Tuesday, May 9, 2017

SKII @ Seviin Tangs is closing for good

Shocked! I wasn't expecting this piece of news and i was about to try to buy another facial package at the coming 12% rebate.

So upset i was that i cancelled all my other activities for the day. I've been coming to this facial since 2014 and i always enjoyed my session with my therapist Cammie who always make me feel at ease. I am also comforted by the fact that this is a big name brand not those facial salons that could shutter up anytime with no compensation.

So its kind of sad to find out during my facial that it might be my last. SKII is closing by Jun 15, 2017 and they won't be continuing when Tangs reopen their facial counters at level 4.

I am unsure if i will look for another facial place as alot of places don't perform extraction now. Extraction is good to clear the pores and allow skin to absorb the nutrients better. Or i might just rely on all the facial masks i purchased during my Korean trip.

Compensation for the balance of unused package will be carried out in July 2017 for existing customers.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Korea - Here i come! 9 Days of Seoul, Busan, Gyongju, Sokcho

I’ve got a trip coming up and I’ve been researching a lot. There is a lack of information on the places I was interested in and some of the blog entries are quite dated and I am concerned that the public transport information ( we are not driving this time) may no longer be valid. Using the Korean tourism board information also mind boggling as they disclaim the information shown on their website (WTH?)

My usual to go to research tool TripAdvisor reviews on food is also failing. Looks like not a lot of people reviewed on Korean food compared to trips in new Zealand and Australia.

To top it off, there is a language barrier! The google browser is not working as effectively as Koreans effectively uses their own browser (naver) for information and its all in KOREAN! Google translate helps but not a lot. My google map also seems to be failing and then I found out that Koreans uses their own maps naver or daum maps which is more accurate for their public transport. The catch to using it is typing the destinations in Korean.
I finally got my itinerary mapped out and I hope that it works as I planned it out to be.
I was really obsessed with getting the locations right and have it in both Korean and English. In case, I got lost and needed help. I hope that I’m not too ambitious with my itinerary due to time constraints I axed out travelling to Jeju this time.

Day 1: Seoul: Namsan Tower and Lotte world shopping mart
Day 2: Seoul: Hanbok dress experience, Gyeongbokgung Palace and Yeouido Spring flower festival
Day 3: Seoul: Changdeokgung (UNESCO World Heritage), Jongmyo Shrine (UNESCO World Heritage) and Buchon Hanok Village
Day 4: Busan: Busan Gamcheon Culture Village, Jagalchi Market
Day 5: Bulguksa Temple and  Seokguram Grotto (UNESCO World Heritage)
Day 6:  Haedong Yonggungsa, Gijang Market and Haeundae Beach
Day 7: Gangchon rail park
Day 8: Seoraksan
Day 9: Shopping and hair salon at Ewha Womans University Station

All the information is from many blogs but the ones that I referred extensively is from the following blogs:
Iamontheroad, Seoulistic (korean food and interesting things to do), Peonykiss (make up) and boundforbusan (busan travels)

I discovered that I can add layers to my map and I’ve divided my locations by layers namely Sokcho, Seoul and Busan. Totally new to this function but I’m not optimistic of the effectiveness of google map in korea.  

I googled obsessively on things to buy from korea and ended up with a pretty long list, mainly food and cosmetics. 

Now is just waiting for the day to arrive and to book my KTX tickets. Yippee! Korea here i come

Monday, March 6, 2017

My dream Korea photoshoot - and the dream came crashing down

Finally got something related to wedding to share on the blog.

The first time i heard about korean photoshoot is probably a year after my wedding and i remember that i was pretty surprised that they only do indoor photography. But the photos are really romantic and have very elaborate sets. 

In korea, they don't call it prewedding. In their own local terms, they call it a wedding rehearsal.

I am not sure if it is to cater for foreigners visiting on short term, but a full photography session can be either completed in one day or two days.

For a 2 days photography, the first day is usually a 1.5 hours gown choosing session. The time is possible as brides can only choose to try 5 gowns within the allocated time frame. The second day is purely a  make up session followed by a 4 hours photography session. Albums will only be ready 2 - 4 months from the time of photography. The album and frame will be couriered to you (charges may apply separately). A package typically includes make up and 4 gowns (2 white gowns, 1 coloured gown, one mini dress and a tuxedo). Shoes and hair accessories are included for ladies, Men need to bring their own black shoes and black socks.

The sample photography showcased for the year is probably the exact shots you are getting. The poses and background are similar only the bride/groom is different. So don't go in expecting something different.

On a smaller scale, its called semi-wedding. Photography session is shorter, maybe 1 to 1.5 hours.

The pricing across studio are also somewhat similar and it also depends on the size of the studio you selected. At the time of writing, I find the pricing on Hello Muse an agent very competitive and all comprehensive. This is the only agency i contacted to get a quotation.

The others, i liaise directly with the studios. The studios i reach out are Roi Studio, CN studio, Sum studio, Bong studio, Studio Wonkyu, Lumiere studio and Cheongdam studio. The general pricing range for these are between KRW 1,450,000 to KRW 3,900,000. I will group the pricing as follows: budget (CN studio, Lumiere studio), mid-range (Bong studio, sum studio, roi studio and cheongdam studio), luxury (Studio Wonkyu).

Things that may or may not include in the package:
- photo edits of album
- photo frame and album
- EMS charges of frame and album
- translator
- transportation

Not sure if it is possible to negotiate for these items as my prime objection is to assess if their package suits my needs and budget for my trip to korea.

I was given a budget of S$1,000 (since we have done a photoshoot before) and below. Based on the above quotations, i won't be able to have my dream photoshoot after all.

Photos are all credits from all the studio listed above.

Tip: For more info and reviews on these studios, its always better to google them on naver.  You won't find any information except from overseas customers.

Saturday, October 1, 2016

Road trip to Malaysia - Terengganu (Kamaman and Kuala Terengganu)

This is an impromptu trip and mainly for the purpose of Qing Ming Jie (Tomb sweeping festival). i.e visiting my SO's ancestoral graves and visiting of family staying at Terengganu.

Some of the meals are eaten with relatives, hence the location and food is missing from the travel itinerary (apologies as i seriously have no idea).

I was hoping to see the sea turtles hatching of eggs. Unfortunately, its isn't the season for it. Sea turtles season is July to October with August being the peak.

Travel dates: 25 - 28 March 2016


Day 1:

Food: Lunch: Yuan Yean Fish Ball Noodle, Yong Peng 元廷正宗永平西刀鱼丸, Dinner: With Family
Stay: Cukai, First Residence Hotel

The travelling time from Singapore to Kemaman took longer than expected. We spent 2.5 hours just to clear the jam and we started off early too at 7.30 am. I guess we aren't that early after all after being stuck for like ever. After clearing the Singapore customs we immediately head to the temporary toilet before trying to clear the Malaysia customs. No joke when you need to answer nature's call and stuck in a never ending jam.

To eat:

Yuan Yean Fish Ball Noodle - budget
123, Jalan Besar, 83700 Yong Peng, Johor, Malaysia

The fishball is very flavourful and in my own terms has the taste of the sea. But the more dense than what we have in Singapore. There is different types of noodles to choose from but we all opt for noodles that are freshly made that day. The dry noodle is soft with a tinge of alkaline. The soup that accompanied the dry noodle is sweeter and saltier. The soup noodle is more bland.

We also ordered the yong tau foo which is also one of the popular dish here. I like the brinjal which is big fresh and inserted with a generous serving of fish paste.

The fish cake is very different as the outer crust is crispy and the contents more dense. Probably due to more fish meat??

I also love the otah that is juicy and spicy. Texture wise is tougher than the soft otah that we are used to in Singapore.

On the whole  meal, i will rate it at an astounding 7/10.

After a long jam and drive, this is a very fulfilling meal and we off to Terengganu.

To stay:
First Residence Hotel
Lot 119, Jalan Sulaimani, Bandar Chukai, Kemaman, 24000 Cukai, Malaysia

While the lobby look fresh and new, you can tell there are signs of wear and tear at the little corners like the ceiling.

Upon entering the lift, there is an overwelming stench of mould and cigarette smoke and it got worse when we reach our room. I had to open the room to air it but doesn't really help.

The rooms maintain a basic cleaniness and the bed is firm but the sheets are rough with small fabric balls. There are also cobwebs up in the ceiling corners. After bathing at night, i realise that there is no hair dryer and i end up sleeping with wet hair that night. :(

Location wise this hotel is considered quite prime and located in town. There are also 2 marts which are open 24 hours.

There are few decent hotels in this place and you have to brave this little hotel if you're passing through the area.

Day 2:

Food: Breakfast: Kedai Kopi Tin Kam Leng, Tea at Pantai Kelulut, Dinner: With Family
Stay: Felda Residence Hotel

To eat:

Kedai Kopi Tin Kam Leng - budget

Jalan Sultan Sulaimani 24000 Cukai, Terengganu Malaysia

This is quite unique as it serves noodles with a whole fish. The steam kampong fish is very moist and yummy. The fresh yellow noodle sprinkled with bean sprouts is delicious with only a tinge of alkalinity. The fish soup is superb. It is cook with local sardines for hours to make the broth. Uniquely, this dish is served with keropok and the way to eat is to dip the keropok in the soup and take a wholesome bite out of it. For greater flavour, you can add hei bee hiam to the noodles.

Aside from the awesome noodles, this place also brewed a great cup of coffee (kopi) which looks very thick (gao) but taste is neutral and sweet.

I also had a very yummy soft boiled egg that is very fresh. This is so so good that i am salivating while writing this.

Rated: 7.5/10

Keropok Lekor 008 - budget

This is my first time eating keropok (or fried fish slices) with a view to match. Its fried till crisp but the insides is soft and QQ. The texture of the keropok is in between a kueh and a fishball. This is something i've never tasted before and i can continuously eat this like potato chips. This is how good this is.

We add this with fresh coconut juice.

To stay:
Felda Residence Hotel
Jalan Hiliran, Terengganu Darul Iman, Kuala Terengganu, 21400, Malaysia

 The view of the lobby is near the riverfront and so is the cafe.

The rooms are quite huge and bed is firm. But the pillows are soft and comfortable. Hair dryer while not available in the room. Room is spacious.Special request to be made for hair dryer to be sent.

The views from 17th floor cafe is very soothing. Great for a glass of juice while waiting for time to pass.

However, all electricity is cut off from the building at 10.30 am. I am not sure if this is just a one time occurrence or a bid for the hotel to save on costs.

Day 3:

Visit: Crystal Museum
Food: Breakfast: Kah Pah, Lunch:Madam Bee Kitchen , Dinner: Ocean
Stay: Primula Beach Resort

To visit:

Crystal Museum

Islamic Heritage Park, Kuala Terengganu, 21400, Malaysia

This is listed as one of the top visit places at Kuala Terengganu. All visitors to the mosque must be appropriately dressed. 
Luckily they did provide clothes for wearing. Head for girls must be cover with a shawl as well.

This place is quite pretty and good for a quick lookaround. 

To eat:

Kah Pah - Stall 30 - budget

30 Gerai, 46000 Petaling Jaya, Selangor, Malaysia

My husband always sing praises of the Nasi dagang of Terengganu and it is his ultimate must eat food when he's back. He hasn't been to his hometown for 20 years so his craving is at its peak. We located the most popular Nasi dagang in kuala terengganu and i was so keen to try the food.

I was so in for a disappointment. The fish is cook till its dry and tough like eating sardines. The curry sauce is thick and sweet. The rice used is the longer grain thai rice and cooked in coconut milk and its much firmer than the white rice.

My conclusion after eating this beloved dish: this is an acquired childhood taste. After all the hype i think punggol nasi lemak wins so many folds. But as this is a local delicacy, my suggestion is to try it and move on if you dislike it.

Rated: 5.5/10

Madam Bee's Kitchen - mid range

Jalan Kampung Cina, 20100 Kuala Terengganu, Terengganu, Malaysia

More local delicacies to try.
 Fried mee siam is the more outstanding of the two dishes. It has greater flavour with a tinge of spiciness.

Terengganu laksa - this is a mix between Assam laksa and our coconut milk laksa in Singapore. Taste is sourish and lightly spicy with coconut milk. The noodle used is thicker than our local Laksa.

Rated: 6/10

Lot No. 9990, Jalan Tali Air 5, Ban 2, Selangor, 45400 Sekinchan, Malaysia
This place came recommended by relative and we met them here. I guess its one of the better restaurants.
The prawn is very fresh and topped on steamed eggs. Tender and drizzled with wine.
Bittergourd egg is sliced very thinly and does not have a tinge of bitterness to it.
The sweet potatoe leaves is fresh but it is cooked very quickly so it tasted a little raw.
The salted egg squid is well fried and crispy. Love the fritters that is coated with salted egg and curry leaves.
The sweet and sour prawn is fried till crisp on the outside but the still moist and tender on the inside.
The signature prawn is well spiced with dried chilli but not as refreshing as the first steamed prawn.
The toufu has a mix of tou gan and tou fu. Toufu is like tou hua, soft and tender. Tougun is a little more denser.  Fried shrimps (Heibee) is used to topped the toufu.

I quite impressed with the quality of Zhe Char at Malaysia.

Rated: 7/10 

To stay:
Primula Beach Resort
Jalan Persinggahan, 20400 Kuala Terengganu, TE, Malaysia
This is quite a old hotel. Lobby is quite big and expansive. Check-in is quite fast.

The rooms is old and jaded but quite big and spacious. All our rooms have a glimpse of the sea.

This is what welcome us when we exit the lift from every floor. It got me real excited. But too bad our rooms don't have such a pretty view.
I was super disappointed with the pool, the water look so green and no one is using it.
The deck chairs are all broken and un-used.
Seems so much better to sink the feet in the sand and walk the beach

Not one of the best hotels when it has one of the best locations. Kind of sad to see it not developed.

Day 4:

Lunch:Restoran Yat Hing , Dinner: San Low Seafood

Yat Hing
A4852, Lorong Seri Kuantan 25, 25250 Kuantan, Malaysia

Though the place is know for its bak kut teh, i saw that there is a pig organ soup and i requested to try it instead. I love love love it. The instestines are clean and the broth is very peppery, spicy and well flavoured.
The sambal fish is soft moist and yummy.
The bak kut teh soup is really good too! Though the meat served is quite standard fare. I love all the mushrooms they put in there - golden and button mushrooms.

San Low Seafood

Jalan Merah 1, Taman Pelangi, 80400 Johor Bahru, Johor, Malaysia

I cannot remember much of this dish as i forgetten to pen down my review. oops. I will write more if i ever get back here again.