Côte

one of the main things that fuels my wanderlust is the abundance of new exciting flavours. I like to think that I’m quite adventurous with my eating, and traveling is the perfect opportunity to exercise that curiosity. seeing as I’m stuck in Oxford (mostly coz of my own laziness and unjustified fear that I have work due even when I don’t which fills me if I ever entertain the thought of leaving) I have resorted to quenching my epicurean wanderlust through frequenting restaurants of different cuisines on date nights when it’s a tad more acceptable to splurge on food. what better way to start this little cuisine quest with the country from which the word cuisine originated from: France. (I actually chose French because it’s a safe bet and I’m trying to slowly ease my not-so-adventurous boyfriend into the whole thing.)

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I’ve passed by Côte many a time, peered into the bustling brasserie and made a mental note to try it out sometime. Well these mental notes have finally piled up and overflowed and consequently I’ve finally gotten round to it.

It was a good thing we made a reservation because, as all good restaurants are on a saturday night, Côte was thronging with people. Stepping into the entrance lobby, we arrived into an assemblage of small, inter-connecting rooms and were led to our table for two. The atmospherically lit muted grey walls, flickering candles, open shelves of wine and plethora of mirrors really made me feel like I was in a Parisian bistro.

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In terms of authenticity, Côte undeniably fulfils its aim to emulate the simple bistro cooking you would find in any number of restaurants across France. As we weren’t really feeling starters, though a few caught my eye, we decided to skip them to save room for dessert and go straight to the mains. After much umming and ahhing, I went for the roast sea bass and James went for the fish parmentier, which we coupled with a glass of LaGarde Blanc each. The sea bass was exquisite – there were two juicy fillets, with a few big chunks of braised fennel in a champagne beurre blanc with chives and chopped tomatoes. I’m usually a bit wary of cream sauces as some of them can be a bit too heavy, but this one had the perfect thickness and complemented the melt-in-your-mouth sea bass. James was jealous of my choice of main though he was still very happy with his fish parmentier which was basically a fancy French version of fish pie. I tried a bit and I could really tell that the seafood was fresh though I’m personally not a huge fan of pies.

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Dessert choosing is always a pallava as I somehow have always managed to choose something that I end up being disappointed in. I decided to play it safe and stick with my classic childhood favourite, crème brulée and James chose the lemon tart. I really liked the contrast in texture between the crispy caramel top and the rich custard base but the custard was a tad too runny and not flavoursome enough for my liking. The lemon tart on the other hand was divine. I really liked the rich intense tangy flavour of the lemon custard filling and the pastry shell wasn’t too crumbly. I couldn’t resist sneaking in a few spoonfuls. Processed with VSCOcam with hb2 preset

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All in all it was a lovely night and a lovely meal. The service was efficient and the ambience was delightful. I know I’ve used a lot of incredibly cheesy adjectives but I promise you they are well-deserved.

Côte 41-47 George Street, Oxford OX1 2BE

Vert de Terre

pardon my french (pun) which I blame on the essays upon essays I have been churning out week after week. it’s really not that bad (except for occasional essay crisis which involve a lot of lying face down on my bed buried under my duvet like a worm – ver de terre – moaning about how sucky life is) but I’m just going to continue to pretend that my workload is the sole reason for my poor form on the humour front.

after a bright white summer, I’ve realised that despite my surprising ability to keep my whites clean and pristine, the English rain and consequently mud is just not compatible with that kind of lifestyle. cue earthy tones. my winter wardrobe thus far comprising of various hues of beige and brown has welcomed a new addition; a dark bottle green pinafore dress from Zara.

in my most recent post essay euphoria, (which usually lasts a few hours until I realise I have more work looming) I stumbled into Zara and came across this green gem. the cutest pinafore dress with my favourite type of fabric – it’s a sort of structured velvet with a slight sheen that gives a lovely texture. the dress has a cross strap back, two metal buttons on each side of the waist and an oversized front pocket. the pocket makes me giggle a bit because i’m always complaining about how small pockets are and this huge one is kind of like the universe going “here, is this big enough for you?”.

Iweta, my amazing talented friend came with me on my first venture into our beautifully overgrown garden. kudos to her for not only putting up with my idiotic prancing around but taking cool creative shots and actually making me look slightly less socially awkward in the process.

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What I’m wearing:

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Tiff

Monday Move-in Madness

This post has been put off for way too long and being stuck in bed sick has given me time for a breather from the insanity that is uni life so I will attempt a quick all-inclusive summary of the past few weeks during which I’ve been slightly MIA. Brace yourself for lots and lots of pictures because I’m lazy but I promise that I will be much more on top of it for future posts.

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After suffering from major FOMO instigated by the various housewarming parties I couldn’t go to, it was finally my turn to move in. One of the joys of being a second year at Balliol is getting kicked out of our college accommodation. This means that I won’t have to spend every last day of term lugging 10 boxes into the dark depths of the international storage room (yayyy!). Whilst I’m definitely going to miss hall food and the proximity of hall (everything about hall basically), I must say that I’m quite excited for this new year in our new house (christened Isaac after Isaac Newton). It’s so nice being back in this beautiful old city in a beautiful new home – the high levels of stress during house hunting period paid off.

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The happy reunion was slightly tainted by the 9 am wake up call (which was meant to be a 7 am one but was delayed by various bus fuckups) I inflicted upon my house mates. Best pals Gems and Mons came to meet me in the pouring rain which was so nice of them (love you guys).

Hectic freshers week despite not being freshers anymore and equally hectic two weeks following it – lots of meetings (for uni, for football and for our house), nights out (two nights in a row is enough to tire me out – not a fresh fresher anymore), essays on topics I am clueless about, general chores which just take up so much time and energy.

These energy draining activities were counteracted with much more pleasurable, poetic ones ie. catching up sipping on a skinny capp with my fave gal Fats at our fave café, waking up next to my boy with the late morning sun shining through the blinds, tea and biscuits with the gals in our pristine kitchen, cooking up some gourmet meals (not really) in said pristine kitchen, 3 course meals plus cocktails on date night, fruit heaven at Gloucester Green fruit market, late night post bop pizzas, all-you-can-eat free coffee and cupcakes at Turl Street Kitchen, “sunday roast” dinner with the house famalam, first football match which we smashed (13-3 to Balliol), cutest corner bookstores, morning runs and strolls on sunny weekends, so all in all had a good first few weeks.

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My favourite part about moving in is turning the new space into my own – I never feel completely at ease until my room looks relatively lived in. Cue bunting, cacti, polaroids and other miscellaneous objects.

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Soooo on another note, I have an extremely bad habit of buying things that I don’t actually need, and this becomes even more apparent when I’m shopping in sunny Singapore leading up to my return to England. Somehow, I always manage to delude myself that the sheer kimono I’m about to buy will indeed keep me warm and snug during the winter months. I have therefore resorted to online shopping and have recently come across Chicnova. Obediently staying in the winter sections of jackets, sweaters and coats, I picked out two pieces from their best sellers – a beige knit pullover and a baby pink mohair sweater.

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I don’t know what it is about packages that make me so happy but, alongside seeing all my friends (who I’ve missed an insane amount), receiving my first package at my new address was near the top of my list of the ingredients for my moving in high. Thanks to Chicnova, I will be embracing the sweater weather instead of shivering in my summer wear.

Both of the pieces were on sale (love me a good bargain) but even without the reduction, they were both very affordable. Plus shipping is free globally (I’ve had nightmare experiences with shipping fees one too many times). Click here for more about Chicnova and a full blown post about the pieces will be coming up on my blog very very soon.

lots of oxford love (lool?), Tiff

Winter is Coming

Or more accurately, I am going to Winter.

In less than a week I shall be returning to the land of tea and biscuits (hopefully I won’t get Fresher’s 15 again…) which means that I need to stock up on health and beauty essentials.

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I initially bought this self-tanner in order to even out my disastrous tan lines but I will probably bring it along to the UK to maintain my tan. The thing about my skin is that I tan really easily but I also lose my tan really easily. It doesn’t seem to be doing much right now but then again there is a huge contrast between my tanned and untanned skin so maybe it takes a while.

Gradual self-tanning body lotion ($16)
Sephora

2. Vitamin faCe

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 presetVitamins aren’t just good in your food, they’re good in your skincare as well. The tube on the right is the Vitamin C microdermabrasion which is a weekly exfoliation. I personally don’t really like exfoliating my face too much but it came in a package with the skin reviver so I figured I might as well try it. It leaves my face soft and it feels really clean though I would probably not buy it if it didn’t come with the skin reviver. The pump dispenser on the left is the skin reviver and was what I was really after – it’s a light gel that makes your skin feel and look smoother. It creates a perfect base for foundation though I usually just went without because I felt like the skin reviver did the job. Plus the fresh citrus scent was perfect to wake me up. I was obsessed with it last winter and it’ll probably remain one of my favourites for a long time.

Vitamin C Skin Reviver (£15) and Vitamin C Microdermabrasion (£14)
The Body Shop

3. Hands up for this hand cream

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 presetIt smells heavenly and keeps your hands as smooth as a baby’s bottom. What more can you want? If that doesn’t convince you then let me just read you the description: non-greasy hand cream with shea butter, macadamia oil and marshmallow. MARSHMALLOW! I reapply so often just because I love the smell but for normal (non-obsessive) people, you probably only have to reapply every few hours to keep your hands silky soft.

I only got the 50 ml but next time I’m definitely going for the 125 ml tube.

Hand Food (£5.50)
Soap & Glory

4. Claws out

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 presetI feel like I neglect my nails in the winter just because I can’t paint them in my favourite bright varnishes or my pretty pastel ones. Decided that this had to change so got myself some winter shades from Guardians (from top to bottom): Caught on the Red CarpetGenius in the Bottle, Hugo Moss and Shopping Day at Bluemingdales. Not only do these polishes have super cute names but they’re cheap, last for ages and really easy to apply.

Catrice Nailpolish ($5.90)

 

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I’m proud to say that I have never ever in my life pulled an all nighter for work – ain’t nobody got time for that. You would think that in uni you would have to but nahhh, I’d rather have my beauty sleep. In terms of the other kind of all nighters, I have stayed up until dawn various times if that counts (party till the break of dawn), the most recent beingMay Day (such an eventful night/morning), and in these cases this eyeliner is perfect. I just upgraded from a pencil formula to a twisty one just because I’m lazy and can’t be bothered to sharpen the pencil. They both have a creamy formula that draws intense black lines that are smudge proof and long lasting. The only thing about the twisting eyeliner is that sometimes the end gets a bit blunt and you then get much thicker lines. I’ll probably opt for the good old pencil formula one next time though – I like sharp, defined lines.Processed with VSCOcam with hb1 preset

All Nighter Eyeliner ($28)
Urban Decay

6. Aesop Bandwagon

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My face wash running out in the middle of my Australia trip was a  happy coincidence as that meant I was guilt free when picking up face wash and moisturizer from Aesop. I specifically asked for products for dry weather and ended up getting the Fabulous Face Cleanser as well as the Camellia Nut Facial Hydrating Cream. Haven’t used either of them yet as I’m still in the tropics but I’ve heard good things and can’t wait to try them out myself.

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7. Na, na, na, diva is a female version of a hustla

Processed with VSCOcam with hb1 presetSaving the best for last. Whilst I do not feel like a female version of a hustla (what is that anyways), I do feel quite diva-ish when I wear this lipstick. I’ve always loved dark lip stick and for ages I used Burt’s Bees plum Lip Shimmer which was great except the colour did not last for long. This lipstick, Diva, is an intense reddish burgundy and is part of Mac’s matte collection. It has a creamy texture and is so easy to apply, giving an amazing coverage. I love the boldness of the colour and it is definitely my favourite lipstick thus far (not that I have a huge collection). Because my lips get quite dry, especially in the winter, I apply the Mac lip Prep & Prime – a colourlessbase which adds moisture and smoothes your lips. I also put on Vaseline about 15 minutes before applying the primer and lipstick. This gives the lip balm time to be absorbed.

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Prep & Prime ($28)
MAC

Vaseline with Cocoa butter (£2.18)

That’s it for now, Tiff x



 

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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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

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!

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