Category Archives: Drinking

Beerfest 2012

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First of all – an apology. I went to Beerfest way back on the 9th June, but then due to my camera having suffered at the hands of a foam finger, requiring a brand new lens, I am only posting this now. Anyway, back to Beerfest.

Beerfest Asia is now in its 4th year, and is held at the Marina Promenade (near the Singapore Flyer), which is also part of the F1 track. It plays host to a huge variety of beers, but also includes ciders, wines and spirits. So there really is something for everyone. But of course, the main event is definitely the beer. There were 350 different beers from around the world on offer! Although we couldn’t possibly sample all of them (I think that would have involved an ambulance if we’d even tried) we certainly had a lot of fun trying out lots of the ones that were on offer.

View of the Singapore Flyer

I was lucky enough to receive a pair of VIP tickets, and we had also won a pair of complimentary tickets at a pub quiz a couple of weeks previous, so it meant a few of us were able to go along and get beer sampling! Being a VIP meant we had our own dedicated bar, free-flow of beer, and a VIP goody bag to take home.

VIP Beerfest cup

We tried a whole host of different beers that were on offer. I opted to try some of the fruit beers that were available, having enjoyed some in London in the past. I found the strawberry beer a bit too sweet for my liking, but there was a grapefruit beer that I loved – not too sweet or too sharp, just nice and refreshing. We also tried a couple of different types of Pilsner and the Kirin beer.

We then settled in to enjoy the Beerfest atmosphere – it was probably one of the most raucous evenings I’ve had in Singapore! Everybody seemed to be in a good mood and we really enjoyed the live music that was going on. It was great to be with friends, drink good beer, and let it rip on the dancefloor!

Check out the hair!

We then had even more hilarity as the competitions started on stage. My friend Mark won the competition for doing the loudest and longest ‘Beerfeeeeeeeeeeeeessssssssssssssssttttttttttttt’ (Go Mark – woohoo!) and Nav managed to win ‘Hairiest Chest’, which I think he clinched by doing some topless Bollywood dancing! I won’t shame them by putting photos up…instead, here’s me in my Fruli hard-hat!

Fruli hard hat

Watch out! Camera killers!

I think without a doubt, our evening at Beerfest was one of the best evenings I’ve had in Singapore. If you get the chance to go next year, I would thoroughly recommend it as it really is a good night out, and I’m sure if you are more of beer connoisseur than I am you will appreciate all the choice on offer.

The Beerfest 2012 gang

Thanks to notatourist and SingTel for the invitation and our VIP passes. 

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Fantastic friends

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Yikes, I am very behind on my blogging! My lovely friend Liz and her boyfriend Andy came to visit nearly a month ago, and I’m only just getting around to blogging about it!

I’ve said before that one of the greatest joys when you are an expat, is having friends and family coming to visit you. Liz is one of those rare and lovely friends who was so excited and supportive about our moving here, that she’d booked her flights out here to visit before we even had ours booked! At the time, I remember sitting at the office during my last few days at work thinking about how far away March was, and how it felt like an eternity was stretching out in front of me before I would see her. But, time does funny things to you when you move abroad and all your usual routines and markers are up in the air. Suddenly, March was here and Liz & Andy were waving at me from the baggage collection belt in Changi Airport!

We did lots of stuff while they were here, including visiting the Zoo, Botanic Gardens, Arab Street, and Chinatown. It was great to show them both some my favourite places in Singapore, and to eat lots of delicious food!

Beautiful white tiger

The lovely Liz & I

Beautiful orchid

Drinks in the Raffles courtyard (with Fi too)

The view from the 70th floor at New Asia Bar

But best of all, was spending time with one of my best friends, catching up on all the news from home and sharing all those silly jokes that come so naturally when you have known someone for years. I love all the friends I have made since I arrived, but I also appreciate how wonderful it is to have people in your life who have shared even more with you. Friends are awesome and I count myself very fortunate to have so many that I truly treasure.

A tourist in Singapore: our first visitors to the Lion City

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Friends and family visiting from home. Can anything bring greater joy to the still-slightly-green expat?!

We had our first visitors to the Lion City at the end of January. Will’s brother (L) and his friend (N) came out to stay with us for 4 nights, before heading off to Australia for a friend’s wedding. One of the great things about Singapore for me, is that so many people have to fly via it when they are going visit Asia, Australia or New Zealand, meaning a lot of people are planning on passing through to see us – hooray!

Having the guys here was just brilliant. It was so lovely to see familiar faces, share stories and jokes, and catch up on all the news from back home. We had a lot of laughs and silliness – thank you both so much for coming to visit!

As the guys were out first set of visitors, we aren’t yet jaded by the ‘tourist/visitor trail’, although no doubt we will get there at some point. We were both so excited about showing them around and showing off our ‘new’ city.

First stop was Chinatown for a bit of food. It was N’s first time in Asia (can you believe that?!) so we wanted to show him all the sights, sounds and smells of Asia, and Chinatown seemed like the best place to do that. We went to one of our usual haunts and devoured satay, Singapore noodles and many beers. Great start to the trip! The guys were pretty jetlagged so we didn’t stay all that late in the end.

The next day, we took the MRT almost the whole way across the island to Jurong Bird Park to get a bit of wildlife action. We were planning on visiting the Night Zoo later, so it seemed like a good plan to get the double entry tickets, that give you a discount.  I actually enjoyed the bird park a lot more than I thought I would. As with the Singapore Zoo, everything is done very sympathetically, so I never felt bad about the birds being in aviaries, as they were so large and well thought out.

Penguins!

Lories - love their colours

Victoria crowned pigeon

One for Miss Jackson - me at the Bird Park!

Cooling off or drying their wings - what do you think?

I loved seeing all the colourful and unusual birds that were there. It was a great treat to see so many and it made me curious to learn more about Asian flora and fauna. I think I need to buy myself a little book on it.

That evening we went to the Night Zoo. As so many people have commented before, you can’t take flash photos at the Night Zoo so unfortunately I don’t have any to share with you lot. But I LOVED it there – such an exciting and magical experience. You arrive in the dark, and the way is lit with flaming torches, and people drumming. It all feels very tribal and you can’t help but feel a flicker of excitement and anticipation as you wait to board your little train thingy that takes you around the park. The train thingy is electric so you just glide along, and then suddenly round a corner and see animals looming out through the gloom.

I know some people just sit on the train and don’t get off an explore. I can’t help but think that’s such a huge mistake. We saw so much more stuff wandering around, and it was a much more interactive experience. We saw flying squirrels, bats (yuk), and our new favourite creature – the Binturong. The Binturong is a funny cat looking creature, that is related to civets (those that make the super expensive coffee). It looks quite cute, until it bares its teeth, but the best fact about it is that its supposed to smell of popcorn. A cat that smells of popcorn = best thing ever. Anyway, GO to the Night Zoo. Its super fun and very exciting!

The next day we explored around the Marina Bay area. We walked along by MBS, over the Helix Bridge and back again. We also took a bum boat along the river. I found the bum boat fun, as I like being on the water, but I think we gave the guys more information about the area and the buildings than the tour guide did. Maybe we just know a lot more about Singapore than we thought, or we just had a particularly rubbish guide, but I wasn’t overly impressed.

Hanging out by MBS

Walkway by MBS

Helix Bridge

The Esplanade, aka the durians

The Merlion

The evening rolled around quickly, and then it was time for bar crawl, Singapore style! We started off in the Long Bar at Raffles Hotel for a Singapore Sling – had to be done really, and it was the first Sling that Will & I have had since arriving. I enjoyed it; the Long Bar was fun, although I can’t imagine staying for more than one drink.

Enjoying our first Singapore Sling!

We then went on to Altitude at One Raffles Place, where we’d planned to show the L & N the brilliant view from the ‘world’s highest alfresco bar’. We’d been before on our look-see visit, and were captivated by the views of the city. It made us really excited about moving here. Unfortunately, when we got upstairs, we were told that the rooftop bar was shut for a function (turned out to be a wedding). They told us they were almost finished, so we ordered drinks, thinking we could finish them upstairs. However, it was a much longer wait than we’d hoped, so we ended up doing the briefest of circuits around the outside bar, before we had to leave for our next booking.

On to Lantern Bar, on top of the Fullerton Bay Hotel. Top marks for brilliant marina views, and gorgeous surroundings. We enjoyed delicious cocktails and lots of yummy snacky bar foods. The setting was just great, and the service was excellent – I have to mention it, as those of you who are Singapore residents know how rare that is!

The pool on top of the Fullerton Bay

Lanterns at Lantern!

After enjoying our drinks at Lantern, we headed back to MBS, and up to Ku De Ta for some more gorgeous views of the Singapore skyline. We didn’t actually go into the club, choosing instead to stand outside and enjoy the breezes and views. I felt strangely peaceful standing up there – I think I finally started to feel like Singapore was my home. There was a DJ playing some good tunes, so we ended up staying there late, drinking lots, and dancing our little socks off!

View of the City from the top of MBS

Sunday saw us doing what Sundays were invented for – working off a hangover by brunching with friends, and generally being lazy. Perfect. On Monday, L had to take an early flight on to Australia, but N was here until the evening so we decided to do an open top bus tour. Funniest thing ever. We learnt absolutely nothing about the history of Singapore or what certain landmarks were, but we did learn the about the best places to get chicken rice, buy Crocs, go the cinema, and exactly what roads bordered the Botanical Gardens. All this told to us by a lady with a voice that sounded like she did another job entirely in the evenings…Hilarious. I’d recommend it if you want a good laugh, not if you want to find out about Singapore! We finished up the day with a lovely steak in Club Street, before waving N off into a taxi to the airport.

Thanks guys for coming out and making me appreciate my new home town so much more. Being a tourist in Singapore really made me realise how much this place has to offer. Good times.

A little January update

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Sorry for the radio silence folks – we have been super busy since we got back from our Bali holiday.

First of all, we celebrated seeing in 2012 with some of our lovely new friends in Singapore. Pia threw a super fun ‘wigs & hats’ party over at her condo (which is walking distance from ours). So complete with dragon hat (Will) and crown (me), we saw 2012 in with much food, drink, laughter and silly dancing.

Does pink hair suit me?! 

We then had a lovely bank holiday spent with the same friends we were partying with. What started as a brunch at Epicurious at Robertson Quay, turned into a bit of a bar crawl and saw us sipping cocktails and eating cake at the PS Cafe on Ann Siang Hill, before moving on to the rooftop bar at Ying Yang. When we arrived they were playing atrocious club music at a stupidly early hour, so we got them to put on some reggae, and relaxed with some cold drinks and a cooling breeze. Great way to spend a bank holiday – thanks guys!

I also went with Laura back to the Asian Civilisations Museum, which continues to fascinate me. It’s such a great place to explore – I love reading all about the different areas and looking at the exhibits. In particular, we marvelled at some of the relics of language and how modern people had deciphered what was written, when no-one alive could speak the language. We had a great morning pottering around all the exhibits, before a yummy Italian lunch on Boat Quay, and a very long natter catching up on everything that we’d been up to and putting the world to rights!

Will & I finally went to Little India and had a delicious curry courtesy of Jaggis – brilliant Punjabi food in a no frills setting, exactly what we needed after the last few days of excess! I also met a fellow Claire, who is behind the gorgeous blog and company Fellow Fellow (beautiful handmade paper gorgeousness). We had a lovely evening with a cold glass of wine and surprisingly delicious calamari and truffle fries, at a bar on One Fullerton. This was followed up by eating ice cream by the Merlion and watching the laser show from Marina Bay Sands (still don’t understand the laser show, but its pretty!). Great evening, and great to meet another lovely person who calls this tiny island home.

On Friday, we went to the cinema to see The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. I loved the books  (see my review here) but hadn’t seen any of the Swedish film adaptations. This was actually quite a good version, despite a bit of artistic licence with the plot somewhat! I would say that the rape scene and subsequent revenge scene is rather disturbing and not for the faint hearted! However, Rooney Mara was brilliant as Lisbeth Salander, and I did find it amusing how Daniel Craig has obviously made it enough to not have to put on a faux-Swedish accent!

Then on Saturday we hosted a birthday party for Nav at our condo – our first time BBQing in Singapore. Except although they are called ‘BBQ pits’, they are actually more of a hot plate – bit of a shock when we opened it up, but we managed to cook up a storm. Great fun, and great to find our ‘host & hostess’ mojo here in Singapore, as we were both missing having parties and BBQs like we used to in London. So we made some new friends, swam in the swimming pool after too much food, used every glass in our apartment when we had to move upstairs, and danced to Bollywood videos on You Tube. Awesome.

This is a bit of a sign of things to come as we have a busy January ahead:

  • a good friend of ours is coming over on his ‘look-see’ so we will be showing him the sights and sounds
  • we are going to Vietnam for Chinese New Year – flying to Ho Chi Minh, exploring the city, and then travelling down to the Mekong Delta. Can’t wait, as its my first time visiting Vietnam
  • hosting Will’s brother and a few of his friends as they stay for a few days, en route to a wedding in Australia

I am relishing the idea of being tour guide, as it’ll be nice to feel like a Singapore expert, rather than the ‘green’ newbie! Plus it will be great to see everyone and catch-up properly with all the news from home. I also think showing people around will make me appreciate Singapore a little bit more, as it’s always good to see your city through the eyes of someone else.

I am also on the job hunt, so if anyone knows of anyone who might like to give a great project manager/researcher/writer/events organiser/PA a job, then please get in touch! 🙂