Back on Home Turf

20 October 2016
The one thing I miss about Singapore is our apartment. Malls, museums, and parks can all be visited again, but not the one place we called home for four years. In the past, whenever we would go on vacation, we could not wait to get back. Now, that is no longer an option.

Hannah is also missing the only home she's ever known. Since we arrived, she would sometimes wake up in the middle of her sleep and have crying bouts where neither Earl nor I could console her. The more we talk to her or touch her, the more upset she becomes and she starts pointing towards the door.

While I'm sad that we've left, I feel worse about how our baby seems to be heartbroken. There is nothing to do though, but to wait it out and let her get used to her new surroundings.

On a more positive note, I will be spending my time window shopping for our house and updating this blog with posts from our last month in Singapore.

Choupinette

30 August 2016

We once had an early morning appointment at Coronation Plaza so I decided to search for a place nearby where we could have breakfast. Luckily, Choupinette was just across the street.

On our first visit, we ordered the Eggs Royal's (not sure why it's spelled with an apostrophe) which Earl and I both liked. Their brunch sets are quite generous with the drinks as it comes with two beverages - one cold and one hot. For me, this is great if you're having a leisurely meal as I couldn't finish both drinks due to time constraints.

We so enjoyed our breakfast that we said we would come back. But since Choupinette is a 15 minute cab ride from our apartment, and the fact there's nothing suitable for our baby to eat (she throws up with anything that contains eggs), it took us a few months to return. We finally got around to it when my sister, Katrina, came to visit.

Earl got The Tristan's which was just okay (your usual breakfast sausage) while I ordered the Eggs Royal's again. Though after tasting what Katrina ate (Le croque-monsieur), I wish I had gotten that instead. My meal was still good, but my sister's order was better. Well, this will just give us another reason to come back.


Eggs Royal's (SGD 26+)
Eggs on toast with smoked salmon and hollandaise sauce + any fruit juice + any hot coffee or hot tea or hot chocolate


Le croque-monsieur, poulet or vegetarien (SGD 19.90+)
Grilled sandwich with a choice of ham, chicken or eggplant with emmental cheese and bechamel sauce


The Tristan's (SGD 24+)
Scrambled, poached or fried eggs with pork or chicken sausage, mushrooms, a "tomate provençale" and a wholemeal bread roll with butter + any fruit juice + any hot coffee or hot tea or hot chocolate


The restaurant itself is small (can be cramped) but cozy and they only accept reservations during weekends for groups of six or more. So, if you do end up waiting for a table, you can either shop (they also sell cheese and freshly baked goods) or pop by the German Market Place next door to pass the time.


A Bend in the Road

25 August 2016

Things are still up in the air, but after four wonderful years in Singapore, we might be going home.

On the one hand, I am very excited at the thought of finally being able to fix up our house. We are now thankful that we weren't able to sell it or have it rented out because it means we get to be the first to live there. Another appealing prospect is having friends and family nearby (hooray for babysitters!!!).

On the other hand, I really like Singapore as there are so many advantages to living here. It's safe, so very easy to get around (no traffic), and we get to save more. Not to mention that it's an ideal place to raise children.

So which would I prefer? I'd honestly be happy with either one.

Five Seconds of Fame

10 August 2016
Earl is in a magazine! Okay, it's a group picture and his name is not exactly mentioned, but as the Regional Head for Learning & Development and Talent Management, he's played a part in at least three of the five highlighted achievements.


Baptism Supplier Ratings

05 August 2016
Here's how our suppliers fared during Hannah's baptism - 10 being the highest and 1 the lowest score.



Church - Santuario de San Antonio
Price - Php 4000
Rating - 9

Pros:
Transacting with the parish office was a breeze and the baptistry was clean.

Cons:
The only baptismal candles that can be used are the ones purchased at the parish office. This wasn't really a problem, but I wasn't too fond of the color or the design.




Reception Venue - Conti's Bakeshop & Restaurant (Greenbelt)
Price - Php 55,580 or 694.75 per person (80 pax)
Rating - 5

Pros:
Both the food and venue weren't bad. The function rooms are located on the second floor and has its own toilet (two actually - separate for males and females).

Cons:
- Initially they didn't want to honor the contract. We paid the deposit in May and signed the contract for 60 guests. But when we inquired about increasing our guest list, they informed us that the original rate they quoted is no longer valid as they will be having a price increase in July. I asked them what was a signed contract for if they had no plans of honoring it? In the end, the rate for the first 60 pax stayed the same and they applied the rate increase for the additional guests.

- Terrible customer service. We had an appointment with them at 3:00 PM to check the venue and pay for the extra guests. We arrived on the dot and was met by one of their sales agents. After less than five minutes she went downstairs and WE NEVER SAW HER AGAIN. We waited for 15 minutes before checking up on her, then we asked at least four other people and either they said she was coming back or we didn't see them again too. Our event stylist was also there with us to confirm the schedule and the layout so we were both just waiting for someone to show up.

After 30 minutes, I got mad. I was able to speak to an agent named Mia to inquire on who we could talk to and she basically asked us in an exasperated tone, "What else is there to talk about?" I replied back, "A lot!"

Take note, we had an appointment. If they're so busy that they can't attend to their customers properly, then they shouldn't have confirmed.

- They wouldn't let our guests in the venue. The reception officially started at 1:00 PM but I told them during our meeting that I've asked the guests to arrive at 12:30 PM. They said okay. On the day itself, they refused to let our guests in until 1 PM. One of my friends had to convince them to open the doors.

- The food was late. One would expect that if an event starts at 1 PM then the food should be ready by then - especially since they charge a fee if we stay past 3 PM. More than 30 minutes later, they started serving the buffet but it was incomplete. They told me that the missing food will be served to the tables directly. I said that would look horrible - buffet line with at least two chafing dishes empty?

The dessert (cake slices) was also not part of the buffet, so we had guests who never got to eat as they had to leave early.

- They ran out of dessert. I asked if we could bring home the excess cake slices and I was informed that there ware none. I asked how could that be when an entire table of 10 left early and didn't get to eat? To make up for it, they gave a small cake to take home.

- They assured me that the venue can accommodate 100 guests. Realistically, it can only fit a maximum of 80 people. We had less than 90 guests and they were packed liked sardines. Many people had a hard time getting in and out of their chairs especially if they were in between other tables.

- No elevator. So if your guests are in wheelchairs, you'll need to ask for help. In our case, the servers helped my aunt in going up and down the stairs.





Event Stylist - Dianne Khu Designs
Price - Php 23,000* + Php 2170 for loot bags, crew meals & signage
Rating - 8

*Inclusions:
1. Overall Theme Design Mood board, layout
2. Stage Backdrop – Flat/Tarpaulin
3. Table Decor Custom Table Numbers and Flat Placecards
4. Ceiling Décor Lanterns (max of 3 colors)
5. Manpower & Delivery

Pros:
Dianne was easy to talk to, I loved everything she did, and her rate was reasonable to boot! I'd definitely recommend her to anyone who needs an event stylist.

Cons:
She initially came up with a design that I didn't approve of and already had it printed out, but she rectified the situation beautifully. Just tell her exactly what you want and ask to see the final layout before she sends everything to the printer.

Apparently, it's her policy to only get approval for the anchor areas - the stage and/or the dessert table - the other areas (such as small printables and entrance signages) are upon request.




Photographer - Mhel Mesa Photography
Price - Php 3000
Rating - 1

Pros:
The price.

Cons:
- Most of the photos were blurred and a lot of them had weird angles (as though they were trying to follow the rule of thirds but not quite making it).

- It seems they only took pictures at the start of the reception so some of our guests were not in any of the photos.

- Mhel said that they would send the DVD with all the shots (edited and unedited) three weeks after the event which was held on December 26. Almost two months later (February 20), she said she was already uploading the photos. More than a month after the first follow up, she claims that she had "issues in life" and thus was not able to send the DVD. As of today, we have yet to hear from her.

Planning a Baptism: Photographer Search

25 January 2016
It took me a few months to look for a photographer mostly because I could not make up my mind. Do we splurge on a more experienced supplier or settle for someone not as known?

Little People Lifestyle Photography


Mhel Mesa Photography


Rio Jones Photography


In the end, we decided that we just needed a photographer who could do a decent job of documenting the day. So when someone recommended Mhel Mesa, I was thinking that trying out a newbie might work. The photos she posted online looked good to me and her rates were definitely appealing.

Planning a Baptism: Using an Event Stylist

20 January 2016
Since none of my friends are creative or artistic, we decided to hire someone to spruce up the reception venue. After searching online, we asked the following stylists for a quote:

DianneKhu Designs


Party Magic


Choosing DianneKhu Designs was a pretty easy decision to make. Aside from the more attractive rate, I liked her sense of aesthetic.


 
Designed with ♥ by Nudge Media Design