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Archive for June 2009

Chop chop

Posted on: June 29, 2009

I have been avoiding getting a haircut, mainly because of the incredible hard work involved in finding a good salon (those 15 minutes of googling can really take their toll).

I gave in last week and the criteria ‘reliable stylist’ and ‘colourist who can deal with naturally blonde hair’ led me to Toni & Guy. Not the kind of place I’d go to in London, but when you have fewer familiar reference frames somewhere that is boring because it’s familiar becomes reassuring for the same reason.

The colour is pretty good. I urged her to err on the side of caution then felt disappointed that I hadn’t been more brave, but that was my fault, not hers.

The cut, well, the cut is less good. I started perhaps a little vaguely – I’m bored, make it look different – which is enough direction for someone who’s been cutting my hair for seven years, but not someone who’s just met me.

Fortunately I know my hair well and had a pretty good idea of what I wanted – long-ish bob, funky choppy layers, lots of volume and movement.

“No,” says the guy.

“Ummm?”

“I’m not taking it short. It’s too long, the shock might upset you.”

“Ooookay. You did hear what I just said? Long-ish with choppy layers, right?”

“No.”

He argued that too many layers would make my hair frizzy. I argued that I don’t have heavy Asian hair so it wouldn’t be a problem. I delight in living in a humid country because my pathetically fine hair finally has some volume.

So I figure I know what I’m talking about, he figures he knows better, and he’s the one with the scissors. After a ponderous 30 minute blow dry it looks ok. A little mumsie, but I’m happy to have lost a lot of length.

My sis is cautious in her praise, “It’s kind of… sensible.”

Hmm, perhaps. I figured the jury would be out until I washed it myself. Which I have just done. The verdict is not good. I think ‘Cute Victorian pageboy with flicky ends’ might be the worst (certainly the most boring) cut I’ve ever had.

(And I once sat down in London, went through the “I’m bored, make me look different” brief, and left looking like a cross between Myra Hindley and my mom. At least I didn’t look dull. Criminally insane, but not dull.)

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Pilot review – Supperclub

A Dutch concept restaurant whose supper appeal is a fixed five-course menu, served to diners lounging on communal day beds. The club aspect comes in the form of kitsch cabaret, complete with transvestite staff and toilets assigned by homo or hetero. Exactly the kind of restaurant you’d hope to find in Amsterdam.

I’m not sure it’s quite so comfortable in Singapore. One the Saturday I went only a third of the covers were filled – sad given the staff was so lovely – and all the patrons were white. The echoing school hall feel didn’t stop me enjoying myself and the staff kept on smiling, but the saving grace should have been the food.

Read the rest of this entry »

Long time, no write. Have been subsumed by the strangeness of working here: lots of thoughts on that but I want to get a few things sorted before I share with y’all.

In the meantime – food. Our life here is ALL about food (I bet the Singaporean’s reading are nodding in agreement). We eat out for lunch most days, and for dinner almost every other night. By way of comparison, I went out for dinner in London about once a fortnight.

I can’t really fall into step with the hawker centre, carb-heavy lunches though. I tried switching these to my main meal, but I don’t think I ate that many carbs even for dinner in the UK. Even with a mashed-potato addiction.

So I have replaced most of my chicken rice lunches with fruit. My S’porean colleagues don’t get it at all and assume that it is some kind of protest or destructive eating disorder, but I feel tonnes better.

I’m not starving myself by any means; oatmeal for breakfast (can’t say porridge anymore, porridge is congee) and fruit every few hours at work keeps me full and seems good for my sluggish European metabolism.

And being healthy during the day paves the way for some real fun in the evening: exploring the 8 million (give or take) bars and restaurants here. I’m thinking of posting a few restaurant reviews but I don’t want to try and make this a food blog (got to Chubby Hubby for that) or get too listy & dull.

Easiest thing is to try it and see – coming first, Supperclub.

Daily life

Posted on: June 7, 2009

And just like that, a quarter of a year turned into a third.

Month three was the worst so far in terms of being homesick; the fourth has certainly felt easier. I am more settled into daily life now, although my sister has pointed out that she doesn’t have much idea of what that means.

Here are the three questions she thought most pertinent:

1. Do I wear socks?
2. Do I eat chicken?
3. Do I own slippers?

These probably tell you more about her than they ever could about me, but for your delectation and delight:

1. Yes, I wear socks sometimes. When I first arrived I couldn’t imagine ever wearing anything except flip-flops and strappy summer dresses but now I wear jeans and everything, complete with shoes and socks. Only when it’s cloudy though.

(A point about the heat and weather – the air con in our living room cools the room DOWN to 26 C, which feels quite chilly when I first arrive home.)

2. I eat chicken but I hardly ever cook it. Lunch is now my main meal, eaten at one of the food centres near work, so I’m never really hungry when I get home and just eat salads or cheese and biscuits.

Favourite lunchtime chicken dishes include chicken rice and dosa. However, my sluggish European metabolism is struggling with all the carbs and the lack of veg so I’m trying to eat more packed lunches.

3. No I don’t own slippers. Perhaps unsurprisingly, given I didn’t in the UK either.

It’s customary here (as with much of Asia) to take your shoes off before going into someone’s house. I’m not sure of the exact reason (internetz has suggested respect or fung shui), but J and I have adopted the habit at our flat. Our reason is that the floors are tiled and quickly get gritty if you stomp around in outdoor shoes.

A positive aspect of this habit is that you can wear beautiful but uncomfortable shoes to house parties, safe in the knowledge that you won’t be crippled by them for too long. The downside is that it’s embarrassing if your feet smell.

So, what else do ya want to know?