Monday, September 27, 2010

Cake, cake and more cake

There are two things I love about German food: the breakfast and the afternoon tea. So the next few posts will be about breakfasts and cakes. My mum's cheese cake was on the top of the list of foods I look forward to eat while I am back in Germany and I didn't need to ask twice for it. 

A fresh and fluffy cheese cake was already waiting for me when I arrived Saturday morning. For a minute I thought about not eating breakfast and just a piece of cake. Clearly a very insane thought after I saw the yummy bread rolls, the different types of cheese and cold meats on the table. I saved the cheese cake for afternoon tea and it was fantastic. It almost melted in my mouth.

I just love the whole German afternoon tea culture. It is kind of a ceremony: sitting down with the family at 3.30 pm, with freshly brewed coffee, served in a coffee pot made out of porcelain and home baked cakes. 

We had a little family get to together yesterday afternoon. And of course there was more cake, or better  cakes: left over cheese cake, my sister's chocolate cake, my grandma's plum cake with crumbles and apple cinnamon cake. I didn't try all of these cakes as much as I wanted. I only had more cheese cake and small piece of plum cake which is really good too. I compensated for eating so much cake by working out for an hour in the morning, fish for lunch (no potatoes) and salad for dinner (no bread).

There is still another and, sadly, last piece of Cheese cake waiting for me in the fridge....

Friday, September 17, 2010

Morning runs and yummy breakfast

I have been avoiding running outside for the last 6 months. Mainly because it is way too hot in Singapore to run outside and we live also in the CBD. So I did my running on the treadmill in the gym in our apartment building. Oh man, I got so bored with it. Not only made it me feel like a hamster, I also noticed that it does not get my heart rate up high enough to burn any calories and fat. What's the point of running on the treadmill then? 
I switched to interval training instead. For example, 5 minutes warm up, then 2 moderate speed, then 1 to 2 minutes sprinting, then pull back to moderate, then increase incline and so. I do this for about 30 - 45 minutes. Depending how I fit I feel and how motivated I am because I still feel like a hamster when I run treadmill. 

Besides my other gym workouts,the hubby and I enjoy doing something active on the weekends. Usually we would explore one of the many reservoirs in Singapore. (Did you know that Singapore is actually very green and it is more like a city surrounded by rain forest?) Our favourite reservoir is Macrichtie which has many different trials, from 3 km to 14 km. Usually we are also to see some monkeys along the way. A few Saturday mornings ago, I suggested to the hubby that we should run instead of power walk the track - just to challenge ourselves. Suddenly there we were, running the cross country track for about an hour. Boy, that was hard work but it also gave me this awesome "running high" which I did not get from the treadmill training. The "running high" makes the hard work worth it. The realisation that I can run outside in Singapore (yes, it is bloody hot and you sweat like a pig - not a nice picture, I know) motivated me and also anger me to do it more often. 

It became our little routine that we would go for a run instead of walks on our Saturdays. And now I have started to run by myself during the week too. I run along the river here, from Marina Bay where our apartment is, passed Boat Quay, Clarke Quay and Robertson Quay. It is a nice and peaceful 45 minute run because it is not packed with the tourists yet and hardly any of the cafes/ restaurants are open yet. 

So this morning I bounced out of the bed when the alarm went off, despite being super tired, had my cold green tea and a banana to get some energy and I hit the pavement. Man, this morning it was so hard to run my usual track. My legs are so sore heavy and slow from kick boxing yesterday and the little man in my head was screaming at me to stop. But I made it. I ignored the little man and the feeling I made it felt even better than normally.

The best part after a morning run: a yummy breakfast. This morning I had porridge with natural yoghurt (for protein), cinnamon (good fat burner) and strawberries and some great Oolong tea. 

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Is eating healthy while travelling impossible?

My passport will be the proud owner of many stamps of, at least, 8 different countries by the end of this year. Not bad effort, don't you think? That I am struggling with the fact to hand over that passport when I will change my name officially is still a small issue though. I like those stamps and I like travelling a lot.

There is only one thing about travelling which I seriously loathe: it is nearly impossible to eat healthy while travelling. Working out while travelling is more easy, just your pack your runners and gym gear and hit the hotel gym before breakfast or go for a run outside.

I started to watch my diet more closely and became a little health nut lately. My husband would probably describe my eating habits as “eating for the thighs and butt instead of the stomach”.  (Baby, that’s not a bad thing since you are the one who has to put up with my thighs in the long run.) So I discovered eating healthy while travelling is possible, maybe not as healthy as at home, but still.  It just takes some planning, preparation and discipline. This is what I do: 
  • I eat before I fly. Not just snacking at the airport or so, eat a proper meal.  
  • For longer flights (more than 2 hours), I request a “low fat” meal when booking my flight. Just go to special request and tick the box.  Just like as if you would request a vegetarian meal  or a kids meal. The best part is you get your meal served before everyone else.  While everyone else eats, you can use the toilet and you don’t need to queue up and you get to go to sleep much earlier (if it is a night flight). (Oh, did you know a normal inflight meal contains 500 - 1000 calories - this is without counting the drinks? Just google it, you will be surprised to see the results.)
  • For short flights, I eat before the fly and say no to the snacks/sandwichs what are served on the plane. 
  • For any flight, I pack healthy snacks like apples, nuts, vegetable sticks, you name it. That also helps me to have a snack while driving to the hotel or before a meal at the destination. Often I arrive at weird times and due to the time difference, I may be hungry when I land. 
  • I also take an empty plastic bottle with me and fill it up with water or I buy a bottle of water once I passed the security check. As everyone would know, the dry plane air dehydrates you plus I never know when I will be able to drink some water after I arrived.

These few pointes have really helped me to stay on track with my healthy eating habits. The only and biggest problem I faced so far is when flying back home or during a stop over, there is only McDonalds, KFC or Starbucks at the airport. I still cannot believe that there are so many people out there who are happy to queue up at McDonalds. 

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Why being stared at made me almost cry

Ever since we relocated to Singapore, I face the issue that people stare at me on almost a daily basis. Knowing that staring at other people is not consider as rude in Asia and the fact I do look different to the Asian ladies with my blond, long hair and blue eyes, I did not mind it so much at the start. I basically ignore it and big sun glasses always helped too. Over time, I sometimes felt a little bit more brave and even stared back and imitated their way of staring at me by scanning them from head to top. Something must have changed lately because I cannot ignore it as easy anymore as I used to. It makes me feel more and more uncomfortable.

Last weekend in Malaysia, I felt so uncomfortable that I was on the verge of crying and hiding in our hotel room after being continuously stared at for 3 days. Don't get me wrong here and, yes, I know I should take it as a compliment. Seriously, it is not a nice feeling when everyone just looks at you. It even went so far that some people would start to talk to their friends or family and then everyone looks again. It made me feel very insecure about myself, vulnerable even. In particular when I lay in a bikini by the pool and had one of those "fat days".

I guess the fact that Malaysia has a large Muslim population contributed to the fact that I was stared at when lying in a bikini by pool. For me it is so normal to go swimming in a bikini whereas for other cultures it is strictly forbidden to reveal so much skin. It was actually forbidden to go swimming fully clothed and/or with a scarf according to the hotel rules. So I did not do anything wrong by wearing a black bikini, it wasn't a tiny skimpy piece either.

Still a bit battered and down by this experience , I googled a few expat and travel forums today to see (and get assurance) if anyone feels in a similar way I feel. Maybe I am just a little weak princess who should toughen up more. And yes, there are heaps of Western people who feel in the same way and no I am not weak little princess. Every Western person seems to have an issue with being stared at and it is not the issue of rudeness. It is about being uncomfortable, the feeling of being judged by all these stranger. I am not sure if these strangers really judged me when staring at me. They probably still wonder about me looking different to them. Not a bad way.

But I can't help it, it makes me feel so uncomfortable. So please no more stares, please. How do you feel being stared at? Do you love it or loathe it? 

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Getting old = looking older?

Lately I have noticed a few fine lines around my eyes, on my forehead and also some of the laugh lines around my mouth are getting deeper. I was so shocked when I spotted them and I shouted a big and angry "What the hell? How did that happen?" at myself in the mirror. And then it hit me - I am getting bloody older. Yes, this is the sad truth. I am telling you I don't like the fact that I can tell by looking at my face that I am getting older. So far, I don't have any issues of getting older in terms of the number of the candles on my birthday cake. (In fact, I love cake a lot, oh sorry that is beside the point.) It is just a number, right? Maybe ask me again when the number of the candles will be 30. 

So the number may not be an issue, I don't like wrinkles and fine lines - that's an issue. Anyone who says that she or he does not have any problem with ageing and getting wrinkles, I think you are lying. Or maybe can I have some of your secret mantra? I read the other day that Julia Roberts doesn't do Botox (good on you, girl) because she thinks "your face tells the story of your life". Her statement sounds very charming and philosophical. Hang on, on a second thought, does this mean if you have a lot of wrinkles and lines, you had a bloody hard life whereas no wrinkles and no saggy skin mean you cruised easily through your life? Maybe we should look at Ms Paris Hilton and see if she has any wrinkles. Her life must be easy, right? Oh I forget those arrests and jail time. 

So after the shocking realisation that my skin is my ageing, I jumped in a depressed state of mind on the net and researched some anti-ageing products. I figured I can still prevent a more severe damage and I found it. I raced to the nearest Sephora and bought Estee Lauder's serums Advanced Night Repair Synchronized Recovery Complex for the face and eyes. It promises to deliver a "continuously repair the appearance of past damage, prevent future damage and deliver high levels of hydration". Exactly what I wanted and also needed. 

I can happily say - I am loving this stuff. I only have been using it for 3 weeks so far and it smoothened out some of the lines I detected recently. These two little serums are a great addition to my Clinique 3 step skin care plus their Superdefense Moisturizer and Super Rescue Antioxidant night creme. 

I have a slightly better feeling about these lines now but still I don't like ageing. Do you?

Friday, September 3, 2010

Shopping Success

This blog gets suddenly a lot of attention after being left unwritten for almost 2 weeks. I guess I have make up to it and give it some extra attention. Not only is this the third post in 2 days, no, it also got a little make over. I like to mix up my daily make up so why shouldn't get "Glossy Daily Adventures" a little make up change. What do you think? 

So I am back from my little trip to Orchard Rd. Funny enough, I was so excited about going shopping and then as soon as I entered my favorite shopping centre ION, I almost felt like going home again. As if someone planted a thought in my head telling me shopping isn't such a good idea today and that I should rather go back home. Hubby, was that you? Were you worried about our credit card bill? 

Let me tell you, of course I didn't go home. I pull out my little shopping list and made my way to the shops. First stop, TopShop. Can someone please explain me what is so great about TopShop? It seems like a bad version of Sportsgirl to me. Next stop, Zara: Unexpected, I found some cute shoes, brogues, there. Brogues were on my little shopping list and I was surprised to find them in Zara. I saw some in Steve Madden and Topshop, they looked too chunky. So, one thing off the list. 

More browsing through Bobby Brown, MAC, Warehouse, Witchery, Mango and Sephora to the next stop: Levi's. I wrote this morning that I wanted to check out the new Curve ID jeans (also on my little shopping list). The Curve ID jeans are Levi's latest jeans. They are advertised with the slogan "It is about shape not size". Basically, Levi's offers different shaped jeans for different body shapes. Sounds like a good idea to me because not everyone has 0% body fat and is a AUS size 6. Before I was able to try on any jeans, the retail assistant measured my waist and hips and wrapped another string around me to determine which shape I am. Proudly, she announced I am a "Bold ID" and went off and got me a number of different cuts like skinny, straight etc of the Bold ID jeans. But here is the catch, there are still sizes. So you won't get around the size issue. And let me tell, it is not much fun trying on jeans when you are surrounded by super skinny Asian ladies who can easily squeeze into a size 24.  

So I went quickly back into my change room, took a few deep breathes, looked in the mirror and told myself that I look awesome. Hey, that really worked - I snapped out of it and walked out with two new pair of skinny jeans plus another $40 voucher. Nice, I think I will buy the hubby a new pair of jeans next week. 

Quick stop for lunch, next stop Aldo: my favorite shoe shop, and I ended up buying two more pair of shoes there. After that I figured that was enough shopping for one day. I don't want to give my hubby a heart attack when he sees our bank balance. 

And here are my new shoes... The brogues and boots will be very handy for Germany. 

Shopping day

Now that my uni assignment is filed, I have a whole free day ahead of me today. Yes, I have been looking so much forward to today. And what does a girl do on a free day? Yes shopping! I am going to put my most comfy pair of shoes on (after I wrote this post) and then I will hit the shops. My destination: Orchard Rd. I mentioned yesterday that I will be flying to Germany in a few weeks, so I need some autumn clothes but I also will check out the new Curve ID jeans from Levi and jackets, pants and shoes for work. You heard correctly, I said work? Yep, going back to work in November. Between that and flying to Germany, I think I have enough reasons to shop, don't you think so? I will report back.  

Thursday, September 2, 2010

The secret to happiness?

Last Sunday, I was in my favorite book store here in Singapore while the hubby was next door studying golf clubs. I was browsing through the latest books, not that I actually need any new books, I have about 20 books here which are waiting for me. Suddenly my eyes were drawn to this book. There he was, a Jesse doggy. I had to buy this book straight away. I didn't even look what the book is about. I just couldn't take my eyes over the cover. Silly by me, but you have to credit the marketing strategy. Put a cute dog on the cover. 

I haven't started the book yet, but God, I miss my little doggy Jesse. Yes, and I will see him in about 7 weeks again. 7 weeks and then we will be back in Australia, just in time for the Aussie summer. I am so excited that we are going back home. That is my secret of happiness - knowing that we are going home and giving Jesse a cuddle soon. 

But before it is time to pack our few things in Singapore, we have some interesting trips coming up. We will fly to Penang in Malaysia for 3 days next Friday. The hubby was born and lived for 2 years there. It will be interesting to see where he spent the first 2 years of his life, not that he actually can remember it. I will also fly to Germany for about 2 weeks at the end of September. I am looking forward to spending some time with my family and see a few old friends that I haven't seen in years. Keep your fingers crossed that the German autumn will show some mercy and won't be too cold and wet. After months of sun and 30 degrees every day, that would be very tough for me. Hang on, that means I have to stock up my wardrobe with autumn clothes, doesn't it? Perfect, because the autumn fashion is now out in Singapore. I think I might check out Orchard Rd tomorrow. 

Yes, there is one more overseas trip before flying back home. We are going to Shanghai for 4 days. The hubby is brave and took on the challenge to play Aussie footy for Japan in the AFL Asia cup. Our lovely friends from Tokyo will fly over too. So while the boys play their footy, we ladies will have to check out the shops. Any suggestions?

Lots of travelling this year. By the end of this year, I will have seen 9 countries. 9 is such an uneven number. 10 sounds way better. How do I get to the 10th country? Anyhow, I have to go, my vegetable lasagna is finished and smells delicious.