Birthday In Beijing [Part 2]

This is a continuation of BIB Pt1

DAY 3
So we visited the Silk Street Market which is near to the hotel before proceeding to the Forbidden City. You can read all about it here along with the review of the hotel. To get to Forbidden City, I chose to rent an Ofo bike as it is one of the main transport there and I just want to try it out for fun.

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It’s been donkey years since I cycled and I have never rented an Ofo bike or similar before. It’s a pretty simple straightforward signup where you need to key in your phone number and will be required to make a deposit. It was a short cycling route if I remember correctly. To my surprise, the whole cycling trip was free.. I have no idea why but during my whole Beijing trip, I did not have to pay for anything except for this one time, I don’t know why but it was cheap so I don’t really bother why. Alternatively, you may take the train to Tian’anmen East station.

So we arrived the station, locked the bike and started walking. It was a looooooong walk to the Forbidden city. Halfway through I regretted dropping off the bike. We arrived to a gated city. Apparently it was the day it’s closed. I didn’t check. Oh wells!

But anyway, there are many things to see along the way. Nice old houses, river, people fishing, etc.. but still a long walk back out to me.

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Since we were there and timing is right, we headed to Tian’anmen Square to witness the flag lowering ceremony which happens daily during sunset. There’s also a daily flag-raising ceremony in the morning. If you are interested, you may check their timings here before going there.

That place is full of security guards placed everywhere around. Oh and I forgot to mention that there are also security checks at all entrances of train stations so to skip the queue, try to avoid bringing bags. 😉

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It’s getting dark and we were getting hungry so we went to the popular tourist hot spot, Wangfujing street. It sure is packed with human traffic.

There is a halal Chinese restaurant situated at the entrance of the main shopping street called Dong Lai Shun Muslim Restaurant.

They serve a whole lot of meat and steamboat kind of dishes. We didn’t eat there so I can’t rate it. One thing I noticed is that their halal chinese food is mainly of Uyghur cuisine, which consists of meat and a lot of meat, with soups of course.

As you walk in further, you will come across this small alley with a huge temple-like entrance.

This is their main walking street where you can find a lot of street food.

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They sure have a lot of things for you to choose from….

Gian

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I took a video for you to see to believe.. 😬

Damage:
CNY729 = S$151.90 (hotel only excluding other expenses)

DAY 4
So we haven’t been a dedicated traveller. Woke up own time again and as usual, late so just enough for one day trip. I decided to go to the Temple of Heaven today. You will have to walk through Tiantan Park and there were a lot of elderly people with activities there.

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Some were playing card games and Chinese chess while others play traditional games like the Chapteh. Chapteh is made with colourful feathers that are attached to a rubber base and you are supposed to keep it airborne with your legs.

This is how it’s being played..

So anyway, the temple was closed when we arrived. Apparently their sale of tickets close 1 hour earlier than their closing time. So do take note!

Opening times:
Apr 1 – Oct 31: 8am-5.30pm (tickets available 8am-4.30pm)
Nov 1 – March 31: 8am-5pm (tickets available 8am-4pm)

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Temple of Heaven in the distance

Dark falls and we decided to go and have a look at the bird’s nest aka Beijing National Stadium. Aside from the illuminated buildings, it was fun and lively with all the activities and music along the Olympic Park. It sure is a long walk but you can always choose to grab one of the rental bicycles.

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Map of the whole park

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Next stop is for our tummies..We chose Cafe Sambal. It is a modern Malaysian restaurant & bar with a nice ambience. Do not let the outlook of the exterior deceives you.

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Interior:

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The menu:

The food:

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The bill??

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It is a lil pricey but what it’s pretty normal to have to spend more money for halal food in a foreign country. I kinda expected it..

Damage:
CNY391 + CNY729 = CNY1019
S$81.50 + S$151.90 = S$233.40 (excluding transport)

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Status Update

Pardon my hiatus as I have been busy and have not been feeling motivated to write anything lately.. Plus the lack of memory is not helping at all.. Life is so fast-tracked and so many things happened yet I’ve been pacing ever so slowly that I have not been able to keep up with anything. There has been deaths, celebrations, major changes, holidays, etc..

Almost halfway into 2018 and I am still not doing any better with this. I have to virtually go all the way back to Beijing which I barely remember now. But I will still try my best of course. It’s YOUR purpose to relive my memories. Make it work! Urgh I’m in need of a brain and memory booster. I’m reading my notes and it’s so bare and all jumbled.
Note to self : Write organised notes please! So if your memory fails, you can understand better!

Anyway, meet my new buddy, Cleo. I’m pet-sitting her till the end of June until her mommy comes home from her vacation in Seoul. She’s a British Shorthair and is still a baby..

Do not be deceived by her sweet look.. She may look like an angel…… but she’s definitely not one! Psycho cat! Till then! 😘

Crsytal Orange Hotel Beijing

I decided to review hotels separately to try to keep my posts short and readable.
So here is one for Crystal Orange Hotel in Beijing, China.

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I booked a deluxe queen room with no breakfast cos I see no point in it. Room size is ok.. There is a pet fish in every room (I think) which is pretty cool but I barely noticed its existence so doesn’t really have any effect on me. And thoughtfully, they placed one mini  Dove chocolate each on each pillow.. 🙂

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This hotel is located in what looks like a CBD area.  Distance from hotel to the nearest station, Yong’anli is about 750m. You will pass a small alley and a right turn passing by tall office buildings and a small street of cafes and eateries. It can be quite dark at night too because the streets are not brightly lit. You can walk but I would suggest for you to rent a bicycle to cycle to and fro. I took Ofo and basically the rides are free. If you do not have the app, download it from the app store, register with your mobile number and place a refundable deposit of CNY199. There is no halal or muslim-friendly restaurants nearby either except for one possible restaurant near the station.

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I like the room but for location-wise, I would rather be staying at Gotel Capital which is much much nearer to the train station.. probably about 100-150m walk. I saw the rooms online and it’s not bad looking.

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Gotel Capital Hotel Exterior

Near Yong’anli station though, there’s this market building called Silk Street Market which sells mainly clothes.

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I realise that in Beijing, there is no more night market or those outdoor street markets. What they have is a “market” inside a building like a mall. But it is still called a market. It is a touristy place so you know what to expect there. Vendors do tout and can be aggressive. So do be careful.

There are some International cuisine restaurants there too in case you get hungry after shopping. For Muslim tourists, I saw one Turkish Restaurant there but I’m not sure if it’s halal. I also did read up somewhere that there is a halal Indian restaurant on level 6 but I did not have the time to check it out. You can check on it if you are at the location and while you are at it, please do let me know.

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Oh! If you ever need help finding your way to the hotel, here is what you should be showing your driver:

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That’s pretty much all in Yong’an Li area.. There is nothing much to do here except for office buildings, a 7-11 nearby the hotel and some shops along the street and this mall near the station.  Have fun exploring!

Happy (belated) 2018!

Oh I am such a noob! I have finally got the time to meddle around for a bit and ta-dah! I’ve managed to add my Instagram account to the sidebar. Such an easy task.. Why didn’t I do this earlier? I’m supposedly most active on Ig than anywhere else for the moment. Anyway, I’ve yet to say “Happy New Year!” The previous post was actually written in December but published only yesterday. So this is officially my first post for the new year.

How was 2017? Got married, fell out with one bff, brought my mom to a place she’s never been to, climbed the Great Wall of China (another bucketlist checked!) and I recently came back from South Korea and Hong Kong. I spent New Year’s Eve in Hong Kong. I didn’t have the best view and I had some issues with my hotel, which I want to talk about in another post… but the fireworks is phenomenal! I’d love to spend another New Year there but with a better and earlier planning. I’ve had my first encounter with a full-on snow shower and my first experience on ice-skating. That was amazing.. 🙂 What else? Oh.. my iPhone 7plus which is literally new cos I’ve had it in the box for almost a year has again dropped onto the ground and cracked its edge of screen. Seems like I’m not fated to bring new phones to cold countries. First one was my then new iphone6 in Norway, happily sliding down the steep icy slope and gave me a glorious crack across the screen (but I’m still actively using it). And now, my new iphone7+ dropped out of the pocket of my jacket onto the gravel ground. Thankful it’s a small crack but it’s still a stab in the heart. Sigh.. Maybe I shouldn’t go to a snowy country for my next new iPhone. 😦

 

How’s 2018 so far? Another close friend of mine just gave birth to her first child and it’s a boy! Gonna visit her later. That’s all so far…. Nothing major has happened yet. Will get on to my trips as soon as I can. I rarely have time in hand when I’m at work now.. Till next post! 🙂

Time really flies…

I didn’t realise that it has been 4 months since I wanted to upload pictures on my Beijing trip.. That one day I had some time for myself so I did that Christmas log cake list, changed my boring theme and remove the profile page. I saw a lot of people visit my profile page and I’m pretty sure they were left disappointed or lost lol. I do not know why I even had a profile page when I don’t and can’t even write anything in there. So it has been removed for now till I can figure out what to put there.

Regarding the Beijing trip pictures, they are ready to be uploaded but I really don’t know what’s holding me back. Maybe it’s because I was never in the right mood to write. I will try to upload soon.. It will be a long entry and I’m trying to figure out how to make it simpler and shorter unlike my past few travel entries. I don’t have much time in hand now to meddle around. I keep having distractions, heavy workload, no motivation  or my mood is just not right. I will try to figure something out soon. I realised that my blog will not be so dead if I can link my instagram up here but this free version won’t allow me to. Now I’m thinking if I should start paying. The last time I had my own website and hosting, it cocked up big time and I lost everything and in the end I kept paying the monthly fees for nothing. Now I’m contemplating again.. Hmmmmmmm…………..

Anyhooo……. if you want to have a look,  here’s my instagram link.

Best Looking Christmas Log Cake for 2017

So it’s that time of the year again for me to search for good yummilicious looking log cakes.  Last year I was spoilt for choices. They were all so gorgeous you wouldn’t want to eat it but this year, I can’t help but feel disappointed for this year’s collection. It looks as if not much thoughts and effort are being put. Oh wells…. Nevertheless, here’s the list of my Top 10 log cakes (round or square cakes not included). Do take note that I may be biased on chocolate flavours.

I do not own any of the images. All images and some texts are taken directly from their website.

1) Utterly Chocolatey by Swensens (Halal)

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Approximately 1kg and may serve 10-12 people         S$58

I just simply love the colour contrast… Simple but eye-catching. It is made with their signature sticky chewy chocolate ice-cream topped with a merry mix of chocolate, berries and a magical sprinkle of snow.

2) Coco Crunch Log Cake by Gateaux Patisserie

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Coco Crunch Log Cake  700g          S$39

3) Salted Dulcey Caramel by Nesuto Patisserie

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Weighs 800g and may serve up to 12 pax        S$88

Decadent 70% light chocolate mousse, filled with a ‘Fleur de sel’ caramelized white chocolate centre laden with crunchy dark chocolate pearls & buttermilk chocolate sponge.

4) Framboise Chocolat Buche de Noël by Intercontinental Hotel (Sugar-free)

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Framboise Chocolat Buche de Noel    1kg        $68

This design is similar to last year’s log cake as featured here.
It is a sugar-free log made of luscious dark chocolate mousse, tangy raspberry confit
with chocolate biscuit cake. Totally consumable guilt-free!

5) Ondeh Ondeh Yule Log Cake by Choz Confectionery (Halal)

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Approximately 1kg     $68.80

Cake needs no introduction. It’s an ondeh-ondeh log cake! Who can resist an ondeh-ondeh cake? Its normally a chiffon cake layered with gula melaka. Sweeeeeet!

6) Red Velvet with Cream Cheese by Delcie’s Desserts and Cakes (Vegan/Halal)

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Price from S$80 for 5″ length

This sweet and simple looking cake is egg-free, dairy-free and nut-free but it contains gluten and soy. Use their discount code ” healthierxmas17 ” by 10th December to enjoy 10% discount.

7) Lemon and Hazelnut Yule Log by Cafe Noel (Fairmont / Swissotel Stamford Hotel)

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Lemon Hazelnut Yule Log          500g – S$43  /  1kg – S$73

Don’t be deceived by the look. It may look like it has a whole lot of chocolate but it is actually made of lemon mousse, praline and hazelnut crunchy.

8) Espresso ‘Chest’ by Cafe Noel (Fairmont / Swissotel Stamford Hotel)

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Espresso ‘Chest’ Log Cake         500g – S$43  /  1kg – S$73

Another on from the hotel that made the list is this chest log cake. Although it doesn’t really scream Christmas, it tops the list design-wise. It is made of coffee cream, almond sponge and spiced orange marmalade.

9) Triple Chocolat Cake Log by Bakerzin

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Approximately 2kg    S$74.77

Chocolate lovers are in for a sweet treat! This is the ultimate pure chocolate indulgence with three classic flavours – decadent chocolate, pure cream cheese and caramel. Each bite unleashes an explosion of flavours and beckons you for more servings!

10) Bûche de Noël by DB Bistro & Oyster Bar by Daniel Boulud (MBS)

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Bûche de Noël     S$50+
Sweeten any celebration with a Bûche de Noël in Chocolate Praline or Coconut Mango.

I just saw this one.. I would have bought one of this if I had seen it earlier but there’s not much information given on their website.

BONUS:
I have 2 more to add on to the list but they are not categorised under log cakes so here are the 2 cakes that I find interesting..

1) Merry Mosaic Cakes by The Deli (Goodwood Park Hotel)

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500g for S$48

This is a combination of 16 cake ‘squares’ of six different flavours – Orange Chiboust, Raspberry Earl Grey, Blackcurrant, Tiramisu, Green Tea and Cheesecake and individually crowned with Christmassy decorations.

2) Snow Globe by Antoinette

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10cm – S$15   /   15cm – S$65

This is just too cute to eat and I think it will make a nice gift. Light vanilla cheese cream mousse, raspberry marmalade, light passionfruit cream, almond nougatine and finger sponge with kirsch.

Well, that’s all I have for this year’s hunt. Hopefully next year will have more options than this year’s cos it was not as easy for me as last year to come up with this top 10 list. Merry sweeeeeet Christmas everyone! Till next time!

138 Days Since….

Pardon my hiatus as I was busy adjusting myself to this new life of mine..
As you can expect, quite a number of things happened to me within this 4 months.. Things have changed a lot.. Meetings and signings and so many tasks to do..

I have started working full time as of July.. Surprise! So yeah, lesser time for me now..
It has been 9 years since I’ve worked full-time and I sure need a lot of energy to get myself motivated for work everyday.. No, it’s not under the creative line like before and it’s just admin/accounts work so you can imagine all those papers and digits I have to see everyday. It gets tiring sometimes.. but my working hours are very flexible so I am very thankful and lucky for that.

What else happened? I went on my mini moon in May to somewhere familiar not too far away.. There’s nothing much to talk about there as it was just a short getaway right before the arrival of Ramadhan. Oh wait.. There is something to talk about.. Ok, will try to write on that one.. Then Eid came. First tiring Eid ever in my whole adult life as he has a big family while mine is super small and tight. National day / my parents’ anniversary… Had a few staycations with the family and more short holidays.. I’ll try to write about one of the stays if I don’t have too much backloads. Had a major drama episode with my clique and we had a fallout. Oh and there was this hyped Nasi Lemak stall with lobster going on and yeah, I tried that too.. Again, will try to write on that.. And finally my birthday just passed so I decided to go on a trip since I don’t have any reason to stay for my celebration like usual anyway.. I WILL write on that soon.. not about the drama but the trip lol..

So yeah, basically that’s what’s happened so far.. Till next post..

p/s: When I say I’ll try, don’t put too much hope cause as it is, I have so many backloads..
but I will try to make it happen.. Happy weekend! 🙂