Travel Thursdays: B’s Travels!

Hello there!  Thought I’d make a travel index of places I’ve blogged about so far.  I’ve yet to blog about so many other countries that I’ve got the opportunity to explore… 🙂

TRAVEL INDEX

Asia:

Thailand – Hua Hin

Singapore

India – Kerela

Europe:

Barcelona

Bratislava

Brussels

Copenhagen

Dublin

Paris

Vienna

Zurich

UK:

Bicester Village + Oxford

Brighton

Cambridge

London

One of my favourite quotes of all times (I’ve definitely blogged about it before)

“Like all great travellers, I have seen more than I remember, and remember more than I have seen.” – Benjamin Disraeli

Advertisements

Review: Tastecard + Tastecard App

One of my favourite perks about living in London is the affordable prices of eating out.  Eating out often is often seen as a luxury in many countries.  In Japan, Australia and Singapore – all the countries I’ve lived prior to my move here had a common thread.  Eating out in restaurants were expensive.  A night out with friends in an average restaurant would cost about 30 SGD per head.  If we take this value as a dollar-to-dollar value not accounting for difference in currency value, it is astoundingly high!

Eating out in London with the tastecard is very reasonable.  You can walk out a meal paying just 8-10 pounds per head.  The tastecard gives you either a 50% discount or a 2 for 1 deal in thousands of restaurants across UK.  This even works in Dublin, Scotland, Wales.  I’ve used it in all those countries.  It makes travelling across UK more affordable as your daily budget factors less money to food.

Tastecard has an app which makes finding restaurants near your radius simple.  Often we try new restaurants based solely upon the fact that there is a 50% discount.  That proves to be an incentive to try an unknown restaurant.  We have discovered many hidden gems this way.  I’ll be reviewing must-eat restaurants in London that are part of the taste card group!

This is the home screen of the app:

Image

It allows for easy reference to history, recent search and allows you to search.  I’ve recently searched for afternoon teas – as you can see!  I love good afternoon teas!

If you click on the search tab below, the screen would look like this:

Image

This allows users to make specific searches.  It helps me narrow down restaurants to the cuisine that I feel like eating 😉  (A girl needs what she needs!)

I strongly recommend this app to anyone who has tastecard.  And if you do not have tastecard and live in the UK – you should get an annual subscription now.  It’s usually 30 pounds (on offer).  One of the best inventions in UK!

Travel Thursdays: One day in Bratislava (Slovakia)

Before going to Vienna,  I had googled nearby cities/countries that would be worth a visit without wasting excessive time getting there.  Bratislava seemed to stand out due to the fact that it was just an hour bus ride away.  I never imagined going to Slovakia.  Yet the explorer in me screamed YES, WE REALLY SHOULD!

For just 12 Euros per person we got return tickets to Slovakia.  A different country without passing through immigration seemed puzzling.  On the contrary, when we travel from Singapore to Malaysia we pass through a strict immigration process.  This left me a bit dumbfounded.  As a precautionary step, I still took my passport with me.  You never know when you need your passport.

I was excited to see the Old Town of Slovakia. From Tripadvisor, I knew there wasn’t much to do.  That’s precisely why we chose it.  As I pictured quaint lanes of Bratislava would be perfect for our third year anniversary.  It was just so different from our past two (Brussels and Zurich).

The lanes were as quaint and picturesque as I had conjured up in my mind.

Image

We walked around for a bit and thought we must find authentic food to feast away on.  Although saying that, vegetarian food can be tricky while travelling.  There were friendly waiters throughout the lane who ushered people into the restaurants.  One menu caught our eye as it seemed perfectly divine.

Image

Potato Battered Cheese Cutlets. OMG OMG OMG!

I was so excited to try it.  I was even more thrilled when it arrived at our table!  I’m such a foodie tourist, it’s almost funny.  Food can definitely be a highlight of a holiday if its worth photos and commentary!

Here it is:

ImageMy husband was equally taken in by this.  We couldn’t wait to indulge in the cheese.

And there is it:

  slovakianfoodinsidey

 The cheese was oozing out… It was divine.

The food was the highlight of my trip.  I would love to eat these bites of heaven again sometime in life.  🙂  After our lunch we strolled around the whole town.  It’s a small town and it’s suited for pedestrians.  We walked into a church which was not comparable to the churches in Vienna but was still nice.

slovakiachurch

After our stroll around Bratislava Old Town, we walked back to the coach station and hopped back to Vienna.  It was a no-fuss travel.  I highly recommend this to all travellers who like to cover different countries and appreciate different architecture and well, FOOD. 😉

xx

B

Foodie Fridays: Sugar Cookies

My little sis baked for my husband sugar cookies for me to bring back for him. Heart warming gesture. He completely adores this 10-year-old from Singapore.

And so do I.  Baking with a kid just makes the experience so much more fun.  🙂

While baking the night before my flight – I snuck in bites of cookie dough.  I’ve always loved the dough more than the actual cookie.  Although, in this case – this recipe is quite debatable as the thought of both make my mouth water.

So we baked eggless sugar cookies that came out yummy.  She had found a recipe online and we modified it a bit.  Hope you enjoy them 🙂

Warning: Sugar High might be on a High!

Eggless Sugar Cookies

Bakes 30-35 cookies (depending on size) 

Ingredients:

  • 1 stick salted butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 egg = 1/4 cup carnation milk + 1 tsp custard powder
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 4 cups flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 350F.
  2. In a bowl, mix together butter and sugar using a beater.  Beat in egg replacement.
  3. Using a wooden spoon, stir in flour and baking powder.
  4. Refrigerate dough for an hour.
  5. Mix dough up again – as it might be a bit dry.  Make into small balls and flatten.
  6. Bake for 8-10mins on a cookie sheet (I always use cookie sheets – no greasing needed!)  Take cookies out when a bit golden on the top.  Do not over bake as it’s best when its neither not too soft and not too crisp.

Note:  Cookie does not spread, so you can bake many at one go.  With this recipe I noticed  that two trays were suffice.

*Baby Sis wanted to call them Smurf cookies – so she added blue colouring to some of the dough 😉

Image

Travel Thursdays: Singapore

Best to know about a country from a local-cum- tourist, someone like – well me. 🙂 Being Singaporean I can’t help but feel a sense of pride for my country.  Frankly, I don’t know where I belong due to my history, but it’s safe to say I am Singaporean.  Travelling has its perks, but it definitely comes with a price to pay.  An individual’s sense of belonging is lost – and for me, I find my belonging to any country questionable.

I predominantly love the radiant multicultural aura that Singapore has.  Everyone feels welcomed in a country like that.  Although, I’ve always come across negative comments about the country being a concrete jungle.  There is truth to this, as land is scarce and population is growing.  Thus, to counter this problem the government built high rise buildings.  Large sky scrapers surround the country which is a distinctive feature of the country as opposed to countries like Australia and USA which have an abundance of land.

A question of whether the weather plays a role in your holiday is an important one.  Singapore is located on slightly north of the equator which makes it a hot country!  Being an island the level of humidity is pretty high as well. I guess geography lessons paid off somewhat.  Tropical countries make a good holiday though.  You can bring out your summer dresses, flip-flops and sunnies and start your day exploring.

If you love a fast-paced city life, Singapore is a holiday destination that is perfect for you!

Shopping malls are open till very late at night and 24-hour food joints are found in every corner.  Do try ROTI PRATA (flour based bread) which is an Asian Indian speciality.  It’s typically served with fish curry but there are vegetarian options and dessert options too.  I can’t believe I went without mentioning food for an entire paragraph. Maybe my diet is working and my brain is avoiding topics related to food. 🙂

Anyways, I love shopping and window shopping (it’s a cheaper option to be honest though the level of satisfaction is questionable) .

So here are a few tips on shopping in Singapore from a shopping expert (myself of course!)

Malls I recommend (click on the links to see store listing): 

Ion Mall: new mall that has recently opened

Vivocity: huge mall with a cinema as well

Somerset 313 – shops and one of my favourite restaurants : Marche

Do try a Rosti! It’s delicious! After eating it there years ago, I’ve tried making it at home too!

 Cheap shopping of souvenirs and clothes:

-Bugis Street (opposite Bugis Junction Mall) You can reach there by MRT- alight at Bugis station.

Sight-seeing

Sentosa – the luge ride is fun! Stay for the fountain show too

Supertrees (new addition to Singapore.  I went last week at night and was mesmerised by it.  It’s located in Gardens by the bay)

Image

Image

Took a few pictures for my blog!  The beauty encapsulated in the picture is a fraction of the beauty it exudes in real life.  Breathtaking.

Marina Bay Sands – A hotel that is recently made.  It has a gondola rides in it that replicate Venice.  It’s also beautiful to make your way up to Kudeta restaurant which overlooks Singapore’s city.  I’d recommend for you to make a trip up there at night as the night-view is spectacular.

 Mode of transport:

-MRT – the train system is fantastic. It’s fast,convenient and punctual.  The tube system should learn from Singapore! It’s cheap too.

-Taxis: the flag down rate is $3.20 which is very reasonable compared to most countries.

If you are making a trip there and need further advice, feel free to contact me!

Bon voyage.

X

B

Aloha! Mom’s 50th Birthday Pineapple Fried Rice

Just a little hello from Hawaii. Ok not quite. I’m back home in London.

I just got back from Singapore yesterday.  Surprisingly, I missed blogging. It’s weird as I’m still a new member of this blogging community. 🙂

I had a heart-warming trip back home – meeting close family and friends as we celebrated my Mom’s 50th birthday!  We threw a Hawaiian-themed party.  My mom’s favourite holiday destination has always been Hawaii. We have been there 8 times together as a family when we lived in Japan (pretty awesome, huh?) Honestly, as a child exploring Hawaii was nothing less than a fairy tale.  Beautiful beaches, hotels, luas, and culture.  I vividly remember swimming with dolphins in Waikoloa Hilton! I was just 11 years-old and was in exuberance.  Hawaii is a must-see.  Add it to your bucket list if its not there yet 🙂

I love beautiful decor. I love aesthetics. I love all things bright and beautiful! So I enjoyed shopping for decor thoroughly.  I’m thinking of having an e-shop for decor, so will let you guys know if that idea falls through.  As having family business we have access to a whole sale shop – thus the price I buy at, is much much cheaper than a normal retail shop.  So if I do sell to individual people online, whilst I’d be making a marginal profit – the consumer still pays much less than retail price! It’s a win-win!

Some pictures to illustrate our theme:

Image

We attempted to make pineapple fried rice – which turned out pretty exotic.  However, the one that I ate in Hua Hin was still better! I am in desperate need to find the secret ingredient!  I googled a few recipes and some suggest adding curry powder, so I may try that in the future.  My sister created this recipe FYI!

A quick overview of the recipe – nothing was actually measured, so go with the flow!

 Pineapple Fried Rice (Quick and Easy for a Party!)

Ingredients:

  • 1 onion
  • Some veggies (your choice!)
  • Cooked rice
  • Oil
  • A full pineapple
  • Seasonings: salt, pepper, chilli powder, light soya sauce, dark soya sauce , curry powder

Method:

1) Sauté some onions with oil.  Add your choice of finely chopped vegetables

2) Add salt, pepper, soya sauce, chilli powder to the mixture

3) After vegetables are cooked well and flavoured to taste (I’d suggest curry powder as well) add cooked rice and mix well.

4) Cut pineapple in half and scoop out the filling neatly.  Cut pineapple into desired size and throw in the fried rice and mix.

5)  Serve the fried rice in the pineapple half!

Here’s the picture of her result:

Image

I was very impressed with the presentation of this dish!  It really added to the

mise-en-scene of the party for sure.  Let me know how it goes if you try it out!

About Me

bandhnakaur Hi there! I’m Bandhna pronounced as ban-the-na.  It’s a bit tough for most people. but what’s life without a challenge?  It’s a Sanskrit name that translates to worship – just FYI.  My friends call me B – easier on the tongue I’m guessing! Welcome to my bubble, my world.  I love all things that sparkle and try to add a bit of spark to my everyday life. May it add spark to yours too! Multiculturalism – I’m a living example of that! A Singaporean Punjabi, brought up in Kobe Japan.  Moved back to Singapore after 12 years due to a literal earth-shaking experience, “The Great Hanshin Earthquake 1995”.  Which was terrifying I must add, but I guess what doesn’t kill you, only makes you stronger.  Subsequently, I moved to Singapore for 7-8 years.  Then it was time to move again.  This time to a different continent- Australia.  Lived in Sydney and at foundation year topped the cohort in Legal Studies (was given prize money and an award – yaey!)  Subsequently, I enrolled in a double degree (BA + LAW).  However, Law didn’t seem to be right for me and I ended up deferring my law degree.  I completed my BA with a double major in Economics and Sociology and graduated 🙂 The bells of destiny rang once again – it was time to fly to Singapore for my wedding with a Malaysian born Punjabi who resided in London. TIME TO MOVE ONCE AGAIN. So now, for now, I live in London.  I try to make the most out of life and try to explore Europe whenever possible. All this moving has made me appreciate anthropology and the study of different cultures.   I have a natural flair for travelling and I think “B” could very well stand for Butterfly!

This quote describes my passion for travel:

“The world is a book, and those who do not travel read only one page””– St Augustine

In this blog I hope to capture interesting parts of the world through my eyes.  Perception stems from background, and I believe if your background is so diverse your perception will not be limited due to a greater exposure and understanding of the world. My interest lies in Apps, Globe-Trotting, Fashion & Vegetarian Food – all of which I will be writing about.  My passion is wide-spread as you can see 🙂 ONE STRONG PASSION I DO HAVE IS FOOD – I absolutely love food. It’s the love of my life. I’ve been vegetarian for 10 years now and love experimenting with new recipes, so I might make you hungry with some of my eats.  Don’t say I didn’t warn you! My biggest accomplishment so far is summed up in one word –  ENVYLOPE.  An app that was approved at the first submission to Apple with zero prior knowledge on how to make it.  I recently self-learnt U/I Designing for Apps and am so thrilled to say that I am the Co-Founder of Envylope.  My husband (sole-developer) and I launched our own company – Appsolute Pixels where we intend to bring all sorts of Apps.

I like ‘likes’ and I love ‘comments’.  Look forward to hearing from you! xx B