Life in a New City

Sorry for the lack of updates. Some of you may already know about my family and I migrating to another city, Shanghai! For me, shanghai is one of the most interesting city (compared with other cities in China I’ve been to) where you can see China of yesterday, today, and tomorrow. It is also a joint of Eastern and Western cultures and the most modern city.

I’ve moved here for almost two month now and this place is still impressing me so far. There are so much to explore in this fast developing city. Terena also seems to enjoy the cold weather here more than I do but I’m kind of getting used to it now. Actually, I’m much more of a summer than winter person. We will see if I’m going to change my mind after spending more time during winter. Frankly speaking, I miss Singapore and Bangkok a lot especially family, friends and food! Fortunately, I still will be flying back to both countries very often due to business and visiting. Singapore is also like my second home after all so don’t worry my dear friends. You can see me quite often that you thought I have yet to move here. And if you are curious, I should be here in Shanghai for a few years.The very first few weeks I was pretty much occupied with household and a lot of new stuff to explore around but I’m becoming more familiar with this place now. While getting myself busy with finding a new house and kindergarden for Terena, I’m also having a new project coming up and I’m working hard on it now before putting them up.

I’ve said good things about Shanghai and yet to speak about the bad ones. Pretty sure many of you know what are the downsides of foreigner living in China (Every country definitely have at least one). So far, the thing I dislike about this city is the air, sometime it’s really bad but still better than Beijing. Next is the cautious about eating any food here. Unlike Bangkok where most street food won’t do me bad, some of Shanghai street or even can food can be dangerous for my stomach. I’ve had bad experiences for four times in two months. The worst one was the can food which wasn’t expired and yet gave me food poisoning for 2 days. But then again, they have so many good food here!

Anyway, I recently went to a Century park for a short break with baby and ayi (that’s what they called a helper/nanny here). It is the largest park of the city of Shanghai in Pudong New Area which combines British, Japanese, and Chinese gardening styles. So beautiful that I need to photograph.

In Nasty Gal knitted white dress, Massimo Dutti sweater, Burberry coat, BCBGMAXAZRIA stocking, Nine West boots and Chanel bag.

Love taking photos of these pretty flowers. I didn’t even need to use my pro but semi-pro camera to capture their beauty. Iphone 5 camera is very good for close-up shots too.

A flower in my hand was picked up from the floor and not from a tree itself.

more random things they sold at the park.

I was off to my meeting after spending an hour in a park. The weather was just nice on that day.

Cartier watch and ring, Tiffany bracelet and Korean designer jewelries. I love how the rose gold strongly compliments beige and white colour.

More random photos of my little girl. Start with da Michelin Terena all covered up in shocking pink GAP sweater.

Seriously. She is not even in white. Don’t you think she looks like a Michelin or is it just me? Actually I always call these type of sweater, the Michelin inspired. Cute enough.

and Terena da shopaholic baby.

She was actually being nice and helped me carry it all the way walking back home. Having a daughter is very sweet. Especially these days, she knows exactly how to make me melt when she wants something. But I will try my very best not spoil you simply because I love you very much. If you are a mother, you should know how hard it is to say no to your little ones but someone has to do it.

It’s late but I’m wishing you all a happy 2014. I hope all the good things be with you always.

ps. I bought quite a lot of Korea makeup and skincare from a family trip in Korea and I will be sharing some reviews once I’ve tried them all.

Love, nira

Bangkok with Baby

Some random updates about my life here.

I’m doing pretty fine as a mom so far. Terena is now very active and a fast learner so I need to be very careful of what I do as a role model. Kicking off some of your bad habits can be quite tough no? But we have to do anyway for the love of our child.

Last week Terena and I flew up to Bangkok again because I need to attend a few weddings this month and also for a short break for myself. All my family members were dying to see her especially my dad. She slept on the plane for the very first time after flying alone with her quite a number of times! Think it was about 15-20 minutes and I managed to take a short nap as well.

After spending only a week in Bangkok, baby Terena has gained some weight too. She is somewhat chubbier now especially her cheeks. We bring her out everyday while we are here! I’m not sure about other babies but mine definitely like to go out A LOT. Are they all the same? Here are some photos of baby Terena just in case you miss seeing her. x

She is growing well in overall. Not overweight or underweight. Also starting to walk by herself. Can’t imagine when she starts to run around… It would be so tiring yet so fun.

Terena is getting along very well with all my family members as usual especially dad who is really good with babies. There is more time for me to run some other errands, catch up with old friends, enjoy my own space etc.

End up this post a few more random things I have yet to post up. First, one of my many favourite shots of Terena.

And, a special delivery of homemade lychee chiffon cake by Rachel herself a few days before I flew to Bangkok. The cake is really light with a soft texture and sweet fragrance of lychees. Think it will goes really well with a high tea session with my girls.

This is not an ad. You can look out for her pop-up sale through Instagram @pleasure_monger or hashtag #twentysevenbyrachel for and other good reviews. Thank you Rachel. Hope to make you Lava cake next time when we have a chance.

Lastly, a beautiful bouquet of flower that my honey gave me during our first anniversary. Love flowers very much.

And again, thank you family, friends and lovely readers for all your kind words and well wishes for me and my girl. I will try to write more this month if possible. Quite a lot of photos I’ve been taking this trip. Back for more.

Love, nira

Tokyo for Food, Part 2

DAY THREE

The day started off around Harajuku and Omotesando areas. I would say I prefer these two areas than Ginza. There is a lot to see and more to buy. Most importantly, for me, lots of fashion boutiques and rare local designer clothes. It’s not possible for to name all the Japanese brands and designers I love. Too many yet never enough.

We began our shopping at Takeshita Dori, a narrow and roughly 400 meter long street. This street is very popular in Japan so it is always very busy and extremely crowded on the weekends. Many local fashion boutiques can be found here and mostly for teenagers.

Spotted one interesting shop where they sell lucky box for minimum 300yen, 500yen and so on. I bought one for my husband to try his luck.

Next was Tokyo Plaza, Omotesando Harajuku. This 7-storey shopping mall is filled with domestic Japanese brands, mostly for ladies.

They have Starbucks and Bills restaurant at the top. Food was good but the waiting time was quite long, 25-30 mins at least. I had their signature dishes; sweetcorn fritters with roast tomato, spinach and bacon (1400 yen)

One thing you shouldn’t miss at all is all the small streets with lots of shop off Omotesando. It’s not crowded at all. There is lots of cute shops and not grand or anything. I like it there very much.

For dinner we went to Ebisu and decided to go for this restaurant (below) after looking through many in that areas. It was a good choice. Food was great and affordable price.

We have seared marinated raw mackerel, grilled chicken thigh kushiyaki style 2p, barbeque squid and my most favourite, seaweed tempura.

Back to hotel right after dinner. My legs were overly tired from walking but it was all worth it.

DAY FOUR

First thing I went to 21_21 design sight to see the exhibition. It’s a small art museum located in the upscale Roppongi Midtown area. Admin fee is 1000yen.

The next time I visit Tokyo, I will check out more Museums.

In the afternoon we went to isetan and takashimaya (Shinjuku) to get some snacks and chocolate for little souvenirs. Then, headed back to hotel to get ready for a special dinner at Kozue, park Hyatt hotel 40th floor.

The view was amazing. If we were lucky enough to have good weather, we could see Fuji mountain right where we were sitting.

Their sashimi was like the best. Crunchy, soft and wonderful texture.

I wouldn’t mind going to Japan again right now. Miss their food very much, and also shopping. Pretty happy with my new purchase during this trip, especially beauty products.

And YES, some of these products below are for another GIVEAWAY, as promised.

including this pretty iphone5 case.

Just share with me one (or more) of your favourite Japanese fashion brands and why you like them. Remember to leave your email address. If you want to win iphone5 case please put *IP5* at the end of your comments. Giveaway ends 14/9/13. Thank you and good luck. x

Love.- nira

Tokyo for Food, Part 1

Despite the fact that Japan had recently been affected by natural disasters, it is still one of the very few places I’d want to be. I love almost everything about Japan, good food, culture, and people. Most of the Japanese are hard-working, polite, and have perfected good manners.

Having fresh and good Japanese cuisine in Japan is one of the things I’ve been looking forward to since I was pregnant. As you know, we asians believe that anything raw is not allowed for pregnant women. I think I didn’t have them for at least 9 months.

My main purpose for this trip is FOOD, and we did it right. Warning: This post will make you hungry.

DAY ONE

It took about 1 hour car ride from Narita airport to our hotel, Conrad Tokyo. I chose this hotel mainly because of good location. It’s very near to Ginza, Tsukiji Fish Market and not so far from all the areas we wish to go.

Everything is good except for their wifi. Overall, I like this hotel a lot.

Our first meal in Tokyo was at Tempura Ten-ichi *highly recommended*, at Ginza area. This restaurant is cozy and simple decorated. Nothing pretentious. They also have a separate room for us to have a dessert after.

I swear they have THE MOST DELICIOUS Tempura I’ve had so far in my life. They spoilt my tastebuds forever.

Click on photo to view full-size.

Tempura here doesn’t taste like other places, it’s very crispy and yet not too thick or too light. Everything is fresh. Prawns and gingko nuts are my favourite. Eel is very sweet too.

I had many of this. Gingko Nuts.

Melon was so tasty and juicy. It melted in my mouth. Oh well, you probably have no ideas how much I love Japanese melon. I can have it everyday.

The bill was around 28000 yen for two. If you are planning to visit Tokyo, you have to go there. I suggest you to make reservation than walk-in.

We walked around Ginza areas after lunch

and saw this bar with an interesting concept. Just nice when the weather was pretty hot.

We had one beer each (550 yen per glass) to cool us down before heading out for a dinner.

Dinner was at Shabu Zen, at Roppongi. Two plates of sirloin and one ribeye. They look almost the same but taste different. We spent around 22000 yen (approx SGD280) for that, with a small bottle of Sake. It’s an affordable price and food was good.

However, honestly speaking, I prefer Shabu Shabu Gen in Singapore. The food there is quite close to perfection even though it’s more expensive.

Back to hotel after that as we took it easy on the first day. x

DAY TWO

Slept around 12am and woke up around 3 for Tsukiji Fish market. We arrived there at 3:30am with a private guide, Mr N.Kamei. This market only permits for 120 pax and many people couldn’t get in so we have to queue up very early at 3:30am. Divided into 2 groups, 60 each. We were in the first group wearing bright yellow vests because we were early. However, there is a waiting time for roughly an hour.

If you can’t stand wet market smell then don’t bother going there. There are many Off-Limits area and heavy traffic. The road is very wet and slippery so sneakers would be the right choice. You have to be extra careful of the traffic.

They allowed us to be inside the Tuna Auction Hall only 20-30 minutes. There are serious business activities inside this market and it’s not so tourist-oriented.

As of January 2013, the highest tuna auction was at $1.6 millions for 222KG Bluefin Tuna fish. That’s is around $7k for 1kg.

In tokyo around 90% of fish in the restaurants are from this market. More than 1400 different veggies. More than 350 different fish. 50% fish are import from china, Taiwan, Spain etc.

After the auction, we visited Tsukijihonganji Temple to feel the early morning atmostphere of Buddhism.

And then looked for sushi places at associated market nearby. This particular restaurant below had very long queue, all the way out until main road. Oh well. I’m sure it must be really good but I was too hungry to wait that long though.

I love the feel of restaurant too, very local.

However, our guide recommended us to try Sushi Zanmai, if we want to skip long waiting times. It’s 24- hour chain restaurant and the owner won the Tuna auction I mentioned earlier. Good, fresh and affordable food.

Click on photo to view full-size.

Fresh, fresh, fresh.

A very simple dish like seaweed soup, was very delicious.

headed to Shibuya for shopping in the afternoon. It was crowded almost everywhere in this area. If you have time, do check out Parco in Shibuya. I love quite a few pieces of womenswear from the local designers such as Lily Brown.

Random shot. I had no idea what he was doing. haha.

Look at the guy in pink T-shirt on the right, his expression…. haha.

Ok, and this will be another highlight of my trip.

Fine dining at Ryugin (Roppongi Minato-Ku) *highly recommended*. We booked table a month plus in advance. It is a very small restaurant and has only about ten plus tables but the food is to die for. Ryugin is a 3Michelin star and ranked #22 in the list of the best restaurants in the world by San Pellegrino. And they really deserved those awards.

Take a look at this interesting menu. Click on photo to view full-size.

The food has very unique taste and well play on flavours and textures.

My favourite was their famous Summer Dish called Swimming Ayu fish grilled over charcoal with bamboo aroma. Smell good, taste great. Crispy and fish head was the best part of all. It was kinda bitter but taste unique.

The bill was around 70000 yen for one full course menu (for 2) and a bottle of champaign. My day was completed with fantastic dinner like that.

I kinda feel hungry right now going through all food photos I took in Japan. Craving Japanese.

ps.- Look out for the next post as there will be a lovely giveaway. x

Love.- nira

With baby love

Sorry for the lack of updates this month. I just came back from Bangkok and I was there to spend time with a family for a week plus.

The best thing about this trip was a great surprise I gave to my family. And Terena was their surprises. None of them (except for my second elder brother) were expecting me to be in Bangkok this month but in June. Furthermore, they did not expect me to bring Terena baby along to see them! You have no ideas how crazy they are over her. I’m no longer my dad’s most favorite girl but it’s okay as long as it’s Terena. haha. I wish I could share with you all their face expression when they came home and saw Terena in a living room. Speechless. Funny. But most importantly, all happy, so am I. If you follow my instagram you should already saw some of my dad pictures with Terena. Then you can easily tell how happy he was. Love is amazing.

We were there during Thailand’s Songkran festival period and many places were closed, except for the shopping malls. Too bad for me as I wanted to do street shopping. But well, there were no traffic jams during that time at least. My family and I didn’t want to get into water flight this year plus Terena is way too small for that. In a few years time maybe.

Anyway, Terena and I did our first photo shoot together this trip. It was one of the most challenging photo shoots I ever had because of her. You think about it. It’s not easy to shoot babies right? However, I think Terena did way better than I thought during that 4 hours with a short nap around 30 minutes. Here are some Behind-the-Scenes shots.

Getting ready with my favorite Thai makeup artist. Thank you for teaching me some great tips on makeup! I want to share that with you ladies soon.

While waiting for my makeup to be done, they started shooting Terena alone first. See how many people were needed by her side to ensure her safety. Because she couldn’t sit up by herself yet. Look at the smiles on their faces as well. I think that’s lovely.

Mummy and baby shots.

And mummy solo shots while Terena baby was taking her peaceful nap.

Some of you might want to know where we did the shoot. It was at Agalico, located at Sukhumvit 51. This is where you enjoy a good cup of tea and yummy cakes with great atmosphere. It’s all white and bright, that’s what I love. They also have a beautiful garden at the back.

Thank you photography team and makeup/hair team for your great work. A special thank you to my family who made it a lot easier to shoot Terena with smiles. And lastly, thank you baby Terena for being a good girl! I love you baby. x

I’m looking forward to see the photos! And I hope all of you had fun like I did.

Love.- nira