Countdown 2012 at Marina Bay Singapore!

A very Happy New Year to all of you! I hope you had a great 1st day start to 2012, if not, tomorrow’s still a Public Holiday!

Countdown 2012 at Marina Bay Singapore

I never ever get tired of taking pictures of Marina Bay Sands. Absolutely love the red hue on the ArtScience Museum.

I had a great time at the Marina Bay Countdown 2012 yesterday! In my opinion, there’s no better way than to usher in the new year with fireworks, preferably with friends and family! It was packed like hell at the Marina Bay area. I got to City Hall MRT station at about 10.30pm, and I was a little concerned that I might not get to The Float in time if it was too crowded. Luckily things were orderly and there wasn’t a human jam although it was packed. At The Float, all the seats that we walked past were taken and we were quite lost as to where to go because there weren’t any ushers. The seats at the leftmost and rightmost end were empty but seemed to be cordoned off. Just as I was starting to regret having arrived so late, the Partner bumped into his ex-colleague and husband at the VIP area! As usual, the VIP section was as empty as can be so we gladly joined his friends. Really lucky for that or we would have been walking around in circles.

Countdown 2012 - Concert at The Float

The concert was nice with some famous singers/groups like These Kids wear Crowns from Canada, but really, we were there for 1 thing, and one thing only. It came at the stroke of midnight. Here are the pictures, enjoy! All pictures taken with the Canon S95, without a tripod!

Countdown 2012 - Coloured Wishing Spheres amidst Shenton Way backdrop

One of my wishing spheres is out there…

Countdown 2012 - Fireworks Medley (9)

Countdown 2012 - Fireworks Medley (7)

Countdown 2012 - Fireworks Medley (6)

Countdown 2012 - Fireworks Medley (5)

Countdown 2012 - Fireworks Medley (8)

Reflections on the last day of 2011

December 31 is upon us again. For me this day each year has usually brought upon me a heavy heart. I used to wonder why it is that people could look forward and celebrate a new year, while my energies were spent in trying to stop time. Now that I am older and wiser, I have come to accept the following as a plausible explanation. The reason for my depression every late December is because once again I am reminded of the furious pace time passes. It’s easy to say “I’ll do it tomorrow”, but if tomorrow is no longer 2011, reality becomes stark. That in itself isn’t a negative thing, unless it is coupled with the truth that one hasn’t achieved all that was set out to do at the beginning of this year.

Another reason why I hate to have to usher in the new year is that I don’t want December to go! December is a period of celebration, of holiday and festive cheer. I haven’t even had enough of Christmas yet and January wants to poke its nose in? I’m definitely not removing my Christmas tree until the last day! And what about January, a month that I calculate to be 11 months apart from December? January just screams “Holiday’s over. GET BACK TO WORK!” It will be 11 months more before it’s December again! The humanity of it!

That being said, this year has been a pretty significant year for me in several aspects. A number are personal but on the blogging front, I am proud to say that probably a year ago I would not have envisioned my blog to be what it is today. I have loved every minute of it and I’m thankful for all the opportunities given to me in the blogging world. I really am looking forward to more activities for 2012! I have a great many ideas on what to do with my blog, some ideas shared with me by close friends, and I can’t wait to get started on those.

So maybe starting from this December 31, I’ll try to be positive. Hey that’s inspiration for a New Year’s resolution! I shall enjoy and live to the fullest every single day possible such that every December 31 would be a day to celebrate successes, and not a day to lament lost time.

This evening, I shall enjoy a nice dinner hosted by a close friend. Considering that I only met him at a conference one year ago, it’s a miracle that we’ve become such good friends. This is yet another resolution I wish to fulfil, that is to make more friends each year, as well as to reconnect with my old friends. And after dinner, I shall make my way down to the Marina Bay Countdown 2012 at the Marina Bay Floating Platform to usher in 2012 with a bang! There’s going to be a concert, light show and most importantly, FIREWORKS!!!

Have a very very HAPPY NEW YEAR and a FANTASTIC 2012! May all your dreams come true!

NDP 26 June 2011 Fireworks (7) NDP 26 June 2011 Fireworks (5)

Changi City Point

Did you know that a new mall has opened up at the Expo Area? I find it incredible that a mall just sprouted out of no where just like that, without me even noticing the construction works right until about a month before Changi City Point was due to open. One thing I like about Changi City Point is it’s spacious feel. Aside from the layout of the shops that has been designed in a way to minimised on the cluttered feeling, Changi City Point has tried to incorporate greenery within the mall itself!

Changi City Point - Air well garden

I find these “gardens in an air well” so very unique! Creativity at its best! You have no idea how helpful it is to be able to see some sunlight while inside an enclosed building! I’m sure the sales assistants who work here must be glad for these. My friend found the air well useful in aiding his meditation while pondering an issue of utmost importance, the question of why I was late. A few kids came into the air well while he was meditating and commented that the water was deep. Actually it isn’t really, hardly reaches the knee level of an adult! Mollycoddled kids who have never been out in the open?

Changi City Point - Middle Event Area

This area kind of reminds me of Marina Bay Sands Casino area. I haven’t been to the Casino, the Celebrity Restaurants area is circular like this, and from the 2nd floor, you can peer down into the Casino area.

Changi City Point - View of interior of mall from Starbucks

The Starbucks here isn’t very big but if you get a seat here, you can watch the world go by.

Changi City Point - Starbucks Latte

I had a voucher for a free coffee. We got the largest latte available and shared the drink. There was more than enough for both of us to have.

Shops at Changi City Point

Pictures of some of the shops that have opened at Changi City Point. There’s Cold Storage, Kuriya, Ichiban Bento, Bagus Food Court, Manhattan Fish Market amongst other shops. There’s even a floor dedicated to quite a number of Outlet stores. There is a Nike, Addidas, Esprit Outlet store and more that I can’t remember. For a full listing of the shops at Changi City Point, visit Fraser Centrepoint Mall’s website for Changi City Point’s shop directory. I find it interesting that the Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf is directly opposite Starbucks. You would think that competing coffee chains would want to situate themselves apart to minimise on the cannibalization. I also found it interesting that Starbucks was full while Coffee Bean wasn’t. I tend to think that Starbucks serves coffee flavoured milk aka Cafe Latte. Today my colleague even mentioned that if you choose a black coffee, it’s just coffee flavoured water! There can be only one reason why people visit Starbucks as often as they do, which is that it’s just less taxing on the brain to patronise a store that provides familiarity and consistency, even if the products leave much to be desired.

Last minute ideas for Christmas presents

It’s 6 days to Christmas!! That means, only 5 more full days for getting those last minute gifts before you have to chuck something under the Christmas Tree!

In my opinion, the best time to shop for Christmas presents is not during the Christmas season itself! Throughout the year, you should be on the look out for sales and discounts such that you get the best value for yourself as well as for the gift recipient. One year I managed to get nearly 50% discount on everything I bought such that I had excess budget left to buy even more presents! Shopping during off-Christmas season also gives you the opportunity to chance upon “good buys” that you would not have thought of yourself, and most certainly wouldn’t think off nearing Christmas when you’re frazzled and on the verge of tearing your hair out.

Anyway, fret not. Five days is still plenty and here’s my take on good gifts for Christmas exchange that aren’t too expensive.  Hope you find this useful….

  1. Mini chocolate fondue sets $23 from Tangs. Looks more expensive than it costs. One year I bought this for a Christmas gift exchange. The person who received this was very happy as compared to the person who received a box of towels of a similar price.
  2. Harrods Festive Jams (approx $15) from Taka Basement.
  3. Fauchon Black Teas (approx $15 I think) from Taka Basement. Fauchon has one of the best tasting teas (way better than TWG in my opinion and it’s French!) and Christmas is the time to indulge.
  4. Gryphon Teas (approx $14 per box) are also a good choice as compared to the seriously overpriced TWG teas.
  5. IKEA 6 set of festive beverage glasses (approx $16 i think)
  6. Heilala Vanilla Bean Paste (Approx $21) from ThreeSixty Marketplace at ION Orchard.
  7. Cook books ($50 – $100) – I particularly like the range of cook books offered at Prologue bookshop on the 4th floor of ION Orchard. Nigella Lawson, Jamie Oliver and Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall. There are even professional textbooks for chef wannabes. Bring a man (they can be useful sometimes) to carry the the professional cookbooks as they weigh a ton.

Christmas Gift Suggestions 1 Christmas Gift Suggestions 2

Oh dear, it seems all my suggestions are food related products. Oh well, what can I say, I am turned on by food!

Worst Christmas Gifts to buy….

  1. For god’s sake, no more Body Shop  gifts. Do they spell UNCREATIVE or what?! Besides, everyone knows that Body Shop lays out huge discounts directly after Christmas, so why buy early?
  2. CrabTree & Evelyn. Same reason as above.
  3. Lay off toiletries in general. Most ladies have their own favourite tried and tested brands. Your gift most likely joins the basket that keeps all the swiped hotel toiletries.
  4. Photo frames
  5. Chocolates unless they are extremely expensive like Godiva or Valrhona.

Remember the most important point in buying gifts. Buy a gift that looks more expensive than it costs and never ever ever make the mistake of buying a gift that is more expensive than it looks. The reason for this is that when things look more expensive than they cost, it means that this gift is valued higher than the actual cost. When people feel like they’ve received a gift of value, they naturally feel happier. And wouldn’t this be the mantra if you were buying something for yourself to begin with? Expensive but branded items are okay as there’s an inherent value to the branding as well.

Love to hear what you would consider as good gifts for the annual Christmas exchange???