on what to order. Finally, I settled on a cranberry brown rice scone. I really loved that their cafes stock such interesting things; maybe it’s nothing unusual for them, just me being a frog at the bottom of the well, or that our cafes are just not that big on food items? Maybe even if they are well-stocked, which I think they aren’t, we might have gotten used to the array over time and find nothing special. In any case, I really wish for more, particularly since I spend more time visiting cafes than restaurants. 20140801-105856-39536358.jpg

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As with most pastry products, and scones in particular, it was fairly crumbly, as you can see from this picture below. I would like to comfort myself from its name that it should be at least a slightly healthier option as compared to typical scones, and it doesn’t have a strong buttery texture and taste to it, which probably also explains its crumbly-ness? Ok, scones are hardly healthy things to eat, even if they feature pretty regularly on breakfast menus. But the good ones can taste really good even on their own, and of course, they go extremely well with butter, jam and yes, definitely clotted cream. Perhaps that is what ups the unhealthy index, but let’s just put it aside and enjoy it for what it is.20140801-105856-39536532.jpg

Breakfast at The Coffee Bean

I love breakfasts, and the morning is perhaps my favourite time of the day, although it isn’t as though I am looking forward to work on each workday. In fact, I never do. But breakfast makes getting up worth it. I don’t have issues waking up in the mornings, generally, though I think it isn’t so much because of the lure of breakfast than the inability to have proper slumber.

20140311-102124.jpgAnyway, breakfast food is enjoyed by many, judging by the growing popularity of all-day-breakfasts being served at many places these days. To be very honest, I have never been to Wild Honey, which many have raved about, because I have heard about the queues, and their enormous portions. Ok, I am not someone who dines out much at such places because cafes are more my kind of thing.

Too much rambling. Let’s get to the point. Breakfast at Coffee Bean, which is one cafe that serves all-day-breakfast too! I have tried some of their items before and one day I though I’d give their real breakfast sets a go, since I am usually happy to order a muffin and nibble on it along with a coffee.

20140311-102135.jpgThis is called “Food for Thought”, which comes with a pair of coddled eggs, a loaf of lightly toasted white bread and a small serving of lettuce with plum sauce, dried cranberries and almond slices. Well, my verdict was that I should just have stuck to a muffin which would have made me happier. I kind of enjoyed the eggs, though just the whites, since I am not a yolk person. The bread was not bad with butter smeared on it, but other than that, it’s white bread. Perhaps I should have, if it’s possible, asked for brown or some other variants of bread. I ended up having one of four pieces of the bread and gave up. With a muffin I think I could have finished the entire portion. Or they have this other Cheese Club Sandwich or something, which is rather nice except that there is just too much cheese that I always have to scrap some of it off and dig out the egg yolks between the bread.

More goodies from Starbucks

There is some compatibility issue of my browser in the laptop that somehow caused my entire entry typed this afternoon to be eaten up by the black hole of cyberspace. I was so pissed and now I don’t even really remember all that I’d written. 😦

Let me venture a try anyway.

After getting bored of the muffins at Starbucks, or rather shall I say, suffering from diminishing marginal utility (flashback to my early JC days when I first started studying Economics and with my new friends applied every single damned concept we learnt in class to our daily lives), I decided to try out new things. Besides the all-time favourite Egg White Wrap, I had also tried the Mushroom & Mozzarella Flaky Sandwich, which is pretty alright but tends to be a little mushy somewhat. Probably one of these days I will give it a try again and see if still tastes like that.

The Egg White was out of stock (again!) when I went to Starbucks the other day, and apparently, they made it in limited quantities each day because the egg-white filling is (more) perishable. Or I’d think that maybe it’s more popular with customers especially since it is more pocket-friendly at S$5.80 as compared to the lunch/dinner wraps (at least S$10) and it’s a pretty healthy option! How much healthier can you get with an egg white wrap? Ok, that’s a hardcore fan talking.

So since it was out, the cashier tried to be helpful to offer me the other two options, which was the Turkey Ham, Egg White & Cheddar and Sundried Tomato, Turkey Ham & Monterey Jack. Despite that the former contains egg white, the ciabatta roll didn’t really appeal to me that much even if I am such a bread person. So I chose the latter, which was of course a better pick over the buttery croissant.

20131107-105124.jpgThe Sundried Tomato looks like a burger, with its buns in the form of a roll containing raisins, linseed, flax seed and sunflower seed! Imagine all that goodness in a bread, for someone who is a complete sucker for breads with bite and texture. Well, this was popped into the oven and toasted, which melted the cheese within and made everything warm and gooey, but perhaps I was eating too slowly, so by the time I was halfway through I was literally sawing at the bread with the cutlery provided. Even then, I enjoyed chewing on the bread, and I cleaned my plate! When I was done, I actually didn’t feel like I was bloated from eating a lot in spite of how I initially thought this was going to be a lot for me, apparently not.

20131107-105239.jpgHere is the breakfast menu if you are interested in checking out the pictures of the options and what they contain. At least I have stepped beyond the boundaries of my comfort zone and tried more new stuff, or rather, things that I have not tried before. I shall endeavour to try even more new things, and not just always stick to the tried-and-tested egg white and smoked duck wraps. 🙂

Gardenia Country Loaf

My relentless love for bread and the neverending quest to try more breads that are available in Singapore (subject to a lack of procrastination), I veered away from buying the usual Gardenia bread loaves that we usually see in stores, the type that comes in a squarish block wrapped in plastic denoted with different colours for the various varieties. Gardenia actually boasts a varied offering of products, from sandwich breads (the aforementioned ones), speciality breads, fruit loaves, variety buns, filled buns, frozen gourmet breads and country loaves! So far, aside from the sandwich breads, I have only tried the bread stick (filed under the category of speciality breads) which I don’t personally fancy, as it feels too soft to the bite. So I thought to check out and try their country loaves, since the range includes types like multi-grain and walnut.

I have tried the Multigrain Country Loaf and for this week, decided to pick up the Walnut Country Loaf, and I really like both of them because they are baked with real tangible grains in them! It isn’t like some wholemeal or multigrain breads where it is made with wholemeal/multigrain flour blend where there is no grain texture at all, so this tastes fantastic if you are like me and enjoy chewing on your breads for a longer period of time.   20131016-085351.jpg

For the Walnut country loaf, you can see the walnut pieces that have been baked into the loaf, and the top of it is sprinkled with an assortment of grains that provides extra bite and taste. I love the smell of baked bread and each time I open the plastic wrap or sit near where the bread is stored, the aroma just permeates its surrounding and gives me a nice feeling of a crisp morning.   20131016-085403.jpg

Yes, I know maybe three slices is a bit much for a mid-morning snack, but I couldn’t help it when it’s so delicious and goes perfectly well with a coffee!20131016-085414.jpg

My next item on the list to try would be the Cranberry Fruity Loaf, which I hope won’t be too sweet. If not, I always have the Multigrain or the Walnut loaves to rely on! At a price of S$3.20 (for the Walnut Loaf) or S$3.40 (I think, for the Multigrain Loaf), it costs slightly more than the usual sandwich breads, but I think this is all for good reason, and at least it lasts me for a much longer time as compared to the BreadTalk loaves or Maison Kayser Pain aux Noix that I allow myself to have as occasional treats (e.g. 4 slices of Chia Seed Toast costs S$3.60 and one Walnut bun from Maison Kayser costs S$3.40!). Yay to bread-y goodness. 🙂

breakfast is all day long

These days, more cafes are offering the options of All-Day Breakfast, which simply put means their breakfast menu is available throughout the day, despite if it is supposed to be time for breakfast, lunch or dinner. It is wonderful news for most people, actually I wonder if anyone would not be pleased with it because it means a greater number of meal choices, unless of course you belong to the type who hates having more choices because it leads to more headache mulling over which to pick.

Breakfast food is popular among Singaporeans, and as well, many of my friends. I frequently see friends posting pictures of breakfast fare on Facebook, Instagram or the likes, and they always look so yummylicious. But for me, even though I love breakfast food and its variants (think oats, yogurt, etc.) rank among my most-loved food items at this time, I seldom go to a cafe and order an all-day breakfast set because they are always too much for me. It isn’t that I can’t finish them, of course I can, but thereafter I just feel so bloated and uncomfortable from finishing the food, which makes me extremely sluggish and lethargic. But anyhow, we all know how my usual choice is so unhealthy even if portion-wise it isn’t that overwhelming (the muffin or cake, what else), so one day I thought I would try something different. The Brek-O-Day was what I ordered:

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It comes with toast with jam and butter on the side, a pair of sausages, scrambled eggs and a serving of salad tosssed with almond flakes and dried cranberries. To be honest, this isn’t a lot, and I would definitely be able to finish it, but eventually I didn’t.

The scrambled eggs were not too bad, and I wanted some eggs that day, for the protein and also to give me a sense of satiety not from carbohydrates, so I think I gobbled up all the eggs. The toast was actually probably a slice of panini white bread that is usually used for their sandwiches, lightly toasted, but still extremely soft in my opinion, which I had a few bites of and deserted them. I tried the sausage, and I think it is chicken sausage, processed meat, yes, unhealthy, but that wasn’t what made me consume only one. It tastes a little sweet and artificial, not like some nice sausages that I have had tried before. And don’t you think the colour just looks off? From the picture, they kind of resembled a pair of fat fingers. But I still did manage to finish one, and the salad was ok. That was probably the part that I enjoyed the most, despite that I should make a mental note to myself to request for less dressing in future. The salads at Coffee Bean, whether ordered as a main dish on its own or as a complement to its sandwiches, are always drowning in the dressing, which makes the lettuce soggy and unpalatable. A little sauce to add a bit of zest in the taste of the crunchy veggies is fine, but when it is so much that they are swimming in pools of the sauce, it just doesn’t taste good anymore.

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And coffee was ok that day. I know now that I don’t enjoy too much acidity in my coffee, whether they are meant to be acidic or just burnt, but this cup I had, which I think was Sumatra, was fairly smooth. Maybe I should stop procrastinating and start learning a little bit more about the coffee that I drink, which could enhance enjoyment further!  20131008-131804.jpg

Maybe the next time, if my choice is to skip my usual Cranberry muffin at CBTL, I will order something different; definitely not the Brek-O-Day, or anything that contains the dubious-looking sausages.

just can’t stop eating

Perhaps due to the need to always be constantly engaged in activities of some form, I realised that wherenever I am not doing something, for instance, sitting in front of the television idling time away and not exactly paying attention to what is being shown, I would feel peckish. It’s probably some kind of condition, and that I need to find better ways to engage my brain usefully and productively, like ead something, yet I just feel lazy to read even though I really want to go through the daily papers or the books that I had bought years ago.

I don’t think that the need or the desire to want to eat frequently stems from the amount that I eat because sometimes I do think the portion is pretty sizeable already and the feeling of wanting to eat isn’t due to hunger, unless I am not noticing the hunger pangs that are in some other ways transmitted to my brain to trigger the desire.

Anyway, I decided to snap a shot of what I had for breakfast some days ago, the very first meal of the day and which is also the first half of my breakfast, yogurt with fruit and chia seeds. You can’t see the fruit that has been completely covered by the yogurt but in this picture, a green kiwi lies beneath. A little of the green is visible in the right edges. Anyhow, kiwi is my usual choice of fruit to go along with yogurt because the combination of sour on sour is so refreshing and I really enjoy the sourness. Most other days I substitute bananas for kiwis though, because of the greater satiation from bananas and because I also love eating bananas. The dried apricot is a treat for that day, just to add some colour and cheer for the morning!  20131007-090439.jpg

I said this was the first half because I eat fairly early in the mornings, and this definitely doesn’t last me all the way through to lunch time. Also, I don’t generally want to or like having my meal at one sitting; because circumstances permit, I prefer to space out my eating, which is also possibly the reason for the development of the habit to eat frequently, or rather all the time. My second half of breakfast happens around some people’s usual breakfast time, or maybe tea-break, and consists of something more substantial in the form of carbs and coffee. I love my carbs, despite how it is not so well-received by many because it can be a huge contributory factor to weight gain!

I happened to take a photo of something I asked my mum to steam for one of my night snack last week. It doesn’t look that fantastic, and obviously it goes to show how I am not the go-to person for plating or well-thought-up/orchestrated food arrangements. Whatever that is called. I just take and eat. Perhaps if I put some effort into dressing up the food that I am eating, it can extend my enjoyment further, both in the satisfaction from eating, and literally the time taken to consume the food.20131007-090522.jpg

This is pumpkin, and I have come to appreciate it and love it! Whether it is its taste or texture, steamed, grilled, roasted or stewed, I think it tastes wonderful. The ones that I have bought so far are always the ones with dark green skin, but I have seen some with orangey/yellow skin called squash, possibly another variant of this thing that I used to only associate with Jack-o-lanterns and Halloween. One of these days, I have to get some butternut squash to try and see if I like them as much as the green pumpkins!