Musings on Travel, Fashion & Fun

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Hello Kitty Orchid Garden Café in Singapore

Hello Kitty Orchid Garden CaféReturning to Singapore on an odd-hour flight recently, I was able to skip the horrendously long queue at Hello Kitty Orchid Garden café which opened in May 2016. Located at Changi Airport Terminal 3’s Arrival area, it is the only 24-hour Hello Kitty themed café in the world.Hello Kitty Orchid Garden CaféInspired by Singapore’s garden city landscape as well as the national orchid flower, the cafe is shaped like a glasshouse in colonial black and white, and decorated with orchids. The cafe was full even at an odd-hour, so you can imagine how many feline fans there are in Singapore (my dad included heehee).Hello Kitty Orchid Garden CaféThe café serves all-day breakfast and desserts inspired by Hello Kitty, as well as locally-inspired dishes such as beef rendang and orange sugee cake.Hello Kitty Orchid Garden CaféA bit of trivia – Singapore’s feline mascot is the only Hello Kitty with 2 bows in the world. Talk about being kiasu (Singapore slang for being afriad to lose out), haha.Hello Kitty Orchid Garden CaféOut of all the character-themed cafes that I have visited in Singapore, this cafe’s food presentation seems to be the tamest. At least I don’t see a 3-D Hello Kitty-shaped rice or pink-coloured Kitty bread around.Hello Kitty Orchid Garden CaféTaste-wise, I would say it is one of the better ones cos’ the food arrives fast and hot (maybe cos’ minimal food styling involved). That said, don’t come here expecting Michelin-star standard. Service-wise, it was the best – the staff were friendly and not looking stressed from the crowd.Hello Kitty Orchid Garden CaféI went for The Cowabunga! Wagyu! which is a rendition of Singapore’s beef rendang as it is exclusive to the Singapore cafe. It tastes authentic, although my mum almost fell off her chair when she learnt I paid almost S$30 for a local beef rendang dish.Hello Kitty Orchid Garden CaféIf you are there for photos, the desserts are more Instagram-worthy.Hello Kitty Orchid Garden CaféWhile most people ordered Camping Under the Stars, I opted for the Kitty Goes Bananas Split sundae. Cos’ I go bananas for ban-nanas.Hello Kitty Orchid Garden CaféFor those looking for souvenirs, the cafe has a retail section offering a range of Singapore-exclusive merchandise such as tea blends, plush toys and postcards.Hello Kitty Orchid Garden CaféTea blendsHello Kitty Orchid Garden Café

Hello Kitty Orchard Garden Café
Address: Singapore Changi Airport Terminal 3 (Arrival Meeting Hall Central), Singapore 819663
Opening Hours: 24 hours daily
Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/HelloKittyCafeSingapore



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Pompompurin Café in Singapore

Pompompurin Cafe
My gal pals and I recently braved the crowds to check out Pompompurin Café at Orchard Central – patience is utmost essential, from queuing for a table (thanks Jane & SJ for going to queue in advance) to waiting for your food. Of course no one really complains, since everyone is busy taking photos and Instagramming away.

Some may wonder exactly what the oversized yellow creature is (no, he is not Pikachu’s relative) – Pompompurin is a golden retriever dog character created by Sanrio (also the creator of Hello Kitty) in 1996. He wears a trademark brown beret, loves collecting shoes (that I can identify with), which includes his owner’s father’s leather shoes, his owner’s mother’s sandals, before hiding them. The huge puppy enjoys drinking milk and eating soft food and pudding that his mother makes, which also becomes the inspiration for the café’s menu. He was also voted thrice as the Most Popular Sanrio Character in Strawberry News, a magazine published by Sanrio.

Pompompurin Cafe

The 78-seater café at Orchard Central is the sixth Pompompurin-themed cafe in the world and Southeast Asia’s first. Every Pompompurin cafe in the world takes on a different theme that is in line with the local culture, and this Singapore one carries a “garden city” theme. Be greeted by a huge tree centrepiece of Pompompurin and his friends as you enter. Guests can sit at one of the four-seater “Tomodachi House” featuring Purin’s friends (left in photo) – Bagel the Squirrel, Coconut the Monkey, Mint the Frog and Macaroon the Golden Retriever.

Pompompurin Cafe

Dishes at the cafe are all shaped to look like Pompompurin, and are all very Instagram-worthy. Our food took more than 20 minutes to arrive as time was needed to shape the food.

Pompompurin Cafe

Kawaii neh!

Pompompurin CafeFor the undecided, you can try the pasta dishes as each dish comes with a new Pompompurin souvenir mug which you can take home. The price of the pasta dishes are well, a little more expensive that the others which do not come with the mug. Taste-wise, the Mushroom & Cabonara Spaghetti is okaaay.

Pompompurin Cafe

I went for the Taco Rice in a Cup of Friendship made up of minced meat, tomatoes, avocado, eggs, tacos and rice. Just because Pompompurin looked too cute. I hesitated for 5 minutes before dumping him into the sauce and started eating. Taste-wise, it wasn’t too bad but the rice was way too much. I could only eat about half the amount, so you can definitely order this to share for 2.

Pompompurin CafePuru Puru Pudding Shake

Pompompurin Cafe
Banana and Caramel Pancake which was a bit dry.

Pompompurin Cafe

It was a fun night out with the girls, and we had fun chilling out and taking photos of our food. Not exactly a cheap meal as we shelled out about S$50 each (which is about what a meal at a theme cafe costs). It’s good that they are regularly introducing new menu items, like this Beautiful Day High Tea Set (available from Monday to Friday, 2-5pm, Photo from Pompompurin Cafe Facebook page), to entice re-visits. There is also a small retail corner for fans who would like to bring home some Pompompurin merchandise.

Pompompurin Café
Address: 181 Orchard Road, #04-08, Orchard Central, Singapore 238896
Phone: +65 6509 8672
Opening Hours: 11:00AM to 10:00PM daily
Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/Pompompurincafesg



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Photography – The Oriental Pied Hornbills of Pulau Ubin

Banana Feast - Oriental Pied Hornbill

I journeyed to the island of Pulau Ubin in anticipation of seeing this magnificent bird. There I was, walking all the way with my eyes focused on the trees above, and I walked right in front of this little fella who was feasting on a bunch of bananas at eye-level in front of me.
Fingers trembling, I scrambled to change my telephoto lens to a shorter one, and managed only one decent shot before the shy bird flew off. Wow, what an exhilarating moment to remember! Morale of the story? Don’t walk with your nose up in the air, sometimes the best things in life are just right in front of you ;)

The Oriental Pied Hornbill (Anthracoceros albirostris) is a fascinating bird that is distinguished by its large down-curved yellow beaks and unique hollow structure (casque) above their bills. Common to Southeast Asia, there used to be three Hornbill species in Singapore until they became extinct in the 19th century due to hunting and loss of habitat. Years later in 1994, a pair of Oriental Pied Hornbills were spotted once more in Pulau Ubin, most likely flown in from Malaysia.

To survive in modern Singapore, these hornbills have learnt to live in ‘HDB apartments’ much like the rest of Singaporeans – while they generally nest in natural tree holes in the wild (which are very limited locally), they now live in artificial nest boxes put up by the Singapore Hornbill Project (a research collaboration between Jurong Bird Park, NParks, Nanyang Technological University and independent researchers Marc Cremades and Ng Soon Chye). Their ‘modern apartments’ are pretty hi-tech too – the nest boxes are equipped with sensors and cameras to help researchers study the species. Talk about the origin of reality TV lol.

The hornbill’s breeding habits are pretty intriguing – at the start of the breeding season, females seal themselves into a nest box or tree cavity using mud, vegetation and droppings. They stay there for three months to incubate their eggs and raise the chicks, and are solely reliant on the male partner to bring them food through a narrow slit in the seal. Luckily, hornbills mate for life, so the males are pretty loyal to their responsibility.

It’s heartening to see the efforts put in by a tiny island like Singapore to keep its biodiversity intact amidst rapid urban development. While it is inevitable that urban jungles quickly build up, we should never forget the greatest treasures that will last through time, are nature’s own.


Trompe-l’oeil fun at Trick Eye Museum Singapore

Trickeye Museum Singapore

Trick Eye Museum recently opened its first outlet outside Korea in Singapore at Resorts World Sentosa. The museum houses 80 exhibits grouped into six themed zones including the World of Masterpieces, Safari Kingdom, Stars of Circus, Dreams of Fairytale, Love in Winter, and Adventure Discovery. Popular exhibits from the Korean museums such as Angel’s Wings, Moon Over The Sky and Human Cannonball will be on display here too, and some of them such as Merlion Boat and Horse Racing were specially created for Singapore.

The museum facing the waterfront is located near to the Malaysian Street Food/Aston’s Restaurant, and is the main attraction on The Korean Strip, a mini-Korean themed 100-metre stretch slated to open in the third quarter of 2014. Insadong Korea Town will feature a Korean market-place concept offering a variety of authentic Korean F&B specialties, street food and hand-made Korean accessories and cosmetics.

Trickeye Museum Singapore

Trick Eye Museum’s Origins
Trick Eye Museum first opened in Korea’s Hongdae, Seoul in December 2010, and its popularity has seen it grow into three museums in Seoul, Jeju and Busan in a short span of three years. I guess its popularity is due to its interactive nature, allowing the visitor to interpret and express an exhibit with their own imagination. Trust me, I could spend 3 hours just sitting there, watching the visitors pose with the exhibits. It’s way more entertaining than a movie.

What is Trick Eye?
The name Trick Eye is short for ‘Trick of the eye’, referring to a visual art technique that tricks the eye by creating an optical illusion, and turns two-dimensional images into three-dimensional images that seems to ‘pop out’ and come to life. Also called Trompe l’oeil by the French, its history dates back to ancient Greece and Rome.

Trickeye Museum SingaporeOh my gawd. My eyes are playing tricks on me even before getting into the museum itself. The museum had a half-price opening promotion, hence the horrendous queue.Trickeye Museum Singapore
You must be joking. Look at the queue. It didn’t help the morning sun was happily shining in, making it really hot.Trickeye Museum Singapore
I made use of the queuing time to read the photo-taking tips at the back of my admission ticket.Trickeye Museum SingaporeAfter 3 hours of waiting, we FINALLY got into the museum. We felt a bit lost with the throngs of people, but it wasn’t long before the excitement got to us. Trickeye Museum Singapore
Am I so heavy you need to cry to pull me up? *insulted*Trickeye Museum Singapore
It’s a…big pot belly! Ancient people sure have a different perspective of art.Trickeye Museum Singapore
No pants! Ewwww!Trickeye Museum SingaporeCome on baby, kiss kiss.
Ladies, do come in pants/shorts instead of skirts/dresses since you will need to climb to get onto some of the exhibits. We definitely don’t want to see ‘wardrobe malfunctions’ along the way.Trickeye Museum Singapore
Hi there! Isn’t it a lovely day? :)Trickeye Museum Singapore
Can we share a brolly, Sir?Trickeye Museum SingaporePssst, I have a secret to tell you…Trickeye Museum SingaporeBeing part of a painting was funTrickeye Museum SingaporePeekaboo!
Trickeye Museum Singapore
I dun want smelly tea!Trickeye Museum Singapore
It’s magic!Trickeye Museum Singapore
Some exhibits needed two people to participateTrickeye Museum Singapore
Now I know what it means to be on the chopping board.Trickeye Museum Singapore
Through optical illusion, I can become a giant in a room!Trickeye Museum SingaporeStepping into Safari KingdomTrickeye Museum Singapore
Quick get me outta here!Trickeye Museum Singapore
Being the proud elephant trainerTrickeye Museum SingaporeWeee…I am diving into the sea!Trickeye Museum Singapore
This is how the exhibits looks like, so you need some imagination to strike your pose and the rotate your photo 90 degrees to see the effect.Trickeye Museum Singapore
No I didn’t become Spiderman, this photo was merely rotated 180 degreesTrickeye Museum SingaporeTaking picture is big business. You need 3 people to pose, and another 3 people to take the shot.Trickeye Museum SingaporeGetting out of the fish’s mouth
I’m too full of cholesterol, it’s for your own good to spit me out!Trickeye Museum SingaporeThe museum is quite a fun place to go with a group of friends. You can really bond over silly photos, and get to keep good memories of your outing.Trickeye Museum SingaporeI found a friend, hi there!Trickeye Museum SingaporeMaking it to the Stars of Circus section
One thing I didn’t like about the place is that the exhibits were a bit too closely spaced together, and recommended photo-taking spots tend to overlap. So every step you take, you may get into the photo of another.
Trickeye Museum Singapore
I’m an acrobat!
Trickeye Museum SingaporeTrickeye Museum Singapore
It has to be a 10/10!Trickeye Museum Singapore
People sleep-walk, I simply float.Trickeye Museum SingaporeBalancing act.Trickeye Museum SingaporeActually, you are suppoused to grab the pole and pretend to be hanging over the hot lava. Due to my ‘height disadvantage’, I chose to stand by the side instead.Trickeye Museum SingaporeSome of the visitors were quite fun to watch, heh.Trickeye Museum SingaporeBeing a baby again.
Trickeye Museum Singapore
Trying to act cute. I didn’t need to try too hard lol.Trickeye Museum Singapore
I wonder what it feels like to be sitting on the moon, viewing Earth below. It must be a wonderful feeling.  Trickeye Museum Singapore
Quick kiss me, I may turn into a beautiful Princess!Trickeye Museum SingaporeAngel on Wings.Trickeye Museum Singapore
I’m not sure who this Korean dude is, but it was sure hard trying to get into his embrace. The aunty before me knocked her head while trying to get into the tight space.Trickeye Museum Singapore
Oops, wrong direction :pTrickeye Museum Singapore
Riding on a sleighTrickeye Museum SingaporeWhat a sweet moment :)
Little tip: Do bring a wide-angle lens if you have one as some of the exhibits are rather huge. Otherwise, your smartphone’s Panorama function would come in useful too.Trickeye Museum Singapore
Dun let goooo!Trickeye Museum SingaporeHugging my swanTrickeye Museum SingaporeThis horse-racing exhibit was specially created with Singapore in mind. Hmmm, I wasn’t aware we were that avid gamblers to be remembered by.Trickeye Museum Singapore
I’ve always wanted to ride a Merlion!Trickeye Museum Singapore
Being a ballerinaTrickeye Museum Singapore
I think I am a natural talent lol.Trickeye Museum Singapore
They say art looks better when viewed upside-down!Trickeye Museum Singapore
Enjoying a moment with the fishes before saying goodbye
We spent about 3 hours in the museum. That’s assuming you wanted to take a photo at almost every exhibit and queuing for your turn. On the whole, we had an enjoyable time at the museum. I guess crowd management will get better after the opening craze dies down. The museum is a nice place to spend the day with friends and family as part of an outing at Sentosa. I will be back to check out The Korean Strip when it opens later in 2014.

Trick Eye Museum Singapore
Address: Waterfront @ Resorts World Sentosa, 26 Sentosa Gateway, Singapore 098138
Tel : +65 6795 2370 / 2371
Opening Hours: Monday to Sunday 10:00AM – 9:00PM
Website: http://trickeye.com/singapore/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TrickEyeSingapore
Email: Trickeye_sg@trickeye.com
Admission Prices: Adult $25; Child (4-12) & Senior (> 60) $20
Tickets can be bought online http://www.sistic.com.sg/events/trickeye2014 or on-site
Entry fee to Sentosa applies. $1 via Sentosa Boardwalk (very near the museum; free during weekends & PHs); $4 via Sentosa Express rail; Gantry fee of $2-7 depending on time via car/taxi; $29 via Cable Car.

Trickeye Museum Map











Source: Trickeye Museum website


Tulipmania 2014 – Meeting Miffy & Planting Tulips

Tulip-Planting_20Experience miniature-Keukenhof in Singapore
Tulipmania is back in Singapore at Gardens by the Bay! This year, they have a special guest specially brought in by sponsor KLM (Royal Dutch Airlines) – Miffy! I was only too happy to don my Miffy necklace (which I have not found the perfect occasion to wear) and help out in tulip planting.

Tulip Planting & Miffy @ Tulipmania 2014
That’s Mihkaail from the Gardens explaining the concept behind this year’s display – the tulips will be arranged in the traditional concentric circles with replica windmills and canal houses inspired by Madurodam instead of simple straight rows like last year.

Tulip Planting & Miffy @ Tulipmania 2014
Getting ready to help plant tulips at the back-of-house

Tulip Planting & Miffy @ Tulipmania 2014
Ever wondered how the tulips are flown to Singapore? In boxes like these. The floral variety is written on the box, otherwise all of the tulip bulbs look the same so you wouldn’t know what colour they are until they bloom. 50,000 tulips will be flown in for Tulipmania 2014 (14 April to 4 May 2014).

Tulip Planting & Miffy @ Tulipmania 2014
Getting my hands dirty! *Excited*
This will be my very first gardening experience. Since I have killed almost every living thing I tried to grow (oops), I was extra cautious with these pretty tulip bulbs.

Tulip Planting & Miffy @ Tulipmania 2014
These tulip bulbs were grown right in the planter boxes for easy shipment. It takes 4 to 5  years for a tulip bulb to mature to a size for it to produce the tulips we see. Somehow, the bulbs reminded me of onions, which made me a bit hungry…

Tulip Planting & Miffy @ Tulipmania 2014
In a state of flurry…or WTH-am-I-doing mode
I was glad to know tulips grow towards the sun, meaning no matter which direction you plant them, they will straighten themselves towards the light direction. How clever!

Tulip Planting & Miffy @ Tulipmania 2014
Ta da – all done! :) *Peabrain proud as a peacock*

Tulip Planting & Miffy @ Tulipmania 2014
Here’s the pros at work in the main tulip field

Tulip Planting & Miffy @ Tulipmania 2014
Staff from KLM also came to help out in the planting, looks like they are enjoying themselves!

Tulip Planting & Miffy @ Tulipmania 2014
This gentle giant at work was a joy to watch :) I was amused how he could contort himself in the tiny flower field to do the planting.

Tulip Planting & Miffy @ Tulipmania 2014
Purple hyacinths are planted together with the tulips to resemble the canals of Amsterdam. They look awesome and emit a strong fragrance when they bloom.

Tulip Planting & Miffy @ Tulipmania 2014
Kids at work
Looks like we know which one has the potential to be a supervisor heh

Tulip Planting & Miffy @ Tulipmania 2014
Amidst the planting, we spot someone coming into the Flower Dome – it’s MIFFY! :D Oh so cute so cute, suddenly I am five years old again….

Tulip Planting & Miffy @ Tulipmania 2014
Hello everyone! *waves*

Tulip Planting & Miffy @ Tulipmania 2014

Tulip Planting & Miffy @ Tulipmania 2014
A rabbit can make me so happy

Tulip Planting & Miffy @ Tulipmania 2014
Not forgetting to give her a big, fat kiss

Tulip Planting & Miffy @ Tulipmania 2014
Miffy went out to play at the Far East Organization Children’s Garden too

Where’s your bikini Miffy? Let’s go play water!

Miffy & Tulip PlantingMeanwhile, I eagerly await the tulips to fully bloom…can’t wait to see how the tulips I helped to plant turn out! :)

Tulipmania 2014
14 April to 4 May 2014
Flower Dome, Gardens by the Bay
Website: www.gardensbythebay.com.sg/tulipmania
Miffy Appearances: 20 April (Easter Egg Hunt 10AM, 1PM & 3PM) and 26 April (Tulip Cheer 11AM, 1PM, 2PM & 3PM) See website for details.