Archive for January 2014

Shangri La Reunion Dinner

The Reunion Night is a big feast for Chinese New Year – as a way to celebrate the new year and have a big feast with the family. We had been invited to attend one at the Shangri-La Hotel – a very nice hotel indeed.

It was quite a grand event – inside one of the ball-rooms, and there was plenty of entertainment both on and away from the table. We started with the infamous Yu Sheng.

Yu Sheng is a dish to celebrate Chinese New Years, and wishing years of joy, good luck and abundance.  

The rest of the courses followed, with the Shangri-La also putting on some other entertainment within the room. It was full of acrobats, trapeze artists and live music – although the music and sound was a bit too loud.

The meal cost $138++ – but it was certainly quite enjoyable, and we certainly ate a lot of food and drink.

I think I just need a couple of days to recover now :)

Shangri-La Hotel
22 Orange Grove Road
Singapore 258350
Tel: +65 6737 3644
URL: http://www.shangri-la.com/singapore/shangrila/

Sunday Italian Brunch at the Mandarin Oriental

When I was here in 2011, a work colleague I was working with really took me in under his wing, and looked after me pretty well. We had arranged a nice Sunday brunch to meet-up with my colleague, his wife and my mum and I – and he suggested to visit Dolce Vita – a nice Italian restaurant in the Mandarin Oriental.

This was not like any other Sunday Brunch, which are usually arranged as a food buffet – this one, they show you the menu, and then provide table service with a selection of every item on the menu. An interesting approach to the Sunday Brunch. So basically, whilst it is 3 courses in total, you actually gave several mini-courses with all of the dishes on the Appetizers and Main Course menu. The dessert was the only one that you had to get up for it.

A very delightful meal – and of course accompanied by Champagne :) The cost was actually not bad at all – at S$158++ per person. An example of the menu can be found here

Dolce Vita
Mandarin Oriental
5 Raffles Avenue
Marina Square
Singapore 039797
Telephone: +65 6885 3500
Email: mosin-dining@mohg.com
URL: http://www.mandarinoriental.com/singapore/fine-dining/dolce-vita/

Aaron acts as a tour guide

Well what an interesting start of the year, an ex-colleague from the UK office was in town, as she was now working on a project that related to Singapore. It was great that she was able to come out and meet her team, whilst at the same time, we managed to enjoy the sights and sounds of Singapore over the weekend – Aaron became the tour guide for the weekend :)

She was in town for about a week, and it was good to see an familiar face and catch-up on the latest happenings from the UK and my old team – it sounded like a lot of change since I left over a year ago. I do kinda miss the UK and Brighton teams, but actually I don’t really miss the work.

So on Saturday, I commenced the tour from the Mandarin Oriental Hotel on the north side of Marina Bay, we then walked along the promenade towards Boat Quay and the Fullerton hotel, we headed across towards China Town, and enjoyed the sights and sounds of the Year of the Horse – as we headed into the Chinese New Year festive period. After that, we took the MRT and went across to Marina Bay Sands, taking the sights and sounds of this landmark. We had a bite to eat at the MBS food court – like any tourist does these days. I then noticed that there was this Ice exhibition on, called 2 Degree Ice Art – in an area just outside of the main MBS facilities. So we went in here, the tickets were a bit pricey at S$32 a ticket, but at least my mum (who was joining us for the tour) was able to register with a Senior ticket (at S$26). The exhibition centre then had the audacity to ask whether we wanted coat and gloves…we asked what temperature was inside, and they said -15oC. I don’t think we had much choice as we were wearing summer-ware!! Anyway, they charged us another S$5 each…making the whole session a total of S$105. Ouch! It was fun inside, and a nice way to see the various monuments of the world calved into Ice Sculptures. We then headed back into MBS, and we decided to do a bit of retail therapy. I got a nice pair of Hush Puppies shoes – very comfortable and reasonable, and a nice selection.

We then had a couple of options, head towards the original Botanic Gardens, or visit the Gardens By the Bay. I decided that we should do this, so we headed there, which is a short walk from the MBS complex. There was a nice Dragon dance within the gardens which was very entertaining (I do wonder what these guys do for the rest of the year!!). We then continued our walk around the gardens until we arrived at the 2 domes, we went to the ticket line. I had my ‘free’ pass, and I then tried to see if there was any ‘senior’ tickets, they said only for local residents, which was a shame. Anyway, I then had this brainwave, and as local / EP-visa holders was slightly cheaper, I pretended to buy one for myself (even though I already had an annual pass entitling me free access), so I got one expensive (S$28), one cheap (S20) and I had my own annual pass …haha! a bit crafty – but that’s me :) If no one tells, I won’t!!

We went into the two domes, I do feel that the flower one is better, as they change the displays to the current themes etc. The first time I went, they had a tulips display, previously it was the horse display, similar to this time. But still nice all the same. The Cloud dome was a bit boring, but was refreshing inside at least.

After this, we headed back towards the hotel across the Helix bridge, just as they were doing some sort of art projection on the ArtsScience museum monument. Very nice indeed, it was like they were throwing paint across it in time with the music. A great show! We then went to the hotel, and relaxed at the bar, and then said our farewells.

On the Sunday, it was more of an Orchard Road tour, so we met up for Brunch at the Wild Honey at Scotts Square location – very nice and tasty indeed. We did a relaxing walk down Orchard Road, being part of the hustle and bustle of the Sunday afternoon. A bit of window shopping and retail therapy throughout the sprawling malls and shops along the road, before we ended up at an interesting wine bar just off Orchard Road – the House of Robert Timms – an interesting spot, as you can watch the world go by and enjoy coffee (or wine, in our case) and chill and relax. We then made on our way, a nice way to end the Singapore tour and the busy weekend :)

Free Watch Repair – Thanks Tag Heuer

Original Watch

Original Watch

A couple of months ago, I noticed that there was a problem with my watch, I visited one of the Tag Heuer shops in Orchard Road, and they advised me that it the mechanism could have been damaged – and they asked me whether I had changed the date/time during the ‘freeze’ period between 8pm and 4am – due the risk of damaging the mechanism – I stated that I am aware of this risk, but stated that I did not do this.

The watch itself is still £2,050 from the Tag website, so it isn’t cheap…so anything to keep it going for another year or two would be great for me :)

I usually change the date/time when I wake-up at 6.30am, so I knew it couldn’t have been this, but this was the only thing that I could thing off that could have been damaged.  Anyway, after researching the issue (yup on Google), I did feel that this was likely the cause of the issue, I decided to email the Tag Heuer Service Centre in the UK, as I had purchased it from Ernst Young in July 2011.  I knew it had a 2 years warranty, so I could be slightly outside of this, but advised them that I noticed the issued a few months ago, and I know for a fact that I didn’t change the date/time during the freeze period, so am confused why the mechanism was damaged,  They said that I had to take it to the Singapore Service Centre, and so I decided to do this.  I decided to visit the local official Tag Heuer service centre here in Singapore and ask them for their opinion.  It was located in an office block within Ngee Ann City (in Orchard Road), so I finally managed to visit there after work (it closes at 7pm, so I had to be quick).

Anyway, they took the watch in for inspection, and after a week phoned me advising that the mechanism was date/time fine, but the face plate had been damaged, possibly due to a shock (like dropping the watch etc).  I knew I had not dropped or banged the watch, so I explained, I don’t think there was anything I did which could have caused this.  I said to email me a quote for me to review, and then I emailed this to the UK Service Centre complaining, that I cannot believe the watch had been damaged, and noting that the watch condition was like this was a few months already.

I continued to have a few more email exchanges between the 2 Service Centres, and then I eventually caved in and agreed for the watch to be repaired. About 3 weeks later, the Tag Heuer Singapore Service Centre called me stating that the face was out of stock, but they had an alternative face – it was still black, but the hour notches were slightly different.  I said to proceed, as I knew I would have had to wait for another month if they had to wait for the parts from another location.  At least, it will now be a ‘unique’ watch :)  They then phoned me back stating that the watch specialist looked at the watch and decided that as a gesture of goodwill, they will repair it free of charge, which was a nice touch from Tag Heuer.

I then received an email SMS on 3rd January advising me that the watch was ready for collection – wow, am so glad that it was free…I now have saved S$510!  Yay!  A happy bunny indeed.

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