Approaching 30 – House to a Home

As I sat in my beautiful and humble abode quietly by myself (Its my day off,  Praise the Lord), there’s this unreal feeling. Wait what? Is this really mine?

20s to the 30s, almost ten years of ups and downs. To the road of walking nearer and nearer to my heavenly father, I came to look upon things and issues with a clearer yet non-judging eyes.

From getting to know my husband, from dealing with toxic friendships and moving on from past bygones, from penniless to owning a place and becoming penniless again transforming this house into a home. Boy am I tired? I am.. yet I am not for My God fights for me.

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I promise to some I will share the pictures of my home after renovation, alas it is at best 90% completed. I will do indulge with some pics first.

Getting the Keys and The renovation

I started sourcing for an affordable ID since October last year. Using online options like Qanvast, homerenoguru and whats not in my pursuit for an affordable ID. Got quite a few quotations for what I have in mind, King and I insisted meeting up to get across to the IDs what we have in mind and to see and gauge their characters. Pricing is not by far the only main thing I was looking for in my ID. After almost 15 met ups with some IDs brushing us off like ‘Your kind of low budget reno is not worth our effort’ . We pushed on. Finally met up with 2 sincere, patient and reputable IDs ‘Lux Interior’ and ‘Butler Interior‘.

We chose the latter.

Got our keys in March and contacted Alvin from Butler Interior to do a measurement.

Daddy and Hubs happily rolling some pineapples! Dad obviously enjoying himself!

 

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Defect check

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After screeding

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Choosing of laminates and Kompactplus

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Featured wall!

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Bedroom platform and Settee

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Semi walk in wardrobe and dresser

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Installation of lights and fans

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wallpaper for the bedroom.

To be continued… I need a nap desperately.

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Songshan Cultural Park, Eslite and Dabbling in art

I was just back from Taipei like a few days ago. Fell Really Sick! That’s another story altogether but I’m still posting on the previous Taipei trip. That’s how badly I procrastinated. Almost towards the end of the trip.

Before I went, I really had this wanting to try my hands at blowglass art much thanks to the Nora Roberts’ “Born in Fire Series” My favorite of all her books tbh.

So imagine my excitement when I found out I can actually try out my noob hands at creating a piece of glass art albeit with all the help by the instructor.

Had our 7-11 breakfast at 8am plus..

 

Made our way to Songshan Cultural Park Eslite at 9am in the morning in excitement just to realize the Eslite mall which is connected to the hotel only opens at 11am. Faints.

Arty Farty Graffiti

 

Eslite hotel connected to the mall.

Luckily for us, we found an awesome cafe that opens at 10am just right outside the vicinity.

Love their hot chocolate.

Slurp~~ Their interior was awesome too with knicks knacks to spend your TWD.

Found another book cafe just inside the cultural park.

1st floor features designer fashion!

2nd floor is where you get to try your hands on different crafts. I tried glassblowing and ceramics.

That’s the student before me. Was so excited!

While waiting for my turn, I saw some others practicing calligraphy! *impressed*

The instructor walked me through the whole process and actually doing most of the work! But I love love love my end product! So chio seh!

My ceramic cup, it has to be baked and sent to me via mail unlike the glass blowing which I could get the next day.

Hub try ceramic painting a teacup! ahahhaa

So focused!

Ciao for now!

Neihu Refresh Farm

Sorry for the long hiatus as its really hard to blog about Taiwan when I realized I will be going again in.. from this moment while typing about 11 days. All courtesy of my older sister Cheryl who is determined to drag me and my younger sister Mabel to sisters bonding trip. My thoughts were ‘Huh! Taipei again!????’

I do blame my long hiatus from blogging about the rest of the trip to my husband and I…. we are PROUD owner of a humble HDB flat! Renovation is currently in progress and we could hardly hardly hardly wait! You can guess how busy we were and still are.

I digress…

So hubs and I were back in Taipei from Jiufen that previous day and we woke up again at 7+ am in the morning due to our timely body clock. We were supposed to go Neihu Refresh farm for fruit picking! It was cold in the morning, and hubs made the wise decision to call up the farm. The friendly Ossan told us to come at about 1pm. So we totally Nua and laze around. We decided to have Taiwan’s famous Instant noodle for breakfast and oh goshes and moshes, check that pieces of meat on top of hubs’s sesame chicken noodle!

And my Hua tiao wine instant noodles!

They were so delicious I bought a whole bag of instant noodles back as souvenirs!

I requested to have Taiwan milk tea which I was allergic to tea, or anything with caffeine. That means I will probably take a sip and passed the rest to my hubs.. and he gave me this look..

And realized I took a sneak shot of his expression. There you go!

Screenshot of the website! Address is there! You are welcome!

We took MRT to Dahu, and took a cab up to Neihu Refresh Farm!

Did I mention it was still winter and real chilly.. especially up the hill..

We loooove the smell of fresh air and nature!

There is this beautiful tranquil pond there!

The walk to the reception site! The floor is real slippery!

Check out the beautiful creek!!!! We actually met some fellow Singaporeans there as well!

Cold…

The Ossan said there are strawberries, tangerine (mikans) and some other in which I forgot. We chose to pick the strawberries which goes by weight and tangerines as well!

Wife is happy!

The ripe, the almost ripe and the unripe.

First 2 picks.

And hubs found a tulip shaped strawbie!

And a odd shaped one!

Hubs so happy with his haul!

Washed one and stuffed his mouth!

Yumz, tart!

We are allowed to eat the tangerines on the spot! And they were in our unanimous opinions, more delicious that the strawberries!

The grove itself is picturesque…

I’m in paradise!!

We chose the big ones!

Yay, managed to get a prize!

MUST try on the spot!

So beautiful eh!

Peeling another one!

Bountiful tree!

Still eating.. and definitely going back again! We called a cab down and made our way to Ximending.

Have to try the famous Ah Zong Mian Xian!

Hit the right spot in this chilly weather! And insist I was still hungry, we went to a beef noodle eatery.

Beef udon.. was ok!

Side dishes!

Beef cubes! I love this!

Shopping.. alas, most of the fashion on sales are winter clothing.

Love the night scene when the lanterns lit up.

 

 

Taipei Main and Double Back to Miaokou Night Market

In the midst of shivering in the heavy rain early in the morning, we made our way out of the Jiufen bnb and lugged our luggage to find a cab to bring us down to Ruifang Station. There was no cab and a kind uncle took pity of us and point us to the bus station. We took the bus down to Ruifang.

While waiting at the station, guess who! The Obasan whom “ordered” my husband to carry her barrel of water to her place was there at the station! She obviously forgot who we are.

Candy: Ah Ma! Li ho bo!? (Grandma, how are you?)

Obasan: Huh? Huh? Li xi siang ah? (Huh who are you)

Candy: Wa eh ang ga li ya zhui eh ah! ( My hubs helped you with the water barrel before ah)

Obasan: Orh! Si li ah, Wa eh kia gong wa gong beh cha! (My son said I was lying)

Candy: ????????????

Apparently she told her son about us and her son told her to not lie about this. Sweatdrop..

We boarded the train and made our way to Main station. The bnb was 8 minutes walk through the underground malls. It was too early and the shops were all closed, we had a dreary walk.

Thankfully the bnb was clean and cozy.

The owner provides free face masks!

Twas too early to go Miaokou, had a short nap and make our way to Guanghua Mall to get 杨丽花 operas for my dad. Hahahahhaha sadly, did not find many. Came across quite a lot of porno shops though… sweat drop..

We saw a dvd shop, wanted to go in but then.. the walls were plastered with AV posters.

And we made our way to Keelung Miaokou Nightmarket. We stopped by 红豆屋 first for Pig intestine Mee sua! Piping Hot and yumz! Perfect for cold rainy day. We were hungry and forgot to take pictures! T_T

Made our way to Miaokou but it was still really quite early.

We really missed the prawn salad. BUT its a far cry from what we had 2 years ago.. T_T

Side by side comparison! Cries….

And of course Miaokou must eat this!

I still craves. I crave….

I realize I have such few photos of what we ate! The 一口吃香肠, 菱角 and so many more.. oh gosh! We were too busy eating…

Wait while I find a picture of Ling Jiao…

… Google just told me its call Water Caltrop. Looks menacing.

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Ciao for now!

 

Exploring Jiufen and Jinguashi

Continue on, you can read my former posts on Taipei here

Journey down Pingxi Line

Continue down Pingxi Line

Beitou Onsen Soak

Tamsui Old Street

We spent the night at the bnb and woke up wishing the futon could be thicker. I have fat butt and sunk in deep into the futon =.= My hipbones really hurts in the morning. Oh well small issue!

First thing we do when we stepped out of the bnb and breathed in the fresh air.. TAKE MORE PICTURES! Look at hub’s eager face! He’s ready to suck in the morning scenery with his trusty iphone cam.

The hills and the sea and beautiful sky! You can taste the fresh air just from this picture!

The alley way to our bnb!

Why you look so emo early in the morning!???

Doggie has double eyelids!

Still chilling outside the cafe shop!

And then… 2 kitties appear!!! ❤

One of the picturesque stairways!

Hubs just had to try to be modelistic.. zzz

I forgot where.. . Jiufen old street doesn’t open till about 10 am so we had plenty of time for our morning walk.

Stairway overlooking downslope!

Watashi is amused!

We walked past one of the landmark!

And up the stairs and slopes till we reach Ah Gan Yi 阿柑姨芋圆 Taro balls shop which was recommended by the bnb owner! And almost ten am where all the stalls are starting to open!

Bought a bowl to share and it was really yums!

We came to the same tea house where we bought some porcelain bells and we went in and got some more bells!! We had to forgo the tea because I am caffeine intolerant and tea has caffeine.. same goes for coke and whatever nonsense. >_>

This place is worth a walk in! Do go in when you’re there!

Started buying streetfood along the street! Still early but more and more tourists arrived by bus! This is some grill king oyster mushroom~ 杏鲍菇 Chewy and the taste come mostly from the sauce! 
 
Almost approaching lunchtime and I started to complain about hunger, how if I don’t get fed, I will starve to death and how I’m hungry enough to eat an elephant. Hubs who does not get easily hungry rolled his eyes and made our way to a small eatery.
 
Ordered the braised meat rice again and some dishes. Meal was alright since I don’t really fancy rice.
 
 
Some pastry with coconut sugar! Bought one to share and I really like it!
 
Its delicious!
 
We ate at amost 12 pm previously and as we walk down a stairways which was filled with interesting quaint shops and cafes, we came across an interesting restaurant called A city of sadness restaurant. Decided to go although we still feel really full!
 
Hubs: eh… I hope there’s some light dishes! In the end we ordered soup and osmanthus tea! We continued down the stairway.
 
 
 
 Along the stairs, there were cafes and quaint little stores carrying mostly overpriced souvenirs! We stopped at  … for photos…
 

 

And more photos..

along the slope, there is this closed doors, I imagine if its a real shop, people really have to be mindful of their steps…

And then I went crazy with this shop! Mostly because a best friend of mine and my sister is crazy for cats!

It was still early about 3 pm and we were wondering what we could do then. Spontaneously we decide to take a bus to Jinguashi.

Walked past the japanese style residence! Looks really small but the outside is rustic and beautiful!

Some description of the place!

Continue walking and came across a stairway with a teeny train track beside it. Apparently it was used to transport coal mines!

And lo and behold! We saw Alchemy Cafe with a cute little miner squirrel mascot!

Hubs is happy with his new found companion albeit for a little while. That stuff toy belongs to the cafe and was set on the cushioned seat. Tiny ones are available for purchase though!

This tiramisu is pretty AND delicious!

Their mascot miner squirrel which uncanningly looks  a little like winnie the pooh. Lol

Their hot chocolate is delightful too and so is the pretty barista!

Walking around and exploring. Great photoshoot location I must say!

Owls symbolizes wisdom and they are loved by Taiwan!

Some random arty farty metallic sculptures!

Panoramaed the huge branches and really so dreamy this place! ❤

Catapult tree, condoned off though.

This place was condoned off too, chill area for the old ancient prince I guess.

We walked around some and then I got really excited because there is a place for hands on goldsand mining. I love love love hands on experience.

That is hubs grinding the goldsand with his legs.

Enjoy the view of his feet people!

Then swirling the dirt out of the sand using some logic which I could not remember.

See those shiny specks? Those are gold sand.

And the Ossan selling tiny bottle of teeny gold sand for souvenir.

We headed back to Jiufen and started looking for dinner.. Yah eat again! Lol

Further down the path of our bnb, there is this little old fashioned eatery call ahmei zu Annie’s cuisine (阿美族安妮的店). Looks authentic and we went in. Ordered some dishes and they were deliciousssssss.

 

Sesame Mee Sua and oh LOOK AT THAT HUGE SALMON. Serious when the Obasan brought it in, both of us dropped our jaw in shock! The tomato scrambled eggs was sooooo delicious! That was my favorite! The meat though.. meh~~

Running man were broadcasted on their TV and we nearly choked to death laughing. Then we noticed a Caucasian couple walked in and have trouble communicating with the obasan (auntie) and ossan(uncle), so we helped them to order their food before going back to laughing and running man!

Here’s another pic of the food to make you drool more.

Went back, KOed. The next day we transited to Taipei Main station in the heavy rain and heavy luggage. To be continued…

 

 

Continue down Pingxi Line- Jing Tong

We continue down Pingxi Line and contemplated that we only have enough time for 2 more stops before shops started to close. They close early as it was Dec winter time and daylight wane real early. We decided to go on to the stops we did not get a chance to, the last time we came. We got off at the last stop Jing Tong (菁桐).

Right in front of the train station..
25KM to Shifen (十分) and 0km to Bliss (幸福) according to the signs of the building.

I do love old streets, though this street was already flooding with tourists.. Ahem I was one of them. I love the old buildings, the overflowing wish bamboos hung all over the street, the friendly storekeepers, the street food seller. I love them, not something you can see in Singapore much. The rustic feel of the place makes for photographic background! BTW all the photos were taken with my iPhone, I was really reluctant to lug around even my 4/3 camera. We wanted to immerse ourselves in the experience and not be bogged down my bulky items.

Beautiful evergreen covered building with the wish bamboos again!

Sitting on the railway track for a photo. Quite dangerous I must say, which I will explain.

There were a lot of people at the railway track all taking selfies, wefies and whats not. A family of 4, parents with their young son and daughter were also busy taking photos when the sound for incoming train sounded. All the people scrambled to the platform which was quite high for the young children. Seeing the train approaching, I reach out to help the little girl up the platform as the mother helped her son and called for her husband. A few seconds in which the train arrived at the station. They thanked me and look flustered. I held my tongue, was not going to tell them  my heart almost stopped.. Geez

Cute little direction post pointing you to the right direction yo!

Spotted a lone rustic building across the station!

Doesn’t this street looks like something out of spirited as well or some fairy tale?

It was starting to get dark, and we were getting hungry. Our mission was to find food but we keep getting distracted!

Check out this Beauty and Beast cafe with their display, sadly it was closed already T_T

This picture was really random ahahahaha! As you can see though, most of the shops were closed or closing already.. I do wonder though, where were the dude rushing to..

Somehow, we came across the bridge, the memory got hazy though..

And look we got food! Simple but delicious fare! Braised meat rice (Hub’s fav) and golden needle flower soup or something! I love that soup! Light with a gentle fragrance!

Back to our Bnb at Jiufen and it was already pitch dark. The view from our airbnb balcony. Twas winter and the night feels really cool and dreamy. Felt so happy to be away from Singapore hustle and bustle once in a while. I still love you a lot Singapore!! ❤

Another picture, you can see the sea far off. Good night good people~

Will write about Jiufen (九份) and Jinguashi (金瓜石)in the next post. And maybe more since my kuku husband just gave me the photos he took in his phone.. *grumbles*

Update on my fitness spree (not an ad)

I am ridiculously busy!!! With all the upcoming camps and trainings and preps and whatsnot.. I took to exercise for destressing instead of food bingeing.

I went on hiatus from class booking last week when I had to go Penang for Work training. So far before I went, just that week in which I started on my guavapass exercising, I lost 1.5 kg but sadly I gained it back in having all the temptation of Penang delicacies.

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Really, have you tried their Char Kway Teow and Or Jian (oyster omelet) MIND BLOWING..

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So far before I left for Penang, I went to Back to Basics Yoga at Yoco Loft on top of Interval circuits at Extreme Fitness. Yoco loft was along the stretch of my work place, timing perfect and Instructor Midah is one of the most humble and sincere instructor I have ever met! Sadly the second time I booked, there was no teacher there due to their schedule mixed up =(.

I took my first class in Aqua Signature and I looooove it!!!

  1. Its spinning in the water!
  2. I do love cycling!
  3. Instructors were upbeat, fun and joyful!
  4. Pregnant ladies also can take this class! A few of my classmates from my second booking are pregnant! Apparently it ease the extra weight and easy on the mothers.
  5. Easy on the joints due to the water or sth.
  6. Burns triple the calories!

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Swingwerkz yoga was ok, was attracted to the swings when I first book. Sadly I booked swingwerks which is for intermediate learners and not for a newbie like me.. =( I struggled badly with this class. Instructor recommended me Swingrev for beginners which I have not tried out yet.

Now Mixed Martial arts by Impact MMA was REALLY FUN!!! I am so looking forward to my next class! They offer free trial class which I managed to convince my hubs to go with me on the coming one! Ahahahah!

When I first saw the studio, I was like “OH GOSH! SO SCARY!!  But luckily the instructor was nice and patient and not scary at all! There was another new girl so I partnered her! We had fun grasping and tumbling with each other.

Determined to try out the different variety of classes they offered! Can’t wait to book dance class, cable skiing, Bounce and the different kind of martial arts class!

 My GuavaPass coupon code  CandyLovesGuava18333 for 40sgd off! 

In case you need! *wink*

Have classes to recommend? Do comment!

 

 

Journey down the Pingxi Line

Continuing our journey~ you can read part 1 and part 2 here!

So after we dropped our barangs at the bnb, we started out Pingxi Line adventure! Lol.

Our first stop is Hou Tong, the station famous for its Cats residency. We were however disappointed, we only spotted 8 cats all around. I wonder what happened to the rest…

We managed to spend that hour amusing ourselves, taking photos of the sadly jaded cats… 没有看过猫么? All the tourists, us included, were giving the cats unwanted attention.. really~~ -_-”

An Obasan was getting attention as well parading her fat beautiful cat!

 

Went into a quaint little souvenir store and this handsome posed for me!

A charcoal sheltering from the sun.

He or she.. or whatever snoozing comfortably despite all the noises from the tourists.. me included..

Another one snoozing comfortably.

So we amused ourselves! I made my hubs stand under the huge cat bell! Took pics then other tourists start to follow suit. Ahaha

Hubs needed a rest. Just too hot a day.

Bought some souvenirs for my cat crazy sister Mabel!

First gym session using GuavaPass~

When was the last time I exercise!?????? Almost ten years ago!!! Need to shed the extra kilos yo!

So as recommended by my good Friend Fleurbaby, I signed up for GuavaPass… my referral coupon code if you please~

(will get you $40 off your first bill) CandyLovesGuava18333

For some reason, the first class I chose was some fitness circuit interval training at Extreme Fitness West Coast… was the only student who booked that late class slot!!! So turns out I have a personal trainer for that hour… I NEARLY DIED!!! 

I preempt my trainer Stanley it’s been a reallllllll looong time since I had any form of damn exercise! He was really humorous and encouraging though, trying to push at my limits which is really not much at all to be honest. 

Half an hour into it, I was already lolling and rolling off the yoga mat and bargaining with my trainer… 

Planks in progress- supposedly 1 minute~ 

Candy: Huh!!!?? 1 minute ah! 30 secs can!? I can barely feel my legs already!!

Trainer S- ok can

In the end never even lasted 20 seconds!

The most Jialat student ever…

Alright, that’s the first experience~ updates on further bookings… 

A soak with Obasan and transitting to Jiufen

Hubs and I Woke up super early like 6+ am (Blame the body clock), went down to the reception of Shan-Yue HotSpring Hotel to request a soak in the Public Onsen. Opens at 7am, so we lounge around a while till 7am.

Bid our temp farewell with a cheeky “don’t start comparing your ding dongs with others ah” and proceeded respectively to our 男汤 and 女汤. Not allowed to take pics inside (duh!). Stole some pics from google!

Pic on the right features the changing room where we stripped down. Pic on the right is the public pool!

Showered before going in in order not to contaminate the baths, basic courtesy and expected of you. I actually went into the indoor one when an obasan who apparently frequents there beckons to me to go through a door and out in the open air bath as featured on the left pic. The temperature is hotter than the indoor bath and took me some squirmish time to get myself completely submerged with encouragement from the obasan! The people there are really so nice T_T.

Met up with hubs who was already done with his soak and he had similar experience with an ojisan lol. He actually wondering where all the ojisans disappeared to and noticed they went through a door that leads towards the public onsen.

Had a simple breakfast in the hotel and proceeded to transit to jiufen via train. Was really glad we prebooked the train tix!

Bought Bentos for our short trip!

img_0068Happy Hubs!

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Do Book your tickets in advance! http://www.railway.gov.tw/en/index.aspx

img_0069Hubs’s pork chop rice which I liked more than my own bento…

img_0070My chicken chop rice which hubs liked more than his own.. Swopped bentos…

Reached Ruifang in a jiffy and took a cab up to Jiufen while enjoying the scenery all the way up!

 

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Walking towards our bnb and hubs caught sight of the dog! He just had to take a picture of the dog… zzz

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Enjoyed the short walk to the bnb called 九份啊嬤的家!

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The top entrance to the abode! Almost right at the doorsteps of Jiufen old street! It was winter there.. check out my hub’s T-shirt, jeans and slippers… tsk tsk

Dumped our barangs and we head out again to Ruifang to catch the Pingxi Line! Interestingly the train arrives at interval of an hour and at every stops. enabling visitors to enjoy an hour at each station before moving on to the next. You can purchase the pingxi line ticket which covers all the stops. We missed the train by ten minutes! Walked around while waiting for the next train!

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Ruifang feels like really grandmaish!

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I apologize for the photo quality as I’m just too lazy to edit them~~ lazy

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We found gachapon machines outside their convenience store!

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TBC