Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Bring me back to 2015

Well, it's the time of the year again..

Recapping my life events in 2015. Reading back my post on my year on 2014, I'm so happy that I blogged about it..because it certainly brings back all the memories when I re-read it. I hope I'll continue to post every year so when I read back 10 years later, I'll realise how much I've been through and grown.

1. 2015 Chinese New Year
CNY is always a big celebration for Chinese all over the world. 2015, I wore a cheongsam!! The last time I wore it was when I was 8 years old?!

2. Conferences with my SSM2 research
I am indeed blessed with lots of opportunities. Presented at Brunei Nephrology Symposium and won the best presenter award miraculously o_o
Placed 3rd at 9th MalIndoBru conference as well.
Thank you!! All hard work paid off!

 With my amazing supervisors, Dr. JT & Dr. Ayub!! They're the best!

3. A 3 days course on Basic Life Support
I know how to perform bandaging and CPR now!! Although I kinda forget the exact steps now because I didn't practise it at all..

4. My Bali Trip!
Read it here.

Also got the spent the summer with L :)
My first colour run & The Run, horse riding and many more!!!

5. Graduated from UBD and proceed to UCC, Cork
Life changing moment of my life.
I've finally achieved my first degree in UBD and proceed to my partner medical school in Cork.
This is just the first step..and I'm taking things one step at a time.

Baby steps (:

My post on cohort 8 graduation & transition phase in Cork.

Never have I imagined that I'll be staying with 3 other girls at the student accommodation..
Before coming to Cork, I've always worried because I've listened to toooo many room mates stories and problems. Thankfully, we compromise each others' habits and have a good relationship.
Apartment A1 girls ♥ ♥ 

6. Removed my braces
I removed my braces just 2 days before flying off to Cork.
This reminds me that I need to do a blogpost about my braces journey soon... >___<

7. First pubcrawl
Was so excited about it. I've only drink once or twice per year, usually during CNY..
I've always wanted to train my alcohol tolerance..
A even searched on 'drinking for dummies' in the net!!
Before going, we ate food rich with fats, like potato crisps and pizza!!
Drink a lot of water to stay hydrated and go to the toilet frequently!

It's safe to say, I'm not a clubbing person. It's so exhausting and crowded. People could spill beer easily on you. Trust me, it's not a good experience.
More of a pub and chill person :D

8. Spending time with my girls in Cork
Probably my favourite leisure in Cork - having girls talk and girls night outs. Miss you baby J!! 

First mooncake festival away from home :'( 
Thankful to have my girls with me 

9. Oktoberfest
World largest beer festival in Germany. No idea why Francescan Well had one so we went anyways. First oktoberfest experience...eventhough we went there more for the pizza...
Ordered 3 pizzas for the 3 of us!!
And that's when I fell in love with Quattro formaggi (4 cheeses of Gorgonzola, Fontina, Ricotta & Irish buffola mozzarella)
How can anyone NOT like cheese? Cheese is love!! (So are potatoes, mushrooms and eggs).

 10 euros for one large pizza. Super worth it!

Funny how it's a beer festival but we only ordered half pint of beer and shared among 3 of us (and we can't even finish it!) 

10. Cork's Jazz Festival
This was an impromptu event that we went..
My friend told me that every year, Cork's Jazz festival is held during exam week and they never had the chance to go. This year, however, we had our exam earlier and so this was actually the first year they could go. 
We're so so lucky! We just came to Cork and we get to experience the jazz festival, which I heard, was the second largest jazz festival in the world!

Food stalls beside the main stage at the city centre~ We tried so many food on that day!
We had chocolate fudge, mini donuts, 2x burger, strawberry & nutella crepe, chunky chips with curry sauce, and many many more!! 
Felt so guilty after that..

11. Halloween
My first Halloween experience! 
We all took a while to get ready xD 
A++++ for the efforts tho for the make up & budget costumes (not that bad right? hahaha)

 My squad 

Favourite pic among all 

12. My 22nd birthday
Post here.

13. Majlis Bersama Rakyat 2015 
Reunited with C, my fellow medic8ions and cohort 8!! 

14. L coming to Cork
First vacation alone! 
Thank you so much for coming. 

Our Dublin trip: here

Our London trip: here

That's about it!
2015 was actually a tough year, academically, socially and mentally but I'm thankful for whatever happened. 

Be more positive, stay strong and embrace what's coming.
2016, please be good! 

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

What to do in London for almost a week?

Went to London twice in December!
My first trip was for Majlis Bersama Rakyat, with other fellow Bruneians.
Super happy because I reunited with my cohort 8 medics, especially medic8ions!!! I miss them so so much! Also, I got to take a decent selfie with His Majesty & Prince Mateen!! So proud of myself hahaha

Of course, fooooooood.

106 Queensway, Bayswater,
London, UK
+ 44 20 7792 8833

Seafood hor fun with egg gravy (£7.50)

 Stewed beef la mian soup (£7.50)

 Szechuan Dan Dan la mian (£6.50)

 Sour spicy la mian (£6.90)

 Sliced beef la mian in spicy beef soup (£7.50)

All of the noodles are pretty nice. It's so nice to have hot soups during winter. They all made me feel so warm and fuzzy~

My favourite one is gotta be the stewed beef la mian soup. It's as good as the beef noodles that I had in Taiwan and Taiwan's beef noodles are EXTREMELY delicious.

The Szechuan la mian that I had has a very strong peanut and sesame taste to it. Szechuan dishes are usually flaming hot and spicy but not this one. Quite disappointing actually.

The others were just ok for me. If you ever go to noodle oodle, order the stewed beef la mian soup. You won't regret!!

Banana Tree Restaurant
21-23 Westbourne Grove,
Bayswater, London, UK
+ 44 20 7221 4085

 Pad thai Chicken (£8.95)
Wok fried rice noodles in tamarind, palm sugar & fish sauce, with eggs, bean sprouts, peanuts & crispy shallots and spicy prawn crackers

It was just ok. I've had better pad thais. To be honest, none of the restaurants in Ireland or London that I've tried have achieved the pad thai taste that I tried in Thailand..or even Brunei. Surprisingly, Brunei's Nur Wanita and Lemon Grass's pad thai are better o___o

The legendary beef rendang with rice (£14.90) 
A famous specialty from Minangkabau Hill tribe of Indonesia. This slow cooked dry & fragrant curry dish is comples, rich & nutty with a toasted coconut based sauce which takes up to 4 hours to cook!

The beef rendang itself is £10.95, which you can rice for another £3.95. Pricey, but this is actually my favourite dish of the night. The rendang is so savoury and goes very well with the fragrant rice!! 

 Aromatic beef pho (£9.25)
This intensely aromatic national dish of Vietnam is made with star anise, cinnamon, roasted onion, beef stock & laced with fresh herbs.

Simply healthy & nutritious! I've never really tried the authentic pho from Vietnam, so I can't really judge if this is a good pho. C said it's not nice tho (while comparing to Vietnam's pho).

The Banana Tree laksa with fishcakes (£8.95)
Rice noodles topped with their house special spiced coconut broth with aubergine, tofu & bean sprouts. Garnished with coriander & crispy shallots.

This laksa is different from the usual ones I had in Malaysia and Brunei. The laksa is thicker and less oily than Malaysia's one. More flavourful, I must say. I like it :D

For my 2nd trip, L and I booked our London tickets fairly late because we were very very indecisive, but I am so happy we made that decision because Cork was raining practically everyday during December. It's terrible..London's weather was rather good (although the air was quite polluted).


I wanted to experience Boxing Day in London so L booked our tickets :) Thank you!!
The earliest ticket available, unfortunately, arrived London at 12pm + 
We probably couldn't get anything already because people usually queue up at 6am to grab the offers (crazy, I know).

Day 1

Took the Citylink bus from Stansted Airport straight to King's Cross/St Pancras Station. I must say the bus service is really good. The bus comes every 30 minutes and it's a NON-STOP, no intermediate stop ride. With just £8/person, you can reach central London! So much cheaper than the railway option (Stansted express costs £19 to Liverpool station or Tottenham Hale station).

Bought the 7-days unlimited travel card option for Zone 1-4 at King's Cross station (£46.10 with oyster card or £51.10 without oyster card; £5 is for the oyster card deposit and it's refundable). 
Come to think of it, it's probably cheaper if we just use the oyster card instead of the travel card because we didn't travel to alot of places..and the places we visited are mostly within Zone 1 and 2, which would probably cost around £1.50 per trip (the price increased by 10p in zone 1-2 starting 2nd of jan tho).

Checked in to our hotel:

Travelodge London Kings Cross Royal Scot Hotel
100 Kings Cross Road
United Kingdom
+ 44 871 984 6272

Went to Westfield Shopping Mall at Shepherd's Bush because you can get almost everything you can get at Oxford Street under one roof, and it's probably less crowded as well! Didn't get to shop much because everything is still so expensive despite the crazy 50% sales during boxing day! D: London, y u so expensive!!

Met up with L's relatives for dinner at Paddington :)

 My fish & chips 

L's spaghetti carbonara

Day 2

Woke up quite late and decided to head to Camden market for brunch..
Nearest tube: Camden Town

Had these caramelised peanuts en route to Camden market (£2/cup)

We couldn't find the market initially as GPS brought us to Camden market but they're selling only clothes and other goods! Little did we know that the food market is actually Camden Lock market! Stupid us T_T

We're quite hungry and there's loads of free sample food :D 
L tried the fried chicken from one of the Thai food stall and we decided to buy it! It's really good!! 
Basically, you can mix and match all the dishes into a small container for £5. The other dishes weren't nice; we should have filled the whole container with the fried chicken!!

At least I got to eat my vegetables though...
Eating out everyday, ever since L came..and it's been protein and carbs all the way T_______T
I need my vege!!

Also had the chance to try Mr Piadina's House Piadina (thin Italian flatbread)!! 

 Grilled Italian sausage Piadina (£7)

 The Brown-wich (£5.45)
Two freshly baked Chin Chin dense chocolate brownie cookies stuffed with Pondicherry Vanilla ice-cream (caramelised unrefined cane sugar & rare Indian vanilla pods that are infused for 12 hours)

 Rich burnt butter caramel ice-cream (£4.45)
The richest, smoothest salted caramel ice cream that puts all other caramel to shame!
I chose my topping to be grilled white chocolate chunks! yummmm

I love the pondicherry vanilla ice cream. It's so simple yet refreshing!! I chose the caramel one but personally, I think it's a bit tooo rich and salty..Well, the menu did say it's salted caramel but I don't really like the combination :( Should have tried the Valrhona chocolate instead (sounds so extravagant right). They also have a weekly specials menu and during Christmas, they have 'Christmas tree' and 'Cherry & Juniper ice-cream'

P.S: my friends tried 'Christmas tree' and disliked it. They had a hard time trying to finish off the ice-cream..

It was only after we filled our tummy that we realised there's even more stalls at the end of the market T________________T much more choices!! :( Totally regret not exploring all the options before we settled for our food! haha
Well, more reason to go again the next time!!

All the foodstalls!! A wide variety of cuisines~

After that, we went to the British Museum.
Nearest tube station: Tottenham Court Road 
Admission: free
Opening hours: 10am - 5:30pm (everyday except Friday; till 8:30pm)

The museum is HUGE. We went there around 4pm and we're so naive to think that we could actually finish touring the whole museum within 1 hour :( We're not even finished with the ground floor..we thought we could visit again some other days but our itinerary was quite packed (and we woke up pretty late everyday as well) we didn't have the chance to fully explore the whole museum! 

We were so full so we decided not to have dinner..but poor L was famished around 11pm and he couldn't help but to keep munching at Ferrero Rocher..

Day 3

We decided to try our hotel's breakfast - English breakfast buffet (£7.95/person)

After breakfast, we headed to Green Park using tube, as we planned to tour Buckingham palace, Big Ben, London eye and Hyde Park on Day 3! Green park is the most convenient one for us as we started off from Buckingham Palace.
If you wanna start of with Big Ben & London Eye first, then head off to Westminster Tube Station instead. Exit 4 directs you straight to Big Ben!

Good weather...for good pictures!! xD

There's the changing of guards on every alternate days. We didn't get to watch it :( 
You can check the dates and time here.

Since we're already nearby, we went to try the traditional fish and chips recommended by Terence.

Great British Fish and Chips
County Hall, Westminster Bridge Road, 
London, United Kingdom
+ 44 20 7928 3019

Fish and chips (£7)

Chicken nuggets (£4)

To be honest, there's nothing special about the fish and chips...and the chicken nuggets were such a rip-off! 5 small pieces of nuggets for £4?? I could get something better and more filling at Camden market!! However, there's incessant groups of people flocking in..the place was really crowded and noisy. The staff were really friendly and tried their very best to maintain the cleanliness of the restaurant.

 King's Cross

St Pancras 

Winter Wonderland @ Hyde Park


Day 4

Day 4 already! Time flies when you're happy :D
Went to Trafalgar Square~

Cafe in the Crypt
St. Martin in the Fields
Ducannon Street
Trafalgar Square, London

 Full English Breakfast (without black pudding) £7.50

 Danish pastry with raisins (£2.85)

Apple pie (£2.85)

The cafe's concept is really cool. It's beneath a church; a brick-vaulted church crypt with gravestones! The pastries were quite good, but kinda sweet to my liking. The English breakfast is just ordinary..
We had a bad experience here though. There's another English breakfast menu, without the black pudding, and costs £6.50. When we ordered Full English Breakfast, the person who took our order did not mention anything about not having black pudding. When we paid, the cashier did not mention anything as well. Even after taking our order, nothing was mentioned..until I noticed that there's no black pudding. We went to ask and the cashier said they didn't have it that day and suggested we could take something else in exchange, which we swapped it with a tiny sausage...

Had we not gone back and asked, they would have just let it be. We paid £7.50 for the same food as the £6.50 menu. How is this worth?? And £1 for a sausage? -____- 
The staff are so unethical!! 

After our breakfast, we went to the National Gallery.

National Gallery
Trafalgar Square, London, UK
Admission fee: Free (donations welcomed)
Opening times: 10am - 6pm everyday except Friday (till 9pm)

After that, we rushed back to our hotel to check out & checked in to another hotel at Tottenham Court Road - St Giles Hotel :)


The bathroom was so much smaller than Travelodge's. I think because it's the festive season and L probably booked it quite late so St Giles's price is 5 times more expensive than Travelodge's.

 Neal's Yard @ Covent Garden 

Covent Garden market

St. Paul's church

L bought this for me as my New Year present. We were persuaded into this shop, Sakare after they gave us free organic soap samples (lol..I'm such a cheapskate >___< )
The salesperson began polishing my nails, and gave us a free hand spa treatment as well as introduced us this mineral peeling gel that's suppose to remove all the deep dirt on your face. 

We're so gullible that we bought 2 of the peeling gel, after he told us it's their 5th year anniversary and we would pay the price of 2 for 3 items..
It was then that I went on the internet to search for this brand and its reviews..
Apparently, numerous people fell into the trap! and they mentioned that the product is not organic as it contains alot of petroleum derivates and some might increase the risk of cancer.
Can't believe we actually bought 2 of it! and they each costed £65..which is about BND/SGD $130?! 

I asked L to return it and I was so afraid we couldn't because alot of people managed to get their refund only after they've made a scene at the shop. Fortunately, it went well for us and we refunded the peeling gel! I didn't refund the nail kit coz' I kinda like it o____o and I suppose applying some on my hand twice per week wouldn't cause as much damage? I hope..
The nail kit costed £25 (roughly SGD $50), which I think it's quite pricey..for just a lotion, cuticle oil and 4-way buffer (for the sake of my shiny nails lol). Oh well..Thanks L!! :D

For dinner, we ate at London Chinatown Restaurant at Chinatown~

 Free prawn crackers!!!

 Corn soup with crabmeat and eggs

 Stir fry chicken with black bean sauce

 Seasonal mixed vegetables
 Sweet and sour pork

 Fried rice

Hong Kong kailan (£10.95)

We read reviews and they said London Chinatown has the best dimsum at Chinatown!! BUT they only serve till 5pm..and we arrived at the restaurant at 5:02pm!!! We ended up ordering a 5-course meal for £14/person and ordered the hong kong kailan because I didn't eat any vegetables for the previous days T__T
I need fibre!!

Piccadilly Circus


Day 5

We bought our breakfast from China town the day before!! hehe

Polo bun (£1)

 Curry bun (£1.20)

Barbecue pork pastry (£1.20)

We then went to Oxford street to shop around. 
Lunch at Gold mine, Bayswater.

Gold Mine Restaurant
102 Queensway, 
London, UK
+ 44 20 7792 8331

Stir fry spicy lady finger (£10)

Char Siew rice (£6)

Duck & braised pork belly with rice (£7.50)

Alot of people suggested us to go Four Seasons in Bayswater..but A and Terence both said Gold mine is better. You'll probably need to queue for a couple of hours, depending of the day and time you go. I think Gold Mine is slowly gaining popularity. I can't say about Four Seasons since I haven't tried it yet, but the duck at Gold Mine is really good!! I'm not a duck person because ducks usually has this duck taste (lol) and I can't stand it. Not for Gold Mine's tho! It's juicy, tender and sweet!! Same goes to the char siew! No fats; all lean meat! Likeeee!!

Went back to covent garden to shop around the Jubilee market. We've been searching for Godiva ice cream since Day 4..Saw one at Covent Garden market but their machine was under maintenance. There's another one is Oxford Street as well but it was out of stock! T___T

Went to Paddington for our dinner! I wanted to try the Malay food at Brunei Hall!! 
Probably the cheapest food you can ever get in London.

Curry fish, Sambal aubergine, Sweet soy sauce chicken with coconut rice (just for £2.10)!!!
The portion was so big that we could share and felt full. The dinner coupon can be bought at Brunei Hall's reception only..however, it's only available for Bruneian students with a UPP card.

After our early dinner, we decided to go back to Westfield Shepherd's Bush as we didn't actually shop on our first day.

 Joe Delucci's Gelato (£3.50 for double scoop ice-cream)
L: Hazelnut x Honeycomb
R: Pistacchio x Oreo

NO REGRETS for ordering the Hazelnut. I didn't even need to try it! Chose that and love it!! The hazelnut is so rich!! Taste better than Nutella :D
So rich that it actually covered the Honeycomb's flavour :[
Pistacchio was nice as well but Hazelnut FTW!! Hazelnut pretty much covered all the other flavours..

A box of Krispy Kreme assorted favourites (£12.95?) + a box of 3 donuts (£4.50)

Thank you for keeping your promise to treat me Krispy Kreme!! 
I've never tried Krispy Kreme before and I've seen it in SG..It's so expensive for a donut.
This was, however, too much tho. We took 3 days to finish everything off (and we had to eat 3-4 donuts per day!) 

Ben's box (£7.75 for 5 cookies in a box + 2 extra free ones)
They usually sell by weight (£17 per kg)


Day 6

Our last day in London :(
At last, Borough Market!!! :D
Nearest tube station: London Bridge

I was super excited for this!! Borough market is one of the oldest and largest markets in London and I've been reading about the good and cheap eats there!! Finally got to try!

Bread Ahead at Borough market's entrance, selling artisan bread!

Olive & cheese bread (£2.50 each or £4 for 2)

 Kappacasein's menu

There's actually 2 different queues for each. Both equally long! We queued for the raclette first..and L was contemplating whether to try the toasted cheese sandwich. I urged him to, because it's probably the last time I would go with him (as we wanna explore other parts of UK too!!) to Borough market. 
So while waiting for my raclette, he queued for the sandwich hehe

 Big block of Ogleshield cheese

Potatoes with grilled cheese, topped with salt and pepper - the perfect combination. After the cheese cooled down, it was quite oily and gluey but I love it along with the soft, mashy potatoes. 

 4 cheese!!

The savoury toasted cheese sandwich that would leave you wanting more!!

Next stop, Scotch eggs from Scotch Tails.
Finally got to try Scotch eggs! I've been wanting to try this ever since I watched the '10 ways to cook your egg' video.

Scotch eggs with sweet potato fries (£7; £4 without the fries)

The eggs were cooked to perfection - cooked white with half cooked yolk - just the way I love. Crispy outer layer of meat, but surprisingly, it was juicy and soft inside! 
But I probably won't buy it again. It's slightly expensive. I mean $8 for an egg? o_o

 Le Marche du Quartier's duck confit

You can choose either the duck sandwich/bun or duck wrap; they both cost £5 each. It's probably the best £5 I've spent in my whole London trip. The duck is the bomb!!!!!
You know how sandwiches or wraps usually have other condiments or salad along with it? Nope, not with Le Marche du Quartier's! I was telling L "Only duck and bun ah?"
But the duck and bun itself was suffice. You don't need anything else to go along with it! The duck is salty enough and so soft. So yummyyyyyy. 
Bring me back to borough market for this!! 

Mulled wine (£4) or you can order the package (£8 for the duck set with a cup of mulled wine; saves you £1!!)

I have to say, I kinda like mulled wine - Red wine spiced and heated (:
The spices blend well with the red wine and it's not as bitter and choking as normal red wine. It has a tinge of sweetness after the first sip as well. 
Mulled wine, over mulled cider, on any day.

Decided to try the mulled cider (£3.50) as well..and it didn't taste as good as the mulled wine. It tasted sour!! We had to force ourselves to finish the whole thing T_____T

Chorizo roll from Brindisa (£4.25 for single; £5.50 for double chorizo & double peppers)

After having the French duck sandwich, we tried the Spanish chorizo roll. The meat is flavoured well. Salty and spicy. I think the chorizo is too small for the whole sandwich though. At the edges, you only get to eat the Piquillo peppers and rocket..Still one of the must tries in Borough market though.

Since we're already at London Bridge area, we went to tour London Bridge & Tower Bridge on the same day:

Tower of London

Headed back to King's Cross station as I wanted to visit the British Library! and guess what? There's a godiva store there!! We walked pass it several times without noticing!!! 


L: Dark chocolate x milk chocolate
R: Dark chocolate 
Both topped with chocolate syrup (£4.50 each)

I've always wanted to try the dark chocolate because it looks so elegant (lol) and creamy xD
However, I'm so glad I ordered the mixed flavour one because the dark chocolate is too rich!! The texture of the dark chocolate is more moist and creamy..but it's also more filling. We feel so full after finishing it..
The white chocolate added the sweetness into the chocolate, so it complements the dark chocolate. I love the combination :D

Look at my height compared to the huge book shelf in the centre of the british library :o

There's 9 branches in London..and we originally wanted to have it in Mayfair, because it's the first branch in London. Then, we decided to have it in Soho as it's the largest branch in London..
We ended up having it at Knightbridge, on the 5th floor of Harvey Nichols because I wanted to shop at Harrod's Food Hall (because I can only afford the stuff in food hall..haha).

Luckily we did because it was New Year's Eve and all other branches closed at 6pm, except for Soho's and Knightsbridge's. Burger and Lobster don't do reservations. So after shopping at Harrods, it was around 6pm..dinner we had to queue for about 1 hour to have a table!! 

 Lobster roll

 Grilled whole lobster

It's really nice!! The lobster roll with the cheese..omg..
The bread is slightly toasted with butter as well. Love it!!  The lobster is very fresh as well. 

After dinner, we queued for the fireworks. 
Worst decision ever. We waited 2 hours+ for 10 minutes of fireworks. The people around us were smoking. Some smoked cigars as well. Goshhhhhh..when we blew our nose hard, our mucus were stained with black tar!! That's how polluted the air was. 

Happy 2016!!!


Day 7

Took the 12pm flight back to Cork. 

Bad weather in Cork. It was practically raining everyday in December..
So glad we spent one week in London. We need more sunshine!! Or else, I'll be gloomy for the whole December.

Thank you L :) 
More adventures awaiting!