Tuesday, 15 August 2017

Orchid Live Seafood @ Bah Soon Pah Rd | Lobster Porridge

I have been watching a new online series called Food King by NOC on Youtube recently and the hosts recommended Orchid Live Seafood Restaurant. Before I watched this show, I already knew about their signature Lobster Porridge as I am a huge fan of it! The hosts were left speechless with the flavours of the dish during the show and I was just nodding away, trying to convince my boyfriend how good the dish really is (He dislikes porridge btw, so much that it would be quite tough to make him eat it).

Orchid Live Seafood has 2 outlets: 1 Bah Soon Pah Rd (The outlet that we went toand 16 Jalan Kelulut.

There is a parking space just outside the restaurant but it can be quite difficult to get a parking lot as there isn't any designated parking lot, you can just park anywhere as long as you're not blocking someone's car or the road. The road is also super bumpy, which makes it even more challenging.

We also didn't manage to get a booking as they do not accept reservations for 2 pax. It was a short 10 minutes wait from 6:30pm but only outdoor seats were available that day. Anything for LOBSTER! 

We ordered the buddies set for $98 nett (2 pax) - Live Boston Lobster Porridge, Steven Chicken, Stir-fried Baby Kai Lan, Topshell Crispy Tofu, and Red Bean Ice-cream.

Fresh Coconut which tasted really sweet and refreshing! The flesh wasn't very easy to dig out though.

Everything served at Orchid Live Seafood, from simple dishes like the Vegetables to the main star (Signature Lobster Porridge) were close to perfection for us. The portion was quite generous for 2 pax and I haven’t even started on the taste of the dishes.

The baby Kai Lan was coated with the right amount of oil and the sweetness level was really good.

The tofu is unlike the common soft and silky texture. Instead, it resembles more of crispy tau pok, stir-fried with onions and tangy sauce. The spice level is quite minimal, but sufficient to entice you to take a second bite, or maybe more.

The skinny-looking Steven Chicken is their signature dish. Don't be deceived by the size of the drumlets because they are packed with so much flavours. I love the garlicky taste of it, but I felt that the meat could be a little more tender. If you like chewing on chicken bones, this is something for you. Anyway, chicken isn't a perfect chicken to me without the skin and bones.

And here comes the MAIN STAR of the day - Their SIGNATURE Lobster Porridge (Which is a magical combination of soup broth and rice). It is similar to the Teochew porridge and nothing like the usual thick and gooey congee.

The soup broth is bursting with the sweetness of the lobster, so much that I feel it may be overshadowing the lobster itself. (But then again, that's just my opinion) The lobster's freshness definitely deserves a mention too. And yes, the portion is definitely sufficient for two. If you are a small eater, you can even order this set for 3.

You can also order the other set menu for $88, but we just didn't mind paying $10 extra for a better quality Boston Lobster.

I have always loved dining at Orchid Live Seafood and I would definitely return again! 

Opening hours: 11am – 11pm (Daily)

Yishun Outlet:
1 Bah Soon Pah Road S769959
Tel : 6756 0311

Jalan Kelulut Outlet:
16 Jalan Kelulut S809033
Tel : 64842495

Thursday, 10 August 2017

Comparison of Shark Movie Reviews

I have been watching Shark movies lately, some which left me a strong impression, some not too good ones and quite a few with ridiculous plots that left me speechless. I decided to do a compilation list of reviews that you may consider before watching any Shark movies, or just watch everything if you're a huge fan of monstrous movies. Okay.. but some are really beyond stupidity.

1) Deep Blue Sea (1999)

Short Summary: A group of researchers study the brains of shark in order to develop a cure for Alzheimer's Disease. Unknown to others, a few of them increased the shark's brain size which made the sharks more intelligent. The rest is history.

Shark types: 3 sharks with huge brains and probably 100x smarter than you

Level of reality: Considering that this is filmed in 1999, the effects are quite convincing.

The Victims: The researchers. I feel like some kind of deserve it though.

Additional comments: Being too ambitious might take your lives. On a side note, this film has a similar concept to Poseidon, with add-on sharks to make it more exhilarating than ever. Trust me, this is one of the best shark movies I have ever watched.

2) The Shallows (2016)

Short Summary: A female student went surfing alone in a secluded beach and got attacked by a shark. With high tide approaching, time is ticking as she tries to come up with different strategies to escape from the shark's attack and swim to safety.

Shark types: A Great White Shark

Level of reality: Not much gore, no crazy bombing, it's a very simple yet intensive shark attack

The Victims: The student who is surfing alone, with a couple more passers-by

Additional comments: I re-watched this movie twice. It's not something with a whole lot of action, but I like watching shows that involve strategies. At least this shark movie is realistic.

3) 47 Metres Down (2017)

Short Summary: Two sisters went on a holiday and joined a cage diving experience where they are submerged into the waters to look at sharks up-close. The cable broke and the cage sinked to the bottom of the ocean floor (47 metres down literally). They have to find a way to escape with sharks nearby and their oxygen tank running low.

Shark types: A few sharks that were lured by bait

Level of reality: Sounds like a possible incident to occur in real life

The Victims: The two sisters

Additional comments: It was an okay movie to me, but I will probably not watch it anytime soon.

4) Shark Night (2011)

Short Summary: A group of undergraduates went on a vacation at a private lake but got attacked by sharks. They found out that someone actually put those sharks into the lakes intentionally, to film college students eaten by sharks alive.

Shark types: Bullshark, Cookiecutter Sharks (what a cute name), Great White Shark, Hammerhead Sharks and more

Level of reality: Do sharks really leap out of the water to bite humans? I thought that the sharks were over-aggressive and they were not even genetically modified. The effects were mediocre but the idea of someone filming the whole shark attack process feels quite sick (Which could be a standout of the movie if they have upgraded the effects and storyline just a little more)

The Victims: College Students

Additional comments: Some people are just so sick in the mind, but that's what makes horror even scarier.

5) 2-Headed Shark Attack (2012)

Short Summary: On a short expedition, a group of students and professor were stranded on a deserted atoll when the ship was damaged by a dead shark. Soon later, they were attacked by another shark 2-headed shark, but had nowhere to run as the atoll is soon to collapse on itself.

Shark types: 2-headed Shark

Level of reality: Even the idea sounds quite ridiculous. I wouldn't mind if the storyline and effects were great. The video-editing was really bad and shark bites were unclear (Felt like the details were cut off due to budget). Oh, and did I mention that the acting was really bad?

The Victims: People onboard the "Sea King"

Additional comments: Let's just say that the title alone makes me cringe. When it's a substandard movie, make sure that something else can make up to it. Storyline, effects, gore - none of these impressed me. I have no idea why they even filmed a sequel - 3-Headed Shark Attack, I cannot bring myself to finish watching it.

6) Ghost Shark (2013)

Short Summary: A shark which was tortured to death by a fisherman and his daughter, became resurrected as a ghost shark and seek its revenge. Soon later, everyone in town were unknowingly attacked, even when there's a slightest bit of water.

Shark types: Ghost Shark, duh.

Level of reality: It's a stupid movie. I'm sorry, but it was so painful to watch. Lousy effects, storyline and acting. I guess I can't judge on the story concept since supernatural movies have a limited reality to it, but at least make it a point to film it better.

The Victims: Anyone in contact with water, even when you're bathing

Additional comments: Not sure if I should watch another similar movie - Sand Sharks

Hope you enjoyed reading my Shark Movies Comparison Review! Feel free to let me know if you agree or disagree with me! Or share some other great shark movies that you have watched before.

Tuesday, 8 August 2017

Floral Garage Singapore | Birthday Surprise for my Dad (Promo Code: moniceXFG15)

Buying flower bouquets used to be such a luxury due to the high price tag. Thankfully, you can now save on your pocket as Floral Garage provides you with an opportunity to shop for beautiful fresh flowers at an affordable price! The flowers start from as low as $34.90 for a decent bouquet of 6 Roses! They also offer premium styles like Rainbow roses or 99 roses bouquet for that perfect proposal you have been planning for months.

Floral Garage has been one of my favourite florist shop so far due to its huge variety of designs, catering to buyers with different budgets.

I have personally ordered the Sunflower Bouquet for my friend's graduation last month and I was really impressed with the size of the bouquet. Worth every single bit of my money! And kudos to the timely delivery.

It was my dad's birthday last Friday and Floral Garage sent a lovely bouquet of flowers to my dad's office on my behalf. He would have least expected a birthday flower delivery and it was a successful surprise for him! (Did you spot the terrariums behind? They're from Floral Garage too!)

Their DIY terrariums are one of my favourites so far! I'm so in love with customization and DIY projects and I really enjoyed my time with that. You can read more HERE.

Before you start wondering, isn't it weird for a guy to receive flowers?

Floral Garage offers a Freestyle Bouquet Customization for those who do not know what flowers to get. Just answer a few simple questions on their page and the florist will design a flower bouquet based on your preferences. So fuss-free and convenient! And it's only $34.90! Where to find such a good deal?!

They have 3 main different styles - Traditional, Modern and Rustic. 

For my order, I made a simple request - Birthday Gift for my Dad, Avoid Roses or girly flowers, and Brighter Colours.

The bouquet included a big Sunflower and 2 Gerbera Daisies. The flowers were fresh and the colours are so vibrant and cheery! I like how the flowers are non-girly and suitable for both guys and girls! Who said that flowers are for females only?

Other than birthday occasions, this bouquet is great for Congratulations/Thank You gifts as well. You may also order some add-ons for your bouquet, such as soft toys or balloons to complete your gift for that special someone.

Thank you Floral Garage for helping out with my dad's birthday surprise!

Remember to quote moniceXFG15 to enjoy 15% off all items! 

*This is a sponsored post, but all opinions are my own 

Sunday, 30 July 2017

Movie Review: The WAR for the Planet of the Apes

When I saw the trailer of The WAR for the Planet of the Apes, I was like YESSSS. I have been a fan of such action-packed movies, but this was just something different from monstrous animals eating up people. I love how the storyline portrayed the never-ending conflict between human and animals (apes), and it wasn't all about the action.

On a side note, reading the movie title makes my tongue twisted, such a long title! 

Rise. Dawn. War. 

Here's a really quick summary of RISE & DAWN (Spoilers alert)

RISE. Scientists were studying a new drug on chimpanzees that is potentially a cure for Alzheimer's Disease, and the chimps were shown to become smarter. However, one of the chimps went on havoc trying to protect its baby (unknown to the researchers who think that it's the side effect of the drugs). They were told to shut down the research and to kill all the chimps, except for an infant chimp named Caesar who was adopted by Will. Years later, Caesar grew up among humans and has inherited its mother's intelligence. Unfortunately, he was placed in an primate shelter due to his wild attacks out of defence for someone. At the shelter, Caesar was tormented, and he eventually found a way to escape and made use of the drugs to increase the intelligence of the rest of the apes. In the process, many humans and apes were killed, escalating the conflict between both parties. They escaped into a forest, with the ending credits showing that the drug has caused a widespread virus over the globe, thus endangering the human population.

DAWN. The virus has spread all over the globe, leaving with just a small group of humans who are genetically immune to the sickness. On the other hand, Caesar became the leader of its pack while Apes and humans stayed separated in their own territory for years. A group of people entered the forest in hope of searching for a solution for a long-term power source, and injured one of the chimpanzees out of panic and fear. Caesar let them off with the mindset that the apes do not want war with humans, and are only out to defend their home. Koba, on the other hand, disagreed with Caesar due to his hatred towards humans. Caesar and Malcolm then came to an agreement and allowed humans to enter the forest for their power source. However, Koba created more conflicts and misunderstanding between the two parties, causing the chimps to attack and subdue the humans. Malcolm eventually rescued Caesar and they made it in time to save the humans and expose Koba's doings. At the end of the rescue, Caesar and Malcom acknowledged the mutual friendship but also understood that this war will never end.

And the war continued...

With years of accumulated hatred, humans were never trusting towards the chimpanzees. However, Caesar strongly held to his belief in finding peace with humans. 

The story build-up was very intensive and I love how Caesar's character was so complex, almost like an human-being (maybe even smarter). And how he was so benevolent and forgiving towards the humans despite their several attacks. 

The show made me feel that humans are so evil and cruel at times, and how unforgiving they can be. I was really sad when some of the apes were killed (so unnecessarily) because of mistrust and hatred. Human and apes are unaccommodating towards each other due to their differences, but the story showed how evilness and greed can take over a human's mind causing us to be as beast-like and no different from an ape. On the other hand, an animal's thought process can be as complex as a human being's.

The story was slightly draggy but necessary to build up the plot, and I was enjoying every moment of the show, secretly rooting for the chimps to win the war (even though I'm human). 

I particularly enjoyed parts of the show where different tactics were used for their escape route, and I can't help repeating at the back of my mind, "Wow, so smart.."

Planet of the Apes is not just any ordinary "humans vs animals war" movie, it is packed with action and emotions with some touching scenes that makes you want to tear especially if you're an animal lover. You might think that this is a serious movie, but there were scenes that actually amused me as well! 

Rating: 4.5/5 

Saturday, 22 July 2017

Primero STÄRKÈ™ Single-Back Ergonomic Office Chair Review

A proper and comfortable room/office chair is really important to me. Why? Because I spend several hours sitting at my desk every single day. Simple as that. Why shortchange yourself with a substandard chair when you can have better choices with Primero? I have been enduring my old chair and it has been irking me for the past few months because of its peeling. I even put an old shirt over because I have no money to buy a new chair. (KIDDING LA, I just didn’t have the time to source for a better chair).

Primero has kindly sent me a Starke Single-Back Ergonomic Office Chair to review.

They also have a range of other furniture - sofa, table, laptop riser, stylish lamps and more! SHOP here for more. 

Although my Princess theme room is in pink and white and the chair does not perfectly blend in with my other furniture, there are still some white parts that matches my room colour. Besides, black seats also mean that they are less prone to dirt and thus making it more durable. 

It's top quality mesh is also imported from Germany - which means great for comfort and breathability and is especially suitable in Singapore's hot weather. Comfort > Design!

Don't mean to start being gross here, but I feel that PVC leather material seems to have an issue with its durability when you sweat a lot. Yes, I do sweat in such crazy hot weather and especially since I always work in the kitchen. On the other hand, this kind of material seems to be longer lasting!

The Starke Single-Back Chair also has a superior Lumbar Support design that aids in good sitting posture. Plus point? It comes with an adjustable head rest! Now you can finally take a deep breath after completing a challenging project, safely lean backwards and let out a loud sigh of relief without giving way to your neck.

I never appreciated head rest that much before.

My bf came over and the moment he sat down on my chair, he didn't want to return the chair to me. Such a bully. 

My STÄRKÈ chair doesn't come with an adjustable arm rest and I don't actually feel that there is a need to have it for myself; the height and angle is perfect for me. But if you prefer to have it, it is available under the options which comes with an additional fee. 

As I have mentioned earlier about "good posture", the chair was pre-installed with a Lumbar lower back support to correct one's seating posture and ensure that the spine is supported correctly and naturally. 

Photo from Primero
Just a point to note: Not everyone can accept the level of hardness that comes from the back support, at least not for me. It is easily removable with a screwdriver though, and I removed my back support on Day 1. Just a small warning: the remaining chair parts may be poking into your back if you lean too much against it. After all, the support has been removed. I didn't feel that it was an issue for me since I am using a cushion and I have no issues with my posture. With a comfortable cushion I could still enjoy the full comforts of my chair. 

Take a look at my work desk area! 

Check out some of their other items too! 

Thank you Primero once again! 


Click here to read more if you would like to know more about good sitting posture and ergonomics! 

Thursday, 20 July 2017

Tsukada Nojo | Beauty Collagen Ramen (Plaza Singapura) + Short Rant

Whenever my friends ask me what do I want to eat, my answer will most likely be "Hmm..Anything but preferably not RAMEN". I don't hate the taste of Ramen. I think it's pretty okay. But comparing to my whole list of other cravings, I would rather spend my money on something I like better. Tsukada Nojo is one of the rare restaurant in which I would suggest going for lunch because of its Beauty Collagen Soup.

Every friend that I introduce to Tsukada Nojo, ALWAYS ask me the same question (At least most of them), "OH! This is the collagen you always post is it?"

Yes it's the same Beauty Collagen Hotpot, except that Ramen is served instead of hotpot during lunch hours, which is also more price-friendly to my pocket.

There are 3 types of soup base Bijin Men Shio (Original) - $16.80, Bijin Men Shoyu (Soy Sauce) - $17.00 and Bijin Men Hokkaido Miso Butter Corn (Miso) - $18.00.

Pick from 3 types of noodles - Beauty Noodle, Thick Mochi-mochi and Thin Tsuru Tsuru Egg Noodles.

I went straight for the Original soup base because nothing beats the original taste of the Collagen Chicken Soup! I didn't want to have additional flavors messing with the soup base. In case you still do not know what is Beauty Collagen, their soup is made from boiling the bones of Jidori chickens in Japan and is known to contain a generous amount of Collagen!

The soup base of Bijin Men Shio is exactly the same as the hotpot served during dinner. It's a good alternative if you are craving for the soup but don't want to join the horrendously long queue in the evening.

The soup is quite thick and flavorful, tastes best before adding any ingredients into it so you might want to give it a try before placing your noodles into the soup. It's really addictive and many have told me that they love the soup after trying it once. The chicken meat itself is really springy and tender, and you can top up meat, noodles, vegetables if you feel that the portion is too little for you. Personally, I find it perfect as the soup can be quite filling if you're finishing down to the last bit. Or top up for more collagen soup!

Bijin Men Shoyu was a little disappointing as it covered the original taste of their signature collagen soup. It tasted like any other ordinary ramen. On the other hand, the Bijin Men Hokkaido Miso was something different, with a strong buttery corn flavor to the soup. It gets a little too oily towards the end. If you're into butter + corn, you can give this a try! Beware of the oil though!

We also had the Nikumaki Rice Ball as our appetizer - Cheese and Yuzu-mayo ($3.80 each). Overall it is quite a filling appetizer but nothing too impressive.

Short rant:

One of the staff (let's call her Staff A) was really friendly and kept joking with Jamie because she ordered everything different from us, so that the 3 of us can taste the different soup broth. I was quite disappointed with the other staff though (Staff B).

Pat & I arrived at the restaurant earlier and we informed Staff A that our friend was late and whether we could enter the restaurant first (knowing that they had a strict rule that all guests must arrive before entering the restaurant during dinner hours).

She said okay, and we proceeded to order appetizer and drinks because we were hungry. Staff B stepped in to inform us that our dining duration is only limited to 1 hour. We were quite surprised because we weren't informed from the start and she stated that it was written at the entrance. Fair enough (Even though I feel that they should remind customers VERBALLY).

So I proceeded to ask if the 1 hour starts from the time our food arrive or from the time we sat down. She said that it was from the time we ordered our food. In which we have already did so. I told her that we were waiting for our friend so can we halt our order otherwise we wouldn't be able to finish within 1 hour. She insisted for awhile before asking how long more will she take to arrive.

I thought that was totally unnecessary! Before I go on, let me emphasize, the restaurant was only less than half filled and there were plenty of seats (It's not a buffet). I feel that it was not a very nice gesture to patronizing customers who are sincerely keen in dining at the restaurant and not hogging the seats for other reasons. Perhaps they could have said something like "The lunch duration is set to 1 hour limit, however we can allow you to stay a little longer if there are no other people waiting in line."

Thankfully, Jamie was already reaching so we let go of the issue and decided to just quickly eat and head to dessert place after for a better experience.

Well at least, the meal was still delicious. 

Monday, 17 July 2017

Experiences That Online Home-Bakers May Face | Monice Bakes

Every job has its ups and downs, and as of this moment, I am still thankful that I chose the unconventional path of running my own online baking business. It's not always a smooth sailing perfect journey and here are some struggles that online bakers may face, with a couple of positive experiences that makes it all worth it.

These are collated from my personal experiences and may not represent all online bakers.

1. The unwillingness to reject orders 

I really dislike the idea to reject my customer's orders and I always try to squeeze in as much as I can, including the most last minute orders unless I really have no time or energy. I believe it's not just about the extra profits I earned but I also value every customer. I can't bring myself to disappoint them, especially if they really trust me to bake for their important event. I also trust brand loyalty, and believe that they will come back for more if they genuinely like my service and cakes.

2. One-man lady show 

There's a never-ending bucket list to expand on my business. There are so many different types of desserts, flavours and designs to experiment. I haven't got time to try on cake pops, steamed cakes and so much more. The list just goes on forever. Not forgetting that I am actually keen on trying out dessert table services. But there's only one of ME. Most home bakers manage the business themselves, at most with minimal help from family members. Sometimes I wish I can do more.

3. Repeated Designs

Sometimes I get repeated requests over the week. I think Tsum Tsum is a very good example. As much as I enjoy baking, I do wish that I can work on newer designs. I'm definitely not complaining. It's natural for people to order designs that are available on your portfolio since they have some samples to refer to. But I really love it when customers trust me to design anything for them! Sometimes spontaneous creativity works even better! 

4. Copyright Issues

This is such a common issue and I'm quite sure other bakers face this struggle of customers sending an design request taken straight from another baker's photo. Sometimes you can even see the name of the bakery. I understand from a customer's point of view that it's only possible for them to use photos found online as a reference since they may not be able to describe or draw out their design in mind. Unless the design is very straightforward and commonly made (such as a normal ombre cake with rosettes), I will usually tell them that I can do a similar design to their photo.

5. Running Out of Storage Space

Space is never enough, especially my fridge space even though I already have 2 fridges at home. I have cabinets filled with ingredients and I'm so guilty of over-shopping on Taobao for decorations and prop supplies. It's an online shopping heaven that helped to improve on my cake photos. I'm glad that I still have leftover space in my room drawers and cabinets for cake boxes and decorations. Sometimes I have a difficult time tracking my stock inventory and I just can't stop buying!

6. Competition

With convenient platforms rising such as Carousell and also the perception of making easy money, there is a rising trend of home-bakers. This is surely unavoidable as it happens in any industry. The only way is to stand out from the rest and also maintain high quality standards from every aspect of the business. Ultimately, customers will return if they like what you sell. 

But then there is also this fear that the bubble might burst anytime since trends change overtime.

7. Unfortunate Hiccups

There are bound to be minor hiccups whenever you bake, especially when cakes are so delicate that any small miscalculation or error may ruin the cake easily. I'm no baking goddess and I make mistakes at times, causing me to redo the whole cake. This is also a reason why I buffer time for my baking orders and ensure that I do not overcommit. Sometimes, you also have to work your creativity to save the cake if it's only slight design mishap. In fact, some spontaneous changes actually turn out looking better than before!

8. Receiving Challenging Requests

I can usually judge if I am able to handle the order based on the requests sent in from the customer. And if I am not confident with the complex design, I will speak the truth and reject the order. It is quite demoralizing to admit that you're not good enough in some ways but it's always better than overcommitment, leading to angry and dissatisfied customers. Sometimes losing a few orders is better than losing your reputation.

9. Passion and Joy

Despite the above struggles that I face as an online baker, nothing makes me happier than to know that everything I am fighting for is worth it at the end of the day. Not many are lucky enough to find a job that they sincerely love after all. I receive a huge deal of satisfaction despite some hiccups along the way, and having appreciative and grateful customers really make my day. On top of that, I also get to escape from the mundane 9 to 6 working hours.

10. Never-ending Desserts to Munch On

It's also a plus point that I get to eat some extra desserts when I have leftovers! (I'm becoming a glutton!) But oh wells..

Let me know if you have the same or different experience from me!

Visit my page for more cakes and desserts!

Monice Bakes is collaborating with My Cozy Room for a spa-themed cupcakes giveaway. There will be a total of 3 winners! HURRY! Giveaway ends on 27 July.