Friday, 30 June 2017

Day Trip to Johor Bahru!

I know, I promised a series of Hokkaido travelogue but it's tough job sorting out thousands of photographs! I NEED MORE TIME!
So in the meanwhile, let's make do with JB, okay?

The BF just suddenly decided that we should do a day trip to JB during Hari Raya PH and so we roped in Sa and DS for a eat-(grocery)shop-massage JB trip! Planned for a little jam on woodlands causeway and hence set off from home at about 630am, and reached our 1st stop of the day, Restoran Ah Piaw, unexpectedly early at about 8am for breakfast. 

Running 24 hours daily, Ah Piaw seems to be quite popular, especially amongst fellow Singaporeans, but for unknown reasons. Perhaps for the convenience of being open 24 hours and just about 8 minutes drive away from the checkpoint? I don't know. 
Supposedly being famous for their wanton mee, it was quickly shot down by Sa and DS for being just really normal. The abalone kway tiao does a little better with a lot more ingredients and a richer soup base as compared to some other abalone noodle places, but also at a higher price tag of RM $12 for a small bowl (with 3 slices of abalone, prawn, fishballs, wantons, fish maw and 1 small scallop)

Abalone Kway Tiao (big)

Those "abalone" slices doesn't taste real, either. That's the biggest problem. 

Anyway, after breakfast, we headed over to a friend's place and lepark (chill) for a while and the BF and I gymmed for about an hour to earn all the junk we're going to eat for the day. 

And after washing up (after gym), we set off for Sutera Mall for some egglet waffles, which their standard dropped, I supposed. They tasted more like the normal bakery waffles but in bubble shapes than the crisp HK egglet waffles I've been craving for. MEHH! We also picked up half a dozen of the Hokkaido Baked Cheese Tart before letting ourselves loose at Aeon Big Hypermart and burning like almost half of our day's money on some basic necessities and tons of tidbits!

After that, it was time to get some lunch! And we (actually, I) decided to check out this pretty cool looking cafe called Coffee Signature, which is pretty much "built" by stacking two containers on top of each other. 


 Cookie Cup with Chocolate Milk

Sweet Rain (Coffee)

Mini Sunshine

Fungi & Chicken Pasta 
It wasn't truly named so, but that's the most direct dish name I can give it. 

Grilled Calamari

The pricing of the food are roughly 1:1 to local pricing (meaning it's actually 1/3 of our cafe prices after currency conversion), which makes it really affordable, but I really have to say that the calamari was a huge disappointment for the RM $28.  I was expecting it to be those monstrous sized squid that the Japanese uses to make Ika Meshi (rice stuffed squid) but what came to our table was just normal sized, sliced squid cooked zichar style, which probably will just cost us RM $16 at any other zichar stalls.
Sweet Rain was definitely a creative way to add the sugar to your coffee (or tea), but also an extremely messy way to do it. Most of the cotton candy will not rain directly into your coffee but everywhere else on the table. Your coffee cup will also end up being extremely sticky with all the melted cotton candy residues that dripped onto it. And, the coffee wasn't that fantastic either. It's like McDonald's breakfast style of coffee.

The pasta was pretty good and so was mini sunshine (it's hard to mess up ham/bacon with eggs) but I think they probably forgot to top mine with the melted cheese. There was a wrong order sent to our table when we're done and it was full of cheese drizzle!
Would have tasted even better, I'm sure. *bitter*

Anyway, all these came up to a total of about RM $160, which was barely SGD $15 per pax!

Coffee Signature is located at 52, Jalan Serampang, Taman Tebrau Jaya, 80400 JB

After lunch, we planned to head straight to Holiday Plaza for some foot massage/and manicure, but the BF wanted to get a car wash and just so that our eagle-eyed Sa spotted one by the roadside while we drove past.
And so to spend an extra hour's wait (for the car wash), we headed to another cafe 2 houses away from the car wash shop.
Yeah, we just ate lunch and we are going to eat moreeee... So glad I've gymmed earlier in the morning.


The cafe's called Passion Food Cafe & Bakery, with a few parking spaces available (along the road). If not, it may be a good idea to leave your car over at the car wash for "parking". The car wash's signboard was stated RM $30 for sedan (car wash), and BF was charged about $80 or $85 for car wash with interior vacuuming and car waxing. 


And the cafe was TONS of mad cute character french macarons!

Taste wise, they were just okay. I had to pluck out all the fondant before eating them and it seems like they're all in one (sugary-chocolate) flavour only. 
It's either I've really started not liking sugar that much, or... they're really just very mediocre tasting macarons. 
But of course, full marks for the cute factor! 

And the BF specially requested for the "latte art" so that I can take a nice picture. HEH!
Coffee here was much, much better than what I had at Coffee Signature, I must say. 

And my virgin try at Escargots!
But it's a shame that it wasn't a very well done one. All the garlic and herbs flavour didn't really get sufficient time to seep into the flesh. So while the texture was still alright, they were pretty bland. The toasted bread tasted much better.

Passion Food Cafe & Bakery is located at  71, Jalan Serampang, Taman Pelangi, 80400 JB

And so with nearly bursting stomachs, we left the cafe to pick up the car (which was so clean and shiny we almost couldn't recognise it) and left for Holiday Plaza!

After looking through a couple of nail salons, I stumbled upon two sets of really cute Mickey and Minnie nail art designs on the signboard outside Unique Nail Palace and was quoted just RM $75 for either set of the nail art and RM $85 to mix both sets, which is really cheap!

And so, this set of gelish nail art set cost me only RM $150, which is only $50 SGD, can you believe it!
Every single detail on my nail (including the Mickey and Minnie heads) are HAND DRAWN. The manicurist was also very meticulous and even took it upon herself to redo Mickey's eyes because she herself found that she has drawn them a little too small on her 1st try. Big, BIG thumbs up for her awesome service!
There were only 3 manicurists around when I was there, and they had to reject some walk in customers, so it's better to make an appointment with them before dropping by.

Unique Nail Palace is located at F56, Holiday Plaza, Jalan Dato Sulaiman, Taman Century, 80250, JB. You may whatsapp them at +6016 768 9798 or call them at 07-3310201 for appointments. 

As the nail was estimated to take me about 2 hours, the rest decided to go for their foot and back massage at one of the massage parlour located at B1 (or was that L1). Not very sure of the shop name, but the BF was unlucky enough to get a very bad masseur with outright BAD massage skills. She has not only ate some of his time, but also just half-heartedly elbow-rubbed his back (for his back massage) and massaged his calves (and calves ONLY) for his 25 minutes of foot massage. Like, WHAT? Sa and DS were more lucky to get decent masseurs though, but their experiences were still only "just okay".
So, a big yes for nails, but no for massage.

The initial plan was to have Bak Kut Teh at Shoon Huat for dinner, but they were sold out for the night when we got there at 8 plus (they're supposed to be closing at 9pm). So we headed down a few shops away and decided to try out Restoran Teck Sing.

-credits to forumspp.vr-zone.net-

The restaurant has a find-your-own-table kind of free seating system, so just head right in and grab the nearest empty table when you get there. A quick check on all the occupied tables told us that their paper-baked chicken and fishhead curry are the must-try dishes.

And so try them we shall!

Paper Baked Chicken

Fish Head Curry

Stir Fry Di Huang Miao (Emperor Sprout)

Hot Plate Tofu

DS and Sa liked the chicken best, while I prefer to give the Fish Head Curry number 1. And the BF chose....
TOFU. =.="
The chicken had a pretty nice herbal taste and was relatively tender and juicy, but as i'm a spicy>>>herbal person, I naturally chose the curry as the best dish of the night. 
Prices were really reasonable and affordable, as the meal only set us back (in total, drinks included) by about RM $109. 

Restoran Teck Sing is located at 3, Jalan Sutera 1, Taman Sentosa, 80150 JB.

Till then,
Mia Foo

Wednesday, 28 June 2017

Here's why I do my online shopping with ShopBack!

Well, have you heard of ShopBack


The annual Great Singapore Sale is here again and if you're still unsure of what this ShopBack is about, it's time you check it out (HERE) because you're missing out big time! 

Basically, ShopBack is your one-stop site to find the latest promotions and discount codes from over 200 renowned brands in our local online shopping scene, including Taobao, Lazada, Groupon and etc. And with the GSS season on-going right now, you can also find valuable info on the Great Singapore Sale at ShopBack to bring your GSS shopping spree online! Yes, that's right! You can enjoy GSS deals now even when doing online shopping! 

I first found ShopBack a few years back when I first got hooked on iherb shopping (all the affordable raw honey and supplements, yeah!) and was completely sold when I found tons of other shopping sites linked up for me to earn cashback as I shop! Just sign up for a free account, click through to any store via shopback, make your purchase as usual, earn cashback back into your shopback account, and get payouts on the redeemable cashback directly into our bank account. 
It's really this simple!

Other than iherb & GNC for the health & fitness junkies, all the beauty junkies can also get their fair share of the pie and shop to their hearts' content with up to 5% cashback at Sephora and get up to 9% cashback along with special discounts on beauty treatments with Fave promo codes. And for those globetrotters, you can get Expedia discount code if you travel, up to 6% cashback on your hotel bookings (booking.comhotels.comzuji etc) and up to 1% cashback when you book your air tickets (ScootSingapore AirlinesAirasia, etc).

And just to show that all these cashbacks are real, here's a snapshot of my personal account.


So, what are you still waiting for? Head over to ShopBack and sign up for your free account and start earning while you shop!

Till then,
Mia Foo


Wednesday, 21 June 2017

Gogoprint: Yay, I got my namecards!

Well, I've been blogging for quite a while and has attended a couple of bloggers' events along the way, and there will always be this awkward situation whereby the PR / Business Owners ask, "So can I get your namecard?"

And I always had to lie, "Oh, sorry I ran out of it!"

But now I need to lie no more, all thanks to gogoprint.sg!

Gogoprint.sg, a leading online printing marketing and technology firm, has the distinct vision to make ordering printing products easy and cost-effective, thereby helping small- and medium-sized businesses to market their businesses and to grow. Using high-quality press printing and a robust yet simple and easy-to-use online ordering system, Gogoprint.sg provides high-end printing services and reliable color printing at discount printing costs.-credits to gogoprint.sg-
Other than providing high quality prints at low and transparent prices, gogoprint.sg also provide instant quotation along with a convenient and fuss-free ordering process and free delivery across Singapore.
Other than business cards, gogoprint.sg also provide printing services for products like loyalty cards, greeting cards, gift vouchers, wedding cards, postcards, table tents, presentation folders and etc.
The best part is, their business card printing service (at 100 pieces for as low as $10.38) now comes with FREE designing service too!

Which (the free designing service) I obviously didn't opt for. HAHAHA!

gogoprint.sg offers a more customizable printing experience with just 4 easy steps:
1. Configure products & Check Price Online
2. Make payment
3. Upload your artwork (if required)
4. Receive the products

You can get to choose the formats, type of papers, and even down to how fast you need the products delivered! 


For more information, visit gogoprint.sg website HERE , 
or contact them via phone or email.
+65 31590484
info@gogoprint.sg

Till then,
Mia Foo

Monday, 12 June 2017

Lovely Flowers from A Better Florist [Sponsored]

A Better Florist in Singapore believes that sending and receiving flowers should be easy, affordable and beautiful. Forget those last minute dashes to the flower store or disappointing delivery services. Here at the Best Florist in Singapore, we offer express flower delivery. There is a story behind every bouquet we send out, whether it’s for a birthday, an anniversary, a wedding or even just something for yourself.
Every reason is the perfect reason to send out flowers.
At A Better Florist, we source directly from flower farms in the Cameron Highlands to offer you the freshest product imaginable at an affordable price. Our intuitive website means that in just a few clicks you can send an arrangement of fresh flowers to anyone, anywhere in Singapore on the same day.
Our free same-day delivery service is available between 9 am to 6 pm. Whether you’re in BedokHolland VillageTampinesThomson RoadAng Mo KioCBDToa PayohJurongTiong BahruNovenaOrchard or Sentosa, we’ve got your back. No matter where you in Singapore, we can get to you.
If you need any last minute deliveries, we’ve got a 90-minute express flower delivery guarantee islandwide in Singapore. So don’t worry if you suddenly remembered a special occasion like Mother’s Day, Valentine’s Day, Father’s Day, Coworker Appreciation Day or Treat Yourself Day because we’ve got you covered. All you have to do is order your flowers online and we’ll get it to you!
-excerpt from www.abetterflorist.com-
As you know, I recently visited Hokkaido, mainly for shibazakura and tulip festival, but missed the tulip festival by (perhaps) a day or two! :( 
Imagine my excitement when I found out that A Better Florist is going to send me a lovely bouquet of fresh tulips!

Isn't it lovely?

From wedding bouquets, to christmas hampers, office decor, and even opening stands or even condolence wreaths, A Better Florist got you covered with their customisable flowers for all sorts of occasions and holidays. 
You really just need to ask for it. 



All their bouquets also comes with a sachet of flower food and flower care instructions, to ensure that your blooms remains gorgeous for as long as possible. 
(I have horrible flower arrangement skills, so I shall not share how my lovely tulips looked like in the vase.)


A Better Florist is also now hosting an awesome lucky draw for all you lucky ones who got bloomed
Just snap a photo of your flowers and tag @abetterflorist on IG/FB and stand a chance to win a trip for 4 to New Zealand!

For more information, visit A Better Florist HERE

Till then,
Mia Foo

Friday, 9 June 2017

Mia's Travelogue: Planning Tips for Hokkaido in 11 days

Hello, lovely readers!
If you're still not following me on my IG (why aren't you?), then you probably didn't know that I've just returned from an 11-days trip to Hokkaido! It was so so so exciting, starting right from the planning stage. I've been wanting to visit Hokkaido for YEARS, and the plans always fell through because I couldn't find a travel buddy who can commit to the trip.
But finally, it happened!

So before I move on to my day-by-day breakdown of trip, let's start with the rough itinerary of the 11 days I've spent in Hokkaido.

I chose to fly via Thai Airways, transiting in Bangkok (about 1.5 hrs flight to Bangkok and then 7 hours to Sapporo) and landing in Shin-Chitose Airport, whereby I picked up my rental car from Budget, a Toyota Passo, which the BF really quite enjoyed driving.
I've done quite an extensive search and almost got "cheated" by ToCoo! with their "hidden cost" but thankfully realised that Budget offers the most competitive price for the days I'm looking to rent a car.
If you're planning to travel through the entire Hokkaido, going for car rental and paired with the Hokkaido Expressway Pass (HEP) might be more cost saving (if you're travelling in minimal of 2 pax) as compared to purchasing the JR pass and relying heavily on Hokkaido's public transport.

If you've already decided to go with car rental but still undecided if HEP is for you, here are a few links that may be helpful for you to make a decision.

HEP Info: You may find the cost of HEP for 2 days to 14 days, list of participating car rental companies, an example of toll fees from Shin-Chitose Airport to a few common tourists' destinations, and a link to an extensive (but very complicated) Standard Expressway Toll Chart.

Toll Calculator: You can use this calculator system to find out exactly how much toll fees you'll be charged by indicating your initial location, final destination, and any additional ICs (areas) you may pass by enroute. The site is only available in Japanese though, but you may find a pretty useful manual HERE.

Do note that HEP is NOT the same as ETC. Most car rental sites will tell you that their car comes with ETC, but that simply means their car is installed with the device unit for you to insert the ETC card (like our local cashcard). And as for the difference between ETC and HEP, ETC is pay per usage, while HEP is a flat rate with unlimited usage.

Some advice you may find on other travel blogs or even on travel forums will tell you that you can only get HEP when your car pick up and return location is the same. But that's not true, as not all car rental companies has this rule. Budget, for example, does not need you to have the same pick up and return location in order to purchase the HEP. ;)

For me, getting the HEP is an absolute MUST because of my itinerary, which brings me to areas like (and not limited to) Hakodate, Lake Toya, Sapporo, and Asahikawa.
For example, the toll fee for driving from Shin-Chitose Airport to Hakodate will set you back by 5430 Yen (one way) and the drive back to Shin-Chitose Airport from Asahikawa will cost me another 4730 Yen. Driving from Hakodate to Lake Toya needs another 3330 Yen, and them from Lake Toya to Sapporo needs another 3590 Yen and then from Sapporo to Asahikawa will need yet  another 3490 Yen.
And an 11 days HEP will only set me back by 9800 Yen. I didn't even need to factor in the possible toll charges for the drives to Biei, Furano, Takinoue and Yubetsu from Asahikawa.

However, after more in-depth planning and consideration, I decided to not keep the car over the 4 days of my stay in Sapporo due to easy accessibility of most attractions by public transport and much higher parking fees. Eg. 30 minutes parking in Hakodate will cost you about 200 yen, but 30 minutes parking in Sapporo (during "peak hours") will cost you 400 yen!

And now, here's my 11 days itinerary, which I will slowly touch on a day-by-day basis in the subsequent Hokkaido travelogue posts to come.

Day 0: Singapore Changi Airport to Sapporo Shin-Chitose Airport

Day 1: Arrival at Shin-Chitose Airport, pit stop for lunch at Noboribetsu, Arrival at Hakodate

Day 2: Hakodate

Day 3: Lake Toya, Arrival at Sapporo by evening

Day 4 to 7: Sapporo & Otaru on public transportation

Day 8: Asahikawa

Day 9: Takinoue, Yubetsu (day trip), return to Asahikawa by night

Day 10: Biei, Furano (day trip), return to Asahikawa by night

Day 11: Shin-Chitose Airport to Singapore Changi Airport

And now, for some snippets of what's to come in all my subsequent Hokkaido Travelogue series.






So be sure to stick around and also keep a lookout for my post updates on my IG!

Read up on my day-to-day recounts:
Day 1 (Noboribetsu-Hakodate) HERE
Day 2 (Hakodate & Onuma Park) HERE
Day 3 (Lake Toya & Sapporo) HERE
Day 4 & 5 (Sapporo) HERE & HERE
Day 6 (Otaru) HERE
Day 7 (Sapporo) HERE
Day 8 (Asahikawa) HERE
Day 9 (Takinoue & Yubetsu) HERE
Day 10 (Biei & Furano) HERE

Till then,
Mia Foo

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