smile a little smile today

I am a pessimist by nature, and it’s just a trait of mankind to be so. Every day when we flip through the papers or read some news online, more often than not, we get more bad than good news. The financial turmoils, the rising prices, the natural disasters, things just seem to get worse. Yet in the midst of all these, we know that all is not lost, for we are still alive aren’t we? For me, I have lots to be thankful for, despite that there are also many challenges that I face in my day-to-day life. Sometimes, I wonder if perhaps these challenges and problems are not conjured up because I think too much. I should learn to let go, because only when I do can He work His miracles on me, and then I can start to receive.

For the longest time, I have always walked around in Isetan supermarket when they are having a special fair of sorts, and on-and-off there will be yummy-looking and nice-smelling snacks being sold. One of these items that never fail to attract me are the small bite-sized dorayaki, the aroma of baked buttery goodness wafting in the air that just arrests my olfactory senses completely. But I have only actually bought them a few times, because they don’t come cheap. In the past, I remember that prices start at maybe S$7.50 for 16 pieces, and this has risen steadily, until now it costs S$9 for 16 pieces. First of all, $9 for 16 pieces is expensive for a snack, and 16 pieces is too much for one person. There aren’t many for me to share this around with since my brother isn’t a big fan of such snacks. But I decided to give in to temptation one day and get them anyhow; I ended up finishing most of it on my own, with my mum helping a little.  20131017-094333.jpg

Don’t you think the fish-shaped spongey cakes help to brighten up one’s day? And they taste great too, for a pastry-lover like me. The only downside is that the fillings inside are quite pathetic, and there were even some that came without! I thought they all had fillings so I asked for a mixture of everything, so I was a little miffed when I bit into a couple that were effectively “kosong”. They have the usual flavours like red bean, custard, chocolate (or was it nutella) and the likes, but I think there was also a strawberry-flavoured version I had which was good, and the best of all was the black sesame!

diaries of a slob

These days, I seem to feel like I am becoming more and more of a slob. Well, not that I wasn’t before, but I have been feeling lethargic of late, and when weekends come around, I am often so pressed for time rushing here and there that I get myself totally spent. What most people use to recharge themselves for the 5-day work week seem to become a race for time that makes me even more exhausted when Sunday evening comes. I’m not complaining, because I love my weekends, and the fact that I am so hard up for time is a good thing too. I don’t sleep much, and I think I should try to clock more hours in the slumber department because it seems to have started taking a toll on my health.

Reason for me thinking, or perhaps realising that I am quite the slob these days (and likely even before) is that when I check out some people I see in town on weekends, they are so well-dressed. I am rather fortunate to live within a short train ride from town (to me at least that is a benefit) so almost on a daily basis, I will be in town since that’s where the yoga studio is located. On weekdays perhaps I don’t feel so out of place because I will be in office attire, let’s come to that later, but on weekends, due to me wanting to be comfortable in our infamous hot and humid climate and not sacrificing comfort for fashion, I choose to hit town in what many people in the fashion industry will term as sloppy. Often, I am in a get-up of shorts (of course I try to wear nicer ones and not those that are obviously meant to be worn at home or have seen better days) and an oversized blouse/T-shirt, plus a pair of ballet flats or loafers. I know I make a little bit of effort with the footwear and forgo the slippers, which I do see a lot of in town. I can’t bear to make myself pull on a pair of jeans or something that covers so much of my skin with material that doesn’t allow my skin to breathe properly because I have an extremely low tolerance of heat. It works both ways because I can’t stand extreme cold as well so I will make sure I carry around something to cover up in our chilly malls. Still, I think it’s quite obvious I don’t fit with the fashionable crowd and I don’t think I’m alone there.

Anyhow, I love grocery-shopping and over the last.. years perhaps, I think I have spent quite a fair bit on groceries. For convenience, I used to shop a lot at Isetan Supermarket because it’s on the way home from the yoga studio, but these days I have come to realise that Isetan is one very expensive supermarket, if we were to compare it to NTUC, or even Cold Storage. There are some items that are comparable in terms of pricing, but some things are just ridiculously priced. For example, this season-limited snack:

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I bought a pack of this from Isetan before but I don’t recall how much I got it for, but in NTUC and Cold Storage, it retails for S$5. Yes, it’s steep but most of these imported stuff tend to be pricey, so it’s kind of like a treat once in a while. I didn’t believe it when my friend told me the price at Isetan was S$6, until I checked it and was appalled. I don’t think I paid S$6 then, so they just decided to increase the price, and by such a big amount?

I used to buy mineral water from Isetan too, when I’m going for my classes, since a bottle of 500 ml Ice Mountain costs S$0.50. Before, they sold their house-brand water, which costs S$0.60 for a 500 ml bottle, but it was discontinued, so I switched to Ice Mountain that was cheaper. Until one day, when I gave the cashier 50cents, I was told that the price is S$0.90. I did a double take and was shocked. From then, I decided to stop buying mineral water from Isetan, and just for comparative purposes, NTUC sells it at S$0.40.

There are some other things, like the Nature’s Wonders nuts; a big pack of baked almonds would usually cost S$6.90 in NTUC, S$7.20 at Cold Storage, but Isetan prices it at S$7.80. I have an Isetan card that gives a discount of either 3% or 5% (I don’t know how it works on the groceries) but even with that discount, it is still way more expensive that either Cold Storage or NTUC. I never really took such notice of the prices before but after the incident with the Toppo snack, I started checking and comparing. Call me auntie if you wish, but I buy groceries fairly often, and imagine the amount that I am saving by incurring myself a little more inconvenience of heading to an NTUC. Even Cold Storage would be a better option, unless of course, what I wanted to buy is only available at Isetan, or if prices are about the same, e.g. yogurt. For the yogurt that I buy, strangely, all three supermarkets seem to price them quite similarly.

P.S.: just went to Isetan Supermarket again this evening, and this thing pictured above is now priced at S$5! Talk about fast and vast changes! @_@

interesting things about town

The weather this morning was more forgiving as compared to sometime back. I am definitely not complaining but hoping against hope that this will last. Anyway, on my way to the office this morning, I got this flyer on Once Upon A Milkshake, and thought that they were trying to promote their stuff in this part of town. Upon a closer look, I reallised that they are going to be opening their 2nd parlour right here in Orchard! Their 1st outlet is at Tanjong Pagar (Maxwell House) that I have been to once, recommended by my friend as the shop is started by her friend.

I love the milkshakes that they serve even if I have only tried it once. Their menu has definitely grown but the price remains affordable, what more can you ask for! The one I tried was Grumbling Raisins, since rum ‘n raisins counts as one of my favourite ice-cream flavours, and it was full of flavour when you drink it, not bland and just milky. If you want to find out more about the shop and its menu, you can check out its website which should be visible in the flyer pictured below.

Before I go for class on Monday evenings, I will always drop by the supermarket at the basement of Isetan to buy some food for dinner. Being weirdly cost-conscious (because there are things that I buy without looking at the price tags), I prefer to buy the house-brand mineral water from the supermarket, as a 500ml-bottle costs just $0.60 as compared the 330ml Evian that I get from the vending machine at the school that costs $1.10. My classmate probably bought Evian from the machine for the first time last night, and she was appalled that it cost that much! Anyway, I am a big fan of pretz and whenever I travel to Japan or other Asian cities that may sell it, I will check out what different flavours they have. Since I don’t travel as much as I would like to, Isetan is one of the other places that offer me the chance to try new flavours, albeit at a higher price. What impressed me with pretz is that the flavours are always evidently obvious the moment you rip the pack open, or maybe I am just sensitive in the olfactory department. The bacon asparagus really has the taste of bacon asparagus yakitori, which whether it is just excellent flavouring done, or… just excellent flavouring. Ok, I am at a loss of words to describe it.

Then, one of my classmates who is a flight attendant who travels to Japan pretty often. She likes to try new Japanese crackers/snacks whenever she goes to Narita, so this time she brought this back to share with us. It makes me miss travelling… 😦

This is a thin wafer biscuit that was very crisp, and had a layer of either matcha or azuki cream on the inside. Very nicely done and delicious and as usual packaged the Japanese way, except that perhaps each serving was too large even though it was just a semi-circle.