Sunday, 20 January 2019

Bing Liang Bakery at cnygoodies.sg [Sponsored]

Hey there, my lovely readers! With CNY around the corner, who has already started on their CNY feasting? Well, ME! It's going to be the year of the pig, so why not.... right? 
For those still in search of some yummilicious, homemade-style CNY goodies, you should be glad to know that Bing Liang Bakery has got your backs! 
In 1998, the Ang family of Muar, Johor, perfected their secret recipe ranging from a series of cultural tarts and cakes. Since then, the Ang family of Muar, Johor, would face the busiest of days during Chinese New Year, Hari Raya, Mid-Autumn Festival, and Christmas.
During Chinese New Year every year, Malaysians would travel all the way down from as far as Penang to purchase bulk loads of their delicious CNY Goodies to share with friends and relatives back home. By the early 2000’s they had to close orders as early as 2 months before the Lunar New Year. Singaporeans who visited Bing Liang often returned home empty handed. Bing Liang was a very traditional bakery and they were satisfied with their orders. 
In 2018, a collaboration was made with a close Singaporean collaborator – Masons Home Decor. Masons Home Decor is an online furniture company who were very experienced with seasonal trade and business. 
Through this collaboration, operations were enhanced and this resulted in Bing Liang Bakery being able to accommodate to much greater capacity without compromising the famed home made and handmade goodness of the food product. 
Today, Bing Liang operates in Singapore through a website – cnygoodies.sg, catering to thousands of Singaporeans who are keen to try the unique Bing Liang taste.
Our mission is to ensure that families are able to have the opportunity to try our CNY goodies and also have them delivered to them conveniently and reliably. We are always happy to hear good feedback and play a small role in creating happiness in all important festive seasons of the year.
-credits to cnygoodies.sg-

With an impressive selection of delicious CNY goodies ranging from the usual cookies to crackers, kueh lapis, pineapple tarts and the ever-trending salted egg yolk flavour, you will be totally spoilt for choices at cnygoodies.sg

You know, just for the most basic CNY goodies - Pineapple tarts, Bing Liang Bakery has 3 different variations for you to choose from: 
Nonya Pineapple Tarts (open-faced): $18.90
Pineapple Tart Balls (enclosed type): $18.90
Cheese Pineapple Tarts (cheese version of the enclosed type): $19.90 

And the cheese ones look so pretty, like little gold nuggets! <3

The addition of cheese to the pineapple tarts gives it a creamier and richer taste and I like how the fragrant, buttery crust is just at the right point of being crumbly, but not overly crumbly so you can still comfortably bite into the tart (it's actually pretty big to be considered as one-bite sized) without fearing that it may crumble and fall into pieces all over the place. 
The filling is also more towards the tangy side, and has very obvious pineapple fruit fibres, which I LOVE!

For those who prefer the open-faced type (to get more filling to crust ratio so it is less jerlak, I reckon), Bing Liang's nonya ones are equally yummy! However, I do feel that the pineapple jam filling for the nonya types are a little more moist, softer and less fibrous, hence they may go slightly out of shape after being stacked up in the tub. 
I had to reshape mine before snapping the shot. 


For those loving a sweet-and-savoury kind of CNY treat, this Honey Chicken Floss Roll is the one for you! The crisp and flaky cookie has a rather distinctive sweet taste of goma (black sesame) and the insides of the cookie roll stuffed with yummy chicken floss. I'm generally neither a huge fan of goma, nor floss.... but the satisfying crunch of this snack can be rather addictive.

Almond Nut Cookie (Currently Unavailable... T.T)

I'm rather disappointed to find this yummy almond nut cookie taken off their shop list (probably OOS, and hopefully they can restock it?). Definitely one of the more "well-baked" almond nut cookie out in the market, which is right up my alley. The usual almond nut cookie tends to have a more lightly-baked, milky taste... which is yummy as well, but I will much prefer the "roasted-nut" fragrance of a more well-baked cookie. There's bits of chopped almond nuts in the cookies too! YUMS!


Out of all the CNY nut cookies, cashew has always been my least favourite as I'll always prefer the flavour of other nuts (peanut included, although I know it's not exactly a nut). But Bing Liang Bakery has made theirs so cute, I won't mind popping a few more. HAHA! 


These cute little bite-sized balls are so dangerous because once you pop, you can't stop! 
Totally addicted to the melt-in-your-mouth texture, paired with the slightly sweet taste and peanut-y fragrance of these tiny cookie balls. 


I'm a huge fan of cornflake cookies, but these are a little too eggy for my liking. I prefer mine extremely buttery, slightly milky and crumbly. The flavour of these are like egg biscuit (ji dan bing) but choked full of crushed cornflakes and with a crumbly texture. Definitely a leveled-up egg biscuit cookie if you're a fan of egg biscuits in the first place. 

Kuih Bangkit ($14.90) [currently OOS]

If I can only choose to eat one CNY snack for the festive season, I will definitely choose Kuih Bangkit without a doubt. Love the melt-in-your-mouth texture paired with the subtle sweetness and light coconut fragrance so much! And also because they're typically less caloric-dense than other CNY goodies too. HAHA!
If you prefer something that's heavier on the tastebuds, Bing Liang Bakery has a Gula Melaka version ($19.90, currently also OOS) of these yummy little cookies as well.


It seems like these peanut butter filled kuih kapit (love letters) are trending this year, as literally every shop is selling them. Indeed, the addition of peanut butter filling added a slightly savoury touch to the otherwise pretty one-dimensional sweetness of the kuih kapit. I also love how they packed the kuih kapit in separators so that each and every piece stays beautifully intact. 
PERFECT CHOICE FOR GIFTS, PEOPLE! 


Bing Liang Bakery also offers free testing of their goodies, and the tasting (and self-collection) venue is located at:

39A Jalan Pemimpin #03-01C
Singapore 577183(5 min walk from Marymount MRT, circle line)
Opening Hours:
Daily, 2pm - 7pm.

For more information, visit their website HERE
Quote MIA20 at checkout to enjoy 20% discount off all your purchases!

Till then,
Mia Foo

Sunday, 6 January 2019

Poon Confectionary from CNY Goodies Singapore [Sponsored]

2018 flew by in a blur and shortly after welcoming 2019, the streets (and malls) are quick to change into their firecracker red and cute piggie decorations to prepare for the arrival of the Oink Oink year. 
When it comes to Chinese New Year, the very first thing that pops into my mind is definitely all the yummy CNY goodies! What's a better reason to hop off the #eatclean ship and indulge in ALL of the fatty-yet-so-delish snacks and goodies, right? 

But one major form of deterrence for my CNY shopping, and I'm sure it's the same for many of you out there as well, is the crazy crowd! Nobody likes to be squished like a can of sardine, (sweaty) shoulder-to-shoulder with a bunch of strangers under the scorching hot sun at an unforgiving temperature of 33 to 34 degree Celsius, right? 

So what if I tell you, you can get all the yummy CNY goodies you fancy at the comfort of your home?

Striving to be freshly baked, nutritious and wholesome, all the CNY goodies at Poon Confectionary are freshly baked before delivery and NOT stored at all. All their products are homemade, batched baked to perfection, and their recipes have been passed down for over 3 generations! 

And now, here's a fraction of what they've got to offer that I've managed to try out! 
Hae Bee Hiam Sambal Prawn Roll - $15.50

Over the years, I've grown to prefer spicy floss roll more as compared to the "traditional" hae bee hiam rolls as the latter tends to be a lot drier and choked with bits of tough, dried out lumps here and there. But Poon Confectionary has definitely nailed their hae bee hiam rolls! The skin is thoroughly crisp, not overly oily and the filling spicy and flavourful without the dreaded dried lumpy bits. And as you can see, more than half the container is wiped out within a few days. It's that good!

 Pineapple Tart - $16.90

One thing I will always look for in a pineapple tart is for the filling to be more on the tangy side and to have obvious strands of pineapple fruit fibre. Nothing irks me more than biting into a pineapple tart filled with horribly sweet, processed pineapple jam. Although I would personally prefer the filling to be a little bit more sour (Poon Confectionary's is a mixture of both sweet and tangy), the texture of their pineapple filling is lovely! There'a also a great ratio of the fragrant, buttery crumbly tart shell to the tangy-sweet pineapple filling and each tart comes in the perfect one-mouth bite size so you need not worry about dropping crumbs all over the place when you bite into the tart. 

 Peanut Cookie - $14.90

 These cookies are like gong tng (traditional peanut candy) but less sweet and in convenient bite size so you need not worry about the mess of crumbs falling all over your clothes. These melt-in-your-mouth cookies are so addictive that I almost couldn't stop popping them.

 Almond Cookie - $15.50

Very similar to the peanut cookie in terms of the melt-in-your-mouth, crumbly texture, but with a distinctive almond nut fragrance and with bits of crunchy nut pieces within the cookie, this is yet another highly addictive, once-you-pop-you-can't-stop kind of CNY goodies for me.

Love Letter (Chocolate Filling) - $15.50

Frankly speaking, this is the first time I've seen a love letter with fillings and I've really high expectation for this! But unfortunately, out of all the goodies I've tried, the love letters are my least favourite. I'll still prefer my love letter made very thin, crisp and airy, while Poon Confectionary has made theirs significantly thicker (hence more crunchy like a waffle biscuit), perhaps to hold the fillings better. The chocolate flavour of the filling were also not rich enough and didn't have much of a cocoa taste. However, if the idea of a love letter with filling still rocks your world and yet you're not a big fan of chocolate, there's also peanut butter filling for you to try out!

Understanding that most customers are not comfortable with buying CNY goodies without knowing its taste and quality, Poon Confectionary actually provides free tasting for over 30 types of goodies to all customers at their shop!
Poon Confectionary is located at 502 Macpherson Road S368204 (opposite Caltex).
Opening Hours: 1pm - 10pm daily (including weekends)
Contact No.: 9762 6523 / 9663 4314

For more information, visit their website HERE.
Quote "miacny10" at checkout for 10% off all their products!

Til then,
Mia Foo

Thursday, 13 December 2018

Mia's Althea Christmas Wishlist

Hey there, lovely readers! 2018 is soon coming to an end, but it's not the time to look back on the year and reflect... yet, for Christmas is around the corner! 
Still fretting over what to get for your girlies this Christmas? Well, not to worry because this time, Althea got you covered with tons of on-going special promotions with various discount codes up for you to grab over the week!

So let's move on with my specially curated top 10 Althea Christmas wishlist/recommendation, not in any particular order.

First up, let's take a look at the awesome line of Althea Exclusive, that's currently having 25% or 50% off minimum spending of $40 or $60 (until 19th Dec) and free shipping until 31st Dec 2018.

#1 

Skin Fresh Skin Detoxer Set - $25
(both Rose and Green Tea selling separately at $14 each)

A successful collaboration between Althea and Korea's top beauty programme, Get It Beauty, these two skin detoxers are both your super convenient 10-seconds wash off mask and facial cleanser combined!
I've previously talked about these two amazing products HERE, so do check it out!

#2


Another wonderful product from Althea Exclusive line, the Milk Peel Cream Mask contains AHA & BHA to help exfoliate dead skin for smoother skin, and at the same time contains Casein Protein (milk) to provide moisture to the skin and help our skin stays moisturised all day! I absolutely love the soft and creamy, clay-like texture that BUBBLES UP on our skin after application, it was so fun!

#3

Petal Velvet Set - $17.10
(Sunaway and Velvet Powders are selling separately at $13 and $6 respectively)

Armed with the highest sun protection of SPF 50+ and PA++++, the Petal Velvet Sunaway is made to be ultra lightweight on our skin. This translucent sunscreen is formulated with Damask rose extracts to make sure that our skin stays fresh and hydrated throughout the day without any streakiness or the dreadful ghastly white cast. 
(Read more about Sunaway HERE)

The velvet powders comes in 3 variations, translucent, warm beige and lavender pink, all of which 
helps to set makeup and leave behind a silky finish to the touch. Infused with oil from Althea seeds, this powder works to keep sebum production at bay without drying out the skin for a radiant, fresh look, all while giving out a gentle scent. 

#4

Pore Purifying Serum Cleanser - $11 

This is definitely one of Althea Exclusive latest launch that I'm so excited to try out! 
Combining the powers of a cleanser and serum, this product whisks away makeup, dirt, and oil with mint extracts while ensuring the skin stays cool and hydrated throughout thanks to a dual moisture cell system that envelopes the skin in a serum-like formula. It prevents the skin from drying out and effectively minimizes enlarged pores, keeping it smooth to the touch. This product also helps to balance the pH levels of the skin to keep it working in tip-top shape! Best of all, it's gentle on the face and suitable even for those of us with sensitive skins!

And now, onto winners of 2018 Althea Award, with 15% off with minimum purchase of any 3 items under the Award list.

#5

Laneige BB Cushion Pore Control - $38

Laneige BB Cushion Pore Control has to be my favourite cushion, ever! And now, they've gotten an upgrade! With an even prettier packaging and new, improved formula, this cushion provides smooth coverage with effortless application. The Pore Control comes with a formula that controls excessive production of sebum, leaving the skin looking and feeling fresh throughout the day. It also has long-lasting properties to keep it on all day so you won’t have to worry about it budging. These compact cushions make morning routines a breeze, and are great to keep in your bag for touch-ups on-the-go!

#6

W.Lab Jewelry Base Sapphire - $21

A gem-infused skin base, have you heard of it before?! With a mix of hydrating ingredients like Centella Asiatica, glycerin, and sunflower seed oil, this base moisturizes the skin, prepping and smoothing it for a flawless makeup application. This pretty base also contains illuminating sapphire and pearl pigments that give the complexion a gorgeously radiant glow. 
Sounds amazing, right?

#7

Laneige Water Sleeping Mask - $27

I'm pretty sure this world's best-selling sleeping mask needs no further introduction. This is probably THE product that gained Laneige most of its ardent fans. 
With 1 sold every 12 secs, this light gel mask provides intensive hydration, vitality and brightening effect while restoring skin with deep relaxation. This product contains a number of patents including the SLEEP-TOX™ technology that purifies skin during sleep, keeping it in optimum condition while MOISTURE WRAP™ helps skin retain moisture throughout the night. It also has an aromatic SLEEPSCENT™ helps you relax during sleep. Best of all, it’s also formulated with skin soothing agents that are gentle on the sleeping skin, helping it to recover overnight.

#8

Nature Republic Aloe Vera 92% Soothing Gel - $5

This is definitely one of my holy grail product! Made from 92% Aloe Vera gel, Nature Republic Aloe Vera Soothing Gel is enriched with vitamins and can be used for just about anything, from soothing sunburns to hydrating the skin and hair in the form of a mask, to an everyday moisturizer for supple skin. The aloe vera used to make this product comes from certified organic farmers in California (CCOF) and is kind to even the most sensitive of skins, making this suitable for all skin types. 

#9
Laneige Wild at Heart My Neon Sign Stained Glasstick - $28

Coming in Neon Pink or Neon Orange, this is Laneige's 2018 Limited Edition Holiday Collection, so grab yours before they're gone! It's a glowy tint lipstick that gives us the watery, stained glass lip makeup look. The festive, cute packaging is definitely the cherry on top! 

#10

RiRe Bubble Bubble Lip Mask - $9.50

Last but not least, I've decided to add a lip mask into my top 10 list, for lip care still seems to be always neglected! This hypoallergenic, innovative lip scrub foams up after moments and gently exfoliates away dead skin cells using fruit enzymes so you won't have to worry about accidentally scrubbing too hard. It also helps moisturize any dry patches, so you'll be left with smooth, kissable lips that are prepped to take on any lipstick you desire.

So, what are your thoughts of my Althea top 10 wishlist/recommendation? Have you tried any of these ten products before? Let me know your experience with these products down at the comment board below!

Till then,
Mia Foo

Monday, 3 December 2018

Bakestarters Christmas Edition Baking Kit: Earl Grey Dark Chocolate Babka


Yes, I've successfully made my 1st ever chocolate babka, all thanks to Bakestarters


Bakestarters is a local company specialising in baking and baking kits, which come with freshly packed and individually pre-portioned ingredients, along with a recipe card and detailed instructions, tips and even a QR code linking to a tutorial video. Other than eggs, Bakestarters measures and packs all the ingredients that we'll need, including fresh milk, butter and fresh fruits!
Some of the kits even come pre-packed with baking tools such as loaf pans, cookie cutters and parchment paper, offering baking enthusiasts of all skill levels a fun and hassle-free baking experience.

For this coming Christmas, Bakestarters has launched their all new festive Christmas collection comprising of 8 baking kits:
1. Gingerbread Men
2. Passionfruit Yule Log
3. Chocolate Peppermint Yule Log
4. Blackforest Brownies
5. Orange Pistachio Biscotti
6. Pumpkin Spice Biscoff Loaf
7. Earl Grey Dark Chocolate Babka
8. Tiramisu (no bake)


Initially I was thinking of giving the passionfruit yule log a go, but after realising that I actually do not have the required baking pan size, and it will probably NOT fit into my small oven as well, I decided to give babka a try! 

As you can see, the baking kit comes with individually packed and labelled,  pre-portioned ingredients in a cute box, which you will also find your recipe and instruction cards. Other ingredients that required chilling, like butter and fresh milk, were well packed into a small cooler bag, stuffed with a generous amount of ice packs to keep everything nice and cold. 

And frankly speaking, this pre-portioned, individually packed idea brought so much convenience and it took all the hassle of measuring out the ingredients one by one out of the way. It took me less than 5 minutes to get all the ingredients for the bread dough mixed up in my bowl and all I did was snip-pour-chuck. 
Well, there's just one thing I couldn't quite understand was why they need to pack the unsalted butter in resealable bags, when technically there shouldn't be anything left behind for us to reseal?
But anyway, that's hardly of any importance at all. 

Bakestarters has obviously put in a lot of effort curating and perfecting their recipes and ingredients, for I totally did not need to add in any more liquid or flour to "perfect" out my bread dough. I mean, if you do bake bread, you will probably face the very common issue of differing hydration level across different brands of flour, or even between different batches of the same brand of flour, right? There's never a time I found myself not needing to add in that extra few teaspoons/tablespoons of flour or water to my overly moist or dry dough ball. But with Bakestarters babka baking kit, I got my clean bowl and clean hands easily with less than 15 minutes of hand-kneading, and reach the windowpane stage within 20 minutes! 


However, instead of following their instruction of letting it proof till double in size for 1 to 1.5 hrs, I let my dough slow-proof in the fridge overnight (for almost 12 hours) instead, which will allow the bread to develop more (yeasty) flavour. As babka is made from enriched bread dough (brioche) which tends to be a lot softer (and harder to manage if you're not a very seasoned bread-baker), leaving the dough rest for a couple of hours in the fridge also helps with all the rolling and shaping later on. 


Since the baking kit is supposed to yield two loaves/wreath of babka, I decided to make one following their instruction to get a babka wreath, and another into a simple twisted loaf, topped with cinnamon streusels, YUMS!


And I also dropped a few pieces of the remaining streusels on the babka wreath, which I kind of regret. It'll probably look better without the random "spots"?


Look at those pretty chocolate swirls! But well, I kind of cut the wreath in the wrong direction and got a full cut across the tucked ends with no chocolate swirls instead. BOO!

But I have to say, this recipe is DA BOMBZ! The sweet brioche bread is so soft and tender, that it's almost cake-like. Even my mum and brother, who aren't fans of chocolate, loved it!

Bakestarters Christmas Collection 2018 Baking Kits is now up for preorder until 7 Dec, 2359 hr, and delivery of the kits will be from 11 to 21 Dec.
If you miss the preorder, do not worry! Bakestarters Christmas collection is still open for orders after 7 Dec, subject to availability of delivery dates. Do note that the blackout dates indicate full delivery slots so it's advisable for you guys to cart out quickly should you want to purchase any of the kits! You will also be able to get your kits in time for the New Year (if that's what you are planning for) as Bakestarters will be delivering after 25th December too!
For more information, visit their website HERE

Till then,
Mia Foo

Sunday, 25 November 2018

Mia Bakes: ROCK CAKES!

Rock cakes, also called rock buns, are actually small fruit cake with a rough surface resembling a rock. Originated in the Great Britain, they are a traditional tea time treat. You might jolly well first heard of them through JK Rowling's Harry Potter series as Hagrid's favourite tea time snack to serve the trios, which were more of a rock than a cake, and were so hard that they could break teeth instead of being a lovely treat.

Rock cakes also happens to be one of my mum's favourite pastry-snacks (along with "old-times" butter cakes) and so let's get baking!

To get roughly 10 to 12 small rock cakes, you'll need:

115g all purpose flour
65g unsalted (good quality) butter, chopped and COLD
55g castor sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
90g dried mixed fruit (or you can use sultanas)
1 medium/large egg (mine is 50-55g out of the shell), beaten
1/4 tsp vanilla

Apparently, you can make rock cakes in a few methods, which includes the creaming method whereby you cream your butter and sugar as you would for any cakes, the melted butter method as you would for a soft cookie, or the frozen butter method as you would for a scone. As I'm hoping to get a more crumbly texture as would of a scone, I decided to go for the cold butter method. 

So, in a clean bowl, add in all your dry ingredients (except mixed fruits) and give it a quick whisk to combine. Then, throw in your frozen, chopped butter and cut it into the flour mixture in a mini food processor, or with a pastry cutter, or a simple knife-and-fork method. You may also use your hands (if you do not have hot hands) and rub the butter into the flour until it resembles bread crumbs with a little bit of bigger, pea-sized chunks. 
Then, add in your mixed fruit and give it a quick toss before adding in your beaten egg and vanilla extract. Mix until just combined and you get a slightly stiff, yet still rather moist and spoon-able dough. As different flour will have different hydration level, you may tweak your dough consistency with either some milk (if they're too dry and doesn't come together) or more flour (if they're too wet and not holding their shape). 

Then, spoon your dough evenly onto a parchment lined baking sheet, making sure they're spaced around 2 inches apart. You do not need to smooth our the surfaces, in fact, the more bumpy and 'rocky' your dough looks, the better! These are not called rock cakes for nothing! 
Then, bake them off in an oven pre-heated to 200 degree Celsius for around 15 minutes, or until they turn a lovely golden brown colour. 
Do keep a watchful eye on them to make sure that they do not burn, but you would not want them to be under-baked as well, if not you won't get the lovely slightly crisp surface on the outside.
I personally would prefer a more "dried-out" cakey texture for my rock cakes as if I crave for something more tender and moist, I should just go for scones, right? 



These tasted so good when still warm from the oven, with a crisp surface on the outside and cakey, tender and yet not overly moist texture on the inside. I've already reduced the added sugar level to the bare minimum, so unless you're using more of the dried fruit to add sweetness, I strongly suggest that you do not reduce the amount sugar any further. 

Do let me know if you've tried out this super quick and easy recipe and how these rock cakes has turned out for you!

Till then,
Mia Foo

Sunday, 18 November 2018

Althea x Get It Beauty Real Fresh Skin Detoxers [Advertorial]


-credits to sg.althea.kr-

A while back, I've raved on IG about these Althea Real Fresh Skin Detoxers, a 10-second, 2-in-1 cleanser pack that showcases real, fresh ingredients and incorporates them into a system that allows a deep & clarifying cleanse while boosting the skin's health with nutrients and goodness. Available in two editions, the Rose (recommended for morning regime, made with French rose petals + extracts to refine skin) and Green Tea (recommended for night regime, contains Juju green tea leaves + extracts to purify skin) both help to leave our skin feeling fresh and smooth for a healthy complexion! 

I'm totally loving these two products (especially the green tea edition) as it makes masking so quick and convenient! You just need 10 seconds, and it miraculously changes into your facial cleanser, can you get anything better than that? And even though it's a purifying mask that helps to gently exfoliate our skin, it doesn't dry out the skin even with daily usage and instead, leaves my skin feeling soft and smooth after every use. 

And do you know, this amazing range of product is a successful collaboration between Althea and Get It Beauty, Korea's top Beauty TV show, and even Jeonghwa, member of the popular K-POP girl group EXID, is also a fan of the product!



Now, you can get this Real Fresh Skin Detoxer Set (150ml x 2) at only $25 with FREE SHIPPING using the promo code PBSHIP for a limited time only!
Check out HERE for more information!

Till then,
Mia Foo

Tuesday, 13 November 2018

NZL Travelogue: Auckland & Shakespear Regional Park

 Hey people! Finally, the #miagoesnzl travelogue series is getting started! But before you move on to my Day 0 and Day 1 of my 9D8N Jucy Campervan road trip in the North Island, do check out my posts on Leasany (and how you can get a 20% discount off their rental services) and Jucy Chaser campervan review too! :)

As our Airasia X flight is scheduled to touchdown at the Auckland international airport at 510pm and the last slot for Jucy Rentals' collection is 430pm, we had no choice but to check ourselves into one of the airport hotels, and ibis budget airport hotel it shall be! 

-credits to https://www.accorhotels.com-

Conveniently located within 20 minutes' walking distance from the Auckland international airport, and near to a selection of eating places like your ever so trusty McDonald's, Carl's Junior, KFC, cafes, restaurants, and Countdown & Warehouse, the ibis Budget Hotel is also the most affordable of all the airport hotels you can find. Rooms are small, but clean, comfy and definitely good enough for our one night's stay after our McD dinner and with some Halo Top ice cream (why aren't you available in SG?!) & chips for our late night snacks from Countdown just opposite the road.

That entire pint of Halo Top is only 360 kcals! 
PLEASE COME TO SINGAPORE, PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE! 

And is it me, or do they get fluffier buns at their McD? Well, they have way fancier takeout coffee cups, that's for sure!


After a good night's rest, we started our day early and left for Jucy Rental's after our McD breakfast (they have bagels here!), which was another 20 minutes walk for collection of our Jucy Chaser, scheduled at 9am. We would have walked back to the airport and wait for their shuttle service, but it won't make much sense as that would be a 20 minutes walk as well (though that might have saved us the 15m hardcore uphill walk to Jucy's entrance gate).
And well, we did expect a bit of waiting, but surely didn't expect to wait for nearly 2 HOURS before we were brought to our campervan, and the entire walk-through for the CV only took us... 5 to 10 minutes. Anyway, all was good and off we went to PAK'nSAVE Mangere to stock up on our food supplies for the trip, before heading into Auckland City to meet up with my Uni mate, R, (who's currently working in Auckland) and his wife.

-credits to www.paknsave.co.nz-

R initially planned to bring us for Tanpopo ramen, but sadly, they were closed. So Mexican food it shall be, at Mexican Cafe located in the Auckland CBD.


I got the Quesadillas (15 NZD) and BF got the Burritos (15 NZD). 
I'm not at all familiar with the Mexican cuisine, hence I have absolutely no idea of how authentic their food taste, but they were definitely yummy and not that damaging on your pocket. Love their complimentary serving of salsa and tortilla chips too, so yummy! 

-credits to http://www.mexicancafe.co.nz-

They also have a covered veranda "alfresco" seating area, which would be lovely on a cooling day to dine in. 

After a hearty lunch treat from R, we walked around Queen street, Auckland's equivalent of our Orchard Road, but with just a fraction of our crowd, and also.... a fraction of what we have to offer. No offence, but nobody travel all the way to New Zealand to shop, right? Anyway, while walking towards the viaduct harbour, we came across Uncle Tetsu Japanese Cotton Cheesecake, which apparently originated from Japan.... but after visiting Kansai and Hokkaido, I've never seen any Uncle Tetsu shops. But can't deny the fact that they're ridiculously cottony, soft and fluffy, and not overly moist. Those "angel hat" cakes looks super cute too!


And so, after sharing a whole Uncle Tetsu cheesecake among the 4 of us while enjoying the view of the viaduct basin and harbour bridge at the viaduct lookout (while keeping a close eye on the annoying, greedy seagulls), we heading off to the viaduct harbour and silo park!



According to R, they made a museum out of one of the silo (which he has visited). 


The sky was rather gloomy that day, but still it didn't change the fact that the views here was simply awesome!

And after yet another yummy sweet treat from R (I actually forgot what flavour I've gotten, but it sure was good!) before we say our goodbyes. T.T

And off we go for Shakespear Regional Park, which was about 1.5 hours' drive from Auckland CBD. 
Located at the top of the Whangaparao Peninsula, the park is named after the Shakespear family, who bought the land back in the 1880s from a local Maori. This massive park is home to three walking trails, the Heritage Trail, Lookout Track and Tiri Tiri Track.

And see who's there to welcome us! There were TONS of Pukeko birds and a handful of peacocks roaming free around the park's area, by the beach. R reminded us to keep a lookout for Kiwi birds as well, and I've also read reviews on the park stating they spotted Kiwi birds, but we weren't so lucky. 

But there were so many sheeps there to entertain us! Haha, they weren't very entertained by us though. On paper, the park closes by 9pm and we were there at 6 plus, nearing 7pm, so it seemed like a safer choice to give all the walking trails a miss as the estimated time to complete the trails is at least 2 hours, and we aren't sure of the sunset time, nor the lux level (we believe that there's no source of lights available after sunset) on the trails. 


And here's a short, unedited clip taken at Shakespear Regional Park, using my OPPO R9s on the Osmo Mobile 2 from Leasany.
The gimbal makes the video so stable, omg!

So after a quick walk among the grazing sheeps, chasing some pukeko birds and peacocks, and a leisure stroll along the beach, we hopped back onto our Jucy Chaser and headed off to our campsite for the night, which is a free campsite located at the Gulf Harbour Car Park, located at the end of Laurie Southwick Parade, which is about 20 minutes drive from Shakespear Regional Park. 

And here's our very first campervan one-pot dinner for the trip, white wine garlic mussels and lemonfish with baby spinach and buttered wholemeal toasts. YUMMY! 

Till then,
Mia Foo
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