Painting the Hunger Away

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There’s a saying that most people eat to live and that some live to eat. I am a proud, dedicated member of the latter group. So you can imagine how hard it was for me to Live Below the Line.Screen shot 2014-09-28 at PM 06.31.26

Living below the line was a fundraising campaign that I participated in last year where I had a £1 per day food budget – the equivalent of the extreme poverty line – for 5 days. All the money raised went to The Hunger Project. Click here to learn more about the campaign and the organisation I supported.

Now, when I say “hard” I mean first-world-problems-hard. As in I-didn’t-get-my-daily-salmon-avocado-and-skinny-cappucino-hard. I realized after the week, how good I have it and how lucky I am to never have to worry about having food on the table. It was such a good experience both in terms of working towards trying to understand the problem that affects a huge part of the population and trying to raise not only funds but awareness. However, it wasn’t until today, that it hit me that even though I’ve completed the Live Below the Line campaign, I can still do my part in the fight against hunger and extreme poverty.

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I was inspired by the clean water campaign supported by Food for Thought – a cafe that not only serves a mean iced latte, but is also very driven in raising awareness about extreme poverty.

While I was happily sipping on my third cup of free flow water after my contribution to the campaign, I thought to myself “wouldn’t it be great if they could do the same with food – if I could donate a set sum towards a cause to end world hunger and then get free flow food.” My gluttony aside, the more I thought about it, the more I found that it wasn’t such a bad idea.

My watercolour painting of a pineapple in my everything book entitled “painting my hunger away” came to mind – during the week of living below the line, I had spent a lot of my time trying to distract myself from my hunger pangs by painting. I got to thinking that maybe I could in some way not only paint my hunger away, but paint hunger away in general.

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Though I know that’s impossible, I figured that a little goes a long way. I have no idea how this is going to turn out but you never know if you don’t try right?

So that’s the inception of my Painting the Hunger Away project. I’ll be painting food (the first food item being the oh so glorious pineapple) and my art pieces will be available for purchase here as art prints, canvas prints, pillows, t-shirts, clocks, phone cases – basically anything you can think of. All proceeds will go to The Hunger Project, committed to the sustainable end of world hunger.

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I’m so excited about combining my two favourite things in the world to make a change – or attempting to anyways. Well that’s it for now, I’ll keep you guys updated about how it goes!

lots of pineapple love, Tiff

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OOTD: Sydney Styling

I feel that now that I’ve done Melbourne outfits, I need to follow that trend and do the Sydney ones before moving on to the actual travelling. Sooo here are more pictures of me pretending to be Australian and exposing my ankles (love me some rolled cuffs).

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Casual Catch-up

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So one of my besties goes to ANU in Canberra and I figured that I wouldn’t be able to see her since we were only visiting Melbourne, Sydney and Gold Coast (plus she never replied to my “I’m coming to Australia!!” message, rude). Thank god for instagram – she saw one of my posts of the Indian Ocean from a plane window (can never resist a good plane photo), put two and two together and proceeded to reprimand me, quite aggressively might I add, for not telling her that I was coming (though I 100% did). Anyways, spent a lovely day catching up at a goldfish obsessed cafe (they had about 3 books dedicated to goldfish), doing lots of outlet shopping and attempting to sightsee which ended up in her nearly breaking down, mainly due to google maps being a bitch and also to her complete lack of direction #besttourguide

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Beach Bright

As pretty much all my winter clothes are monochrome, I think I was experiencing pattern withdrawal and this all came out on beach day – where else would it be appropriate to wear my pineapple crop top (the correct answer should be everywhere but sadly that is not the case).

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(Baby) Blue Mountain

It was a tad chillier up in the mountains which meant I had to revert back to my subdued items of clothing. Baby blue denim jeggings in keeping with the colour scheme of the Blue Mountain and the beautiful blue sky.

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Also wearing the knitted cream cardigan that I bought just a few days before – I’m always so eager to wear my new clothes.

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over and out, Tiff

Cafe Review: Drury Lane

In theory, the idea of brunch is a wonderful thing – merging two meals means you can eat more in one sitting and who doesn’t want that. But in the limbo that happens before and after said brunch, I find that I have no idea what to do with myself. See, I’m someone who structures their day around meals and when this routine is ruptured, everything goes to shit. This limbo also happens with late meals – waiting for anything, especially food is the bane of my life. The pandemonium caused by changed meal times was demonstrated today when I spent most of the morning leading up to a late lunch with friends trying to pass the time by wandering around my house to find a comfortable position to catch up on summer reading (barely read 30 pages), having 3 mid morning snacks (when is mid morning anyways) and when it finally came to the time for me to head over for the long awaited lunch, I fell down the stairs.

It was only 3 steps but it was traumatizing. Thankfully, my hunger, aches and bruises were soothed by friends and good food (mostly the food #foodoverfriends) that were awaiting me at 94 Tanjong Pagar Road (Drury Lane is not located, as one might assume, on Drury Lane). As I was delayed by my stairs incident, my friends ordered first which was fine by me because that meant that the food arrived as soon as I did, and as Ke$ha would say, the party don’t start till I walk in.

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I have total trust in my friends’ food choices and they did not disappoint:

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Salmon baked eggs – smoked salmon, capers, spinach, homemade baked beans and cheese ($12)

I’m not a huge fan of baked beans or baked eggs but this was surprisingly good. The reason I don’t like baked beans is because they most of them taste like they’re straight from the tin but you could tell that these baked beans were homemade – the tomato sauce didn’t have that sickening sweetness characteristic of tinned beans and the beans themselves weren’t too mushy. And the reason I don’t like baked eggs is because they are often overcooked, but this egg was baked to runny yolk perfection. Not my favourite dish of the three but still good and quite filling as it comes with grilled toast.

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Chicken avocado sandwich – roasted chicken, avocado, yoghurt mint sauce ($8)

Standard sandwich, you can’t really go wrong with chicken and avocado. What made it for me was the yoghurt mint sauce which was flavourful and gave the sandwich a tangy twist (we tried guessing what the sauce was and came to the conclusion that it was a honey-orange sauce… close enough).

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Croissant steak sandwich – spinach, mushrooms and truffle honey ($12)

This was one of the specials and rightly so – I’ve never eaten anything quite like this. Maybe it was the taking of my savoury croissant virginity, maybe it was the dreamy truffle aroma in the air, whatever it was, everything about this was heavenly (the picture doesn’t do it justice). The steak slices were nice and tender, the croissant a parcel of flaky goodness and the truffle honey gave it a gourmet finish. All of us could have easily eaten another one, it was that good.

All that food for $10 a person – impressive. Admittedly, it was hard splitting the dishes into three equal portions but we managed (somewhat) and it was definitely worth it.

We also got two free coffees thanks to the momentum campaign. wooo love me some free stuff!

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The iced latte came in a cute mason jar with an even cuter straw. The jar was only half full but it was free so I’m not complaining. Look at that glass-is-half-full attitude (sorry, I just had to).

Rounded up the meal with dessert:

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Candy bar pie – chocolate crumb base with salted caramel, peanut butter nougat and a chocolate glaze

The first bite was glorious. The second as well. But the third and subsequent bites, not so much. Extremely decadent and I’m glad we were sharing because I would not have been able to finish it on my own #teamwork

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Carrot cake

I much preferred the carrot cake. It was lighter and not too sweet. The cake was moist and there was a perfect amount of cream cheese frosting with walnuts to top it off.

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Creative coffee packet wall art
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Window seat for optimum natural lighting ft. cardboard box seats

All in all, it was a lovely (and comparatively cheap) meal with lovely company – two of the very few people that put up with the photo taking ritual that precedes every meal (mostly because they partake in it themselves).

Drury Lane
Address: 94, Tanjong Pagar Road
Operating Hours: Mon: 9am – 10pm, Wed – Fri: 9am – 10pm, Sat – Sun: 10am – 6pm
Tel: 6222 6698

Zen Tracks

As I predict a lot of failed attempts at narrowing down my impressive gallery of photographs (I take a lot of pictures of the same thing), a lot of failed attempts at recollecting obvious facts and a lot of failed attempts at overcoming procrastination, I believe that my Australia post(s) will be kept simmering in the draft folder for quite a while. I will therefore entertain you guys with random tidbits until I finally get the motivation and courage to try and capture 12 amazing days into one or two (maybe three) posts.

Went to Singapore Botanical Gardens this morning for some foliage doodling – I really don’t visit it as often as I should given its close proximity to my house. I realised whilst drawing and listening to some tunes, how much I miss relaxing and having some me time and how easy it is to do so with music.

So first random tidbit: my multi purpose playlist. Mostly used for, but not confined to, studying, reading, drawing, painting and sleeping (only on planes when there is a screeching 5 month old two seats away from me). It’s my go-to collection of tracks for when I’m trying to focus or completely relax – the soothing instrumental is perfect for either.

happy listening, Tiff

 

OOTD: Melbourne Outfitters

(Like Urban Oufitters getittt… I really should stop making up titles that I need to explain)

As I probably won’t get round to all the good stuff just yet (ie. food, places) and only have access to the photos on my phone which is a tiny fraction of the entirety of my photo collection (limited mainly to selfies, landscapes, selfies with landscapes), you’re going to have to make do with an outfit post.

Australians are so well dressed it’s kind of intimidating. They’re just so effortlessly stylish. And I don’t know what it is about holidays, maybe the Australian edginess is rubbing off on me (I’d like to think), but I always seem to put in an extra effort towards my outfits. It’s almost as if because I’m in a different place, I feel like I have the freedom to reinvent myself. Reinvent my wardrobe if anything. Anyways, here’s a little taste of my Melbourne experience through my clothes.

Mint Matching

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7 am coffee at Market Lane in Queen Victoria’s Market where lo and behold, I discover that the coffee cup is the same colour as my scarf. Thought to myself “well one of us is going to have to change” but then realised that it’s kind of like those matching couples – kind of cringey but cute nonetheless.

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I realise as I’m writing this that my scarf is not mint coloured. I think I got caught up in my quest for an alliterative sub-heading which made me temporarily colour blind. I am not going to change it now because “Turquoise Matching” just doesn’t have the same ring to it. Anyways, the pièce de resistance for today’s number was definitely my bright turquoise pashmina (and the matching turquoise paper cup of course). I got this scarf (and a few others) from Little India for a crazy bargain of $10 – but more on that purchase later in my Little India post. Paired it with a few basics: navy jeggings from Maple in Hong Kong, black suede jacket from Nathalie Chaize and my fave slip-ons that I practically live in now.

Holiday Hoodlumming

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One of the places I was adamant that we visited was Collingwood and I’m glad we did, I mean look at the street art. It was also a perfect setting for me to rock my neon orange $5 beanie from H&M.

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I usually do not wear hats mainly because I can’t pull the majority of them off and also because my hair is thick enough to keep my ears warm during the winter season aka hat season. But I’m willing to make an exception for this neon beanie because who doesn’t love a bit of neon in their life.

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset Processed with VSCOcam with f2 presetI seem to have a thing for having one brightly coloured item and then the rest of my outfit being pretty plain: black crop cami top (same as the one I wore here), white denim jeans from Maple (I went a bit cray and now have the same jeans in navy, baby blue and white denim), denim jacket from Bugis Street, leather chain sling bag from Primark and my slip-ons.

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White Picket Fence

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Sunday lived up to its name. I was so grateful for wearing white because sitting out in the sun at midday would not have been as fun in black. Good fashion choices = good life choices. Wearing a white long sleeve lace crop top from H&M, baby blue denim jeans from Maple.

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My very blue sunglasses are from Unity Eyewear (they’re AUS$30 online but $15 at the market), gold choker is from Little India (more about this gem in the Little India post I will write in the near future) and world map watch from Oxford vintage market (lovely present from my equally lovely friends).

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Despite the sun on this sunday, it was a bit more chilly at the beach so kept cosy with my white jumper from Bugis Street.

Processed with VSCOcam with hb2 presetProcessed with VSCOcam with hb1 presetMy friend said that with my film camera around my neck at all times I either look like a tourist or a hipster. I am, by definition a tourist in this beautiful city. But with the colossal asian population here, I think I could quite easily pass off as a hipster. Except in restaurants maybe – the amount of pictures snapped and the amount of angles they are snapped in kind of blow my cover. Anyways, that’s it for Melbourne outfit-wise. Next up Sydney style wooo!

stay fab, Tiff

Paleo Perspective by Amni

Hello beautiful people! I don’t know about you, but I am really into keeping a healthy clean lifestyle (it’s a bit addictive actually). Eating fresh multi coloured foods and making creative and quick meals make me feel like a modern hippie . And the whole you are what you eat theory really comes through because paired with exercising, a great big beautiful cycle is created which results in you becoming a beautiful person inside and out.

Okay…that made me seem like a crazy hippy. I’m done. Despite all the health raving, this doesn’t mean that I don’t eat chocolate or that I never indulge. I do. I’ve gone into a grocery store intending to be healthy and almost been caught out at the counter Processed with VSCOcam with f2 presetby some mini cupcake brownies (ask tiff!).

Quite recently I heard about an extension of clean eating called the Paleo diet. Here’s the breakdown:

What you can eat: Meat and Fish, Vegetables, Fruit, Nuts and seeds

What you avoid:  Processed foods, artificial ingredients, fast food, alcohol, dairy, carbonated drinks, junk food, grains, legumes

You’re right. The first list looks much smaller, and it is. But I actually didn’t have that much of a problem with scrounging up daily meals. Okay, I was a little bummed because even one of my favourite health go-to food, quinoa was on the blacklist. But other than that, my Paleo week was satisfying, I was eating tons of fruits and cashew nuts as well as exercising with more motivation and it was great.

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Let me just say that being paleo in a non-paleo world is hard. Even eating clean in a world that doesn’t eat ‘clean’ is hard. During that week, I found only one paleo café place called Caveman Food in Singapore and it’s in this cute underground section in Novena surrounded by other gluten-free/ organic cafes. Their menu is minuscule… perfectly reflective of the paleo community in Singapore which is just as miniscule.

In terms of the sweet stuff, the Paleo diet allows dark chocolate, so that was a bonus. I did miss cakes though. Luckily, with every unhealthy food there is always a healthy / paleo alternative. This great website offers tons of recipes and tips on how to ‘paleolize’ your life. This website is also where I found an amazing flour-less recipe for cookie bars, and also the cauliflower crust pizza. Yeah its kind of amazing, whoever made it deserves a prize.

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Don’t be deceived by how pizza-ish it looks: the crust is totally carb free!
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Delicious flourless cookie cake bars

However, by the end of the week I decided that I wasn’t going to continue on the paleo path, because there were a few things that I knew would hinder said path – my impending student university budget and lack of time to make flourless bread or cauliflower crust pizza. It may seem like an excuse BUT I even researched the benefits of a Paleo diet and found an article that debunked it (sorry Paleos out there). It kinda broke my heart as well because it was short stint, but I loved it.

I’ve made clean living a part of my life for about seven months now and I love it. Don’t get me wrong, for about two of those months I was at the low end of the healthy line. But it’s all about getting back on the health wagon when you’re down and never giving up. It’s not about doing it one month and then stopping another month, it’s a lifelong commitment! For those of you on the fence about clean eating, here’s a piece of advice, a clean and healthy lifestyle is tough to start and commit to, but it teaches you an important lesson on loving yourself from the inside and out.

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Here are a few paleo websites if you want to learn more about different people’s experience with paleo:

Well that’s it for my guest post darlings! I hope it’s given you some insight on clean eating, or the paleo diet if you any of you are interested in trying out the Paleo fad as well.

Stay beautiful!

Amni 🙂

p.s. for more on my clean lifestyle check out my instagram @asgfhj if you’re keen!

Everything about my Everything Book

Once upon a time, I kept a diary. Reading this diary a few years later, I realized that I didn’t really care about the fact that Amanda didn’t sit next to me at lunchtime or that I had a peanut butter sandwich for breakfast. This got me thinking about the reason for which I write – am I writing my diary to engrave every little detail of my (quite average) life into written form? Am I writing for others or myself? Am I writing for the present me or the future me? How do I write about things that I will actually care about in a few years?

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After much pondering, I found my answer: the Everything Book. I’ve received quite a lot of questions about what exactly it is and first off, I just want to say that there are no precise rules and regulations. I think that the defining thing about it is that each Everything Book is personal and therefore unique to its creator. It’s more of an abstract malleable concept than anything. I will, however, give you some ideas of how to keep your own Everything Book based on my own.

  1. An empire state of mind: don’t fall into the trap of only writing about the good or only writing about the bad. Of course you are going to have moods in which you will be more motivated to write. But maybe writing when you aren’t as inclined to, will in bad moods help you vent or reflect upon your situation and in good moods give you some nice memories to reminisce over. In my opinion, it’s so interesting having an extensive log of states of minds.
  1. That being said, don’t ever force it. It’s not worth writing a couple of empty lines just for the sake of writing it.
  1. Writer’s block: whenever I’m stuck in a rut of things to write, I always turn to prompts and work off them. Prompts can range from words, quotes, current issues, basically anything to get you inspired and writing. (Here are a list of my favourite websites for prompts: here, here, here)
  1. Lists: they are such a simple way to organize your thoughts and perfect for when you’re feeling lazy. I have lists of what I want in my future house, things I’m looking forward to, cafés to visit, I even have a list of the lists I want to make! (For more list ideas: here, here)
  1. Creative juices: get them flowing on to the pages! I do whatever I’m in the mood for (mostly poetry, drawing/doodling and painting).
  1. Get sticky – stickers are your new best friend and if it doesn’t stick then make it stick (glue, patterned tape, the fruit sticker of the apple you just ate). Anything from plane tickets, to birthday cards, to secret notes passed in class, to a fortune from a fortune cookie – the thicker your book becomes, the better!
  1. Write for yourself – last but definitely not least. My early diaries were mainly just me dictating every single thing that happened in the day. Now, I do still write about events, but I tend to focus more on my feelings and opinions – I want my writing to reflect me rather than the situation.

I use this large, blank soft moleskine for my Everything Book. It’s absolutely perfect – big enough to fit in all my babblings and my bits and bobs. It’s also a soft cover so it’s less bulky and I found the perfect bag in which it fits in perfectly! The fact that it’s a soft cover also gives you some leeway in terms of its ability to expand which means you can stick as much things as you want in it. The pages are a lovely cream colour which is perfect to write and draw on (though water colour has proved a bit more unsuccessful on it – the paper is too thin and doesn’t absorb the colours properly). I use this pen for most of my writings/drawings. It glides so satisfyingly across the page and I also use it for revision notes, exams, basically everything else.

Anyways, there you have it, a comprehensive guide to my Everything Book! Hopefully this answers most of your questions but if any still remains just ask!

 

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OOTD: Cauliflower Chill

I really shouldn’t be allowed to take part in any sort of imaginative processes, exemplified by the fact that the title of this post sounds like one of the many recipes saved up in the clutter of my bookmarks that I’m never going to get around to making. In fact it’s just the result of my fruitless venture to come up with a cool, creative name for today’s outfit, inspired by our Cauliflower crust pizza making (which fortunately was much more successful than my title making) and my casual ensemble (for chilling, obviously). Let me also mention on a side note that there was nothing chill about the weather, nor was the process of the Cauliflower crust pizza making in any way chilled, but more about that in a later post. For now, all you get are pictures of me, aren’t you a lucky duck.

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spot my pet rhino
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“who do you think you are? Paris Hilton?”

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thank you to this one for being a great photographer though she is a bit of a loser at life

What I’m wearing:

TOP – Crop cami top from Editor’s MarketSHORTS – Curve denim shorts from Bugis Street (you can get similar ones online here or here), SHOES – Quilted platform slip ons from Argyle center, Hong Kong (get them online here), BAG – Small tubular structered top handle tote bag from Argyle center (similar ones online here, here, here and here), RINGS – Gold bands from Lovisa, NECKLACE – Moon necklace from H&M

Anyways, gonna miss this chick and I wish her all the best when she goes off to uni this friday/sunday (she still doesn’t know when she’s leaving wow). Look out for a post about the arduous task of cauliflower crust making as well as a guest post from Amni about something cool hyyyype.

peace out, Tiff

2014 Cafe Fest (the worst and the best)

Express cafe hopping – 12 homegrown cafés compressed into a weekend and a 50m stretch along waterfront promenade, what could possibly go wrong? A few things apparently.

Let’s start with the silver lining though. I love the concept Processed with VSCOcam with hb2 presetbehind cafe fest – I think the exploding cafe culture in Singapore is a wonderful thing and I’m behind anything that supports this growing culture. It was also so nice seeing how passionate the people involved were – not only the innovative pioneers behind the conception of this idea who have obviously put in so much love and effort into the event, but also the baristas and every single person manning the stalls. Smiles everywhere despite the
Singaporean sun and overwhelming queues, archetypical ofProcessed with VSCOcam with hb2 preset Singaporean kiasu-ness (I overheard a woman asking her friend why people were queuing at the I am cafe booth and her friend responded with: “because other people are queuing”.) The coffee of course was on point – on the first day I got the iced latte from Maison Ikkoku for the festival price of $5 and on the second day, I got two bottles of OZ coffee’s house brand Cold Brew that came in a cute bottle deceptively similar to a beer bottle for the festival price of $4. The only food we got on the first Processed with VSCOcam with f2 presetday was a Cookie butter cheesecake from Bloomsbury Bakers ($5) which, despite being really good, was kind of depressing (reasons for this lack of food below). Food quest on the second day was much more fruitful. Tried the Kouign Amann ($4) and the white chocolate & raspberry ice cream with mini croissant ($3) from Tiong Bahru Bakery. Really liked the Kouign Amann which was something I had never tried before. Got the satay burger from I am cafe and a chilli cheese hot dog from Cake Love, Processed with VSCOcam with hb1 presetneither of which were anything special. Finished off with a passion fruit cheese cake ($5) and apple crumble ($5) both from Bloomsbury Bakers. I really liked the citrus, tangy tones of the passion fruit cheesecake – perfectly refreshing for such a hot day. Plus we got free chocolate brownie samples which were also very good.

 

 

On to the cloud of disappointment within this admittedly quite thick silver lining. firstly, let’s talk about these festival prices – each stand sold their products at a regular price and a $1 reduced festival price. So why am I paying $25 for a ticket to an event with free admission just to get $1 off food and drinks? If you think about it, I would need to purchase about 50 things to break even (which is impossible even for a hardcore foodie like me). Now I’m all for supporting the cafe culture but if I hadn’t gotten the ticket and paid regular prices, I would be supporting them all the same. I think the solution to this problem would be to either make it a closed event so that the ticket buyers are actually getting their money’s worth or just making it free admission for all and everyone pays regular price.

Secondly, 人山人海 (one of the last remaining Processed with VSCOcam with hb1 presetidioms in the rusty compartment in my brain from my Standard Chinese IB days) – the first day was wayyy too crowded. Of course this is a good thing because that means lots and lots of excitement and ent husiasm about this project. but this amount of people also means queues. no matter how fast the baristas work, there will always be queues, it’s inevitable. Perhaps having bigger stalls manned by more people would solve this problem. Also, the seating area which was sandwiched between the two rows of stalls, created unnecessary congestion. If the benches had simply been next to the row instead of wedged in between, there would have been much more space to walk. Plus the people sitting wouldn’t have the constant fear of a passerby knocking the cupcake they were trying to take an Instagram worthy picture of, out of their hand. The second day was so much more enjoyable just because it was way less crowded and we actually got to buy food which was what we were there for in the first place.

Thirdly, what’s even worse than queues? Not getting anything out of queuing. By around 1 ish on the first day, stalls were already running out of food. For some of the stalls, they were getting fresh supplies in a while which meant waiting, but for most, they didn’t plan on restocking so their menus shrunk as the day went by. (This didn’t really happen on the second, again because there were less people).

These are all nitty gritty details but put together they turned what could have been an amazing event into somewhat of a letdown. I think one of the main reasons for this disappointment was because of the huge hype surrounding it – I mean it is the world’s first cafe hopping event. My fellow cafe obsessed friend and I were literally looking forward to this cafe filled weekend for months.

I’m sure lots of people enjoyed this event but it could be that though one of my main hobbies is cafe hopping, express cafe hopping just isn’t my thing. It could be that the event simply just wasn’t well organized which is understandable. It could also potentially be that what ruined the experience for me was the compressed nature of the whole thing. Increasing the accessibility and convenience meant taking away the hopping aspect of cafe hopping which is kind of the essence of the whole thing (hence the term cafe hopping). Maybe the idea of cafe fest belongs in this now generation, where everything is about the here and now. But I feel like cafe hopping, and the whole cafe culture belongs to a more relaxed, slow paced era where you can just sip your coffee, doodle in a journal and gaze dreamily out the window.

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At least the company was good