Online shopping fail

The other day, I decided to get some supplies from an online Japanese supermarket.

I was wanting to buy some purple sweet potato Kit Kats. You see, I’d been craving purple yam desserts for years because England doesn’t believe in yam, and I thought this Kit Kat could be close enough to do the job.

 

Purple Sweet Potato Kit Kat

 

So, I ordered two of those, alongside £75 worth of Japanese groceries to qualify for free shipping.

I also found my favourite peanuts in the world (Kasugai cuttlefish peanuts) in the same shop so I was over the moon.

But never mind that. Here are my Kit Kats:

 

Very tiny mini Kit Kats!

 

WOAH. Could they get any bigger??

I guess I should have known better. The product does say “Mini”. And I had actually bought green tea Kit Kat Minis about five years ago.

Still, that was five years ago. I have a bad memory and all the Kit Kats I’ve eaten since have been normal people-sized ones.

Also, the price of the mini Kit Kat is more than 10 times the price of a normal Kit Kat. So you could perhaps excuse my mind for thinking I would get something a tad bigger.

Anyway, caveat emptor and all that. I’m not really complaining, just terrified that Piers will scold me now that he knows what those Kit Kats cost. :O

They were very tasty but did not satisfy my yam craving because they are kind of different.

Then, there was the matcha.

 

Marukyu Koyamaen Wako Premium Stone Ground Matcha Green Tea Powder

 

I’d never bought matcha before so I chose this one based on the fact that the packaging is very pretty and it’s the most expensive one in the shop.

(I was worried the cheaper ones would taste gross.)

(And I really do like the packaging.)

Well, here’s my pretty matcha.

 

Very expensive, almost invisible, matcha

 

:O :O :O

I had expected it to be maybe three or four times bigger??

Yes, the weight is listed on the product page but who can tell off the top of their heads how much physical space 20 grams of powder takes up?

More importantly, I tend to ignore measurements when online shopping. Who has time to scrutinise everything?

Okay, I just did a Google search and my matcha doesn’t seem very expensive anymore. From what I can tell, matcha prices range from £1 to £20 per 10 grams.

But it was still rather shocking.

Anyway, one more item.

The great Daikon radish, otherwise known as mooli in England. It’s so very tasty in stews and soups because it soaks up all the wonderful flavour and explodes-melts in your mouth (but you have to cook it long enough).

 

Daikon radish aka mooli

 

Now, I’ve never bought one in Singapore (I didn’t cook back then) and UK supermarkets generally don’t stock it. So my only experience with it has been eating the final product all diced up and cooked.

I had accidentally found it for sale in Ocado last year, but only managed to buy two before it was gone from the virtual shelves. I’m not sure if it’s because no one buys it or because it went out of season.

After it disappeared, I would check every so often while doing my weekly grocery shop, but it never came back.

(Hey, I just now did a quick check and it’s back! Ocado has mooli again! They actually just stocked it because the last time I checked was a week ago.)

So, anyway, I bought this Japanese mooli even though it cost £4.99. I thought it was really expensive, expecting it to be the size of the one from Ocado (about twice the size of an average carrot), which had cost £0.70.

I bought it anyway, visions of exquisite braised beef with Daikon radish soaking in savoury sauce filling my head.

And, of course, the Daikon radish turned out to be gigantic.

 

Daikon radish vs regular carrot

 

I photographed it with an average-sized carrot to offer some scale.

You might think the size of it is a good thing but at the very moment I was fishing it out of the delivery box, I was thinking, “Oh, my God, what have I done?”

What in the world was I going to do with a giant vegetable? Much as I love it, I didn’t really want to be eating it every day for a week.

Yes, I should probably have been clued in by the weight listed on the product page. But again, who goes around knowing what a carrot weighs?

Anyway, we managed to finish it in three weeks. It kept surprisingly well in the fridge even with bits chopped off it, so that was a good ending.

Well, as you can tell from reading this post, I haven’t got time for anything most of the time, so gotta go, no time to waste! Until next time!

 

 

Beaches, bikinis and food, is all

So, I’m home from Mallorca, in front of my computer now, trying to claw my way back to the surface of reality.

Holidays always throw me into a dreamlike, soupy funk from which my ego refuses to emerge until I have unrelentingly walloped it in the face with a wooden spoon so that it has no choice but to come to its senses.

As you can tell by the way I am speaking in abstracts, I have not quite found surface. But I am sober enough to update my blog by now, even if I haven’t gained sufficient lucidity to write in a non-trippy way.

Therefore, I think it would be wise for me to write less and show more.

That means photos!

 

Sheylara in Mallorca

 

All photos were taken in Cala d’Or, Mallorca, a little beach town from which Piers and I didn’t venture an inch because we are lazy bums.

But there is really no need to go anywhere when you have sand, sea and sun (and, in my case, iPad) within reach.

 

 

Not so hot dog legs

My version of hot dog legs.

 

 

Cala d'Or beach

Cala d’Or beach is tiny at 40 metres wide, perfect for families with little ones because it will be really hard for you to lose your little ones here (unless you’re an iPad addict, then I can’t say for sure).

 

 

Sheylara in Black and White

The town centre has a great selection of cafés, restaurants and bars (and shops) for your hedonic pleasure.

 

 

Seafood Paella

Seafood Paella is a one such pleasure.

 

 

Sangria

Sangria is another.

 

 

Padron Peppers

And Padrón peppers, which are so very, very tasty and full of wholesome goodness, containing vitamins A, B1, B2, C and P, proteins, calcium and iron.

 

 

Garlic mushrooms

I love Spanish food because it is so generous with seasonings, herbs and flavours. This garlic mushroom dish had nearly as much garlic as mushrooms.

I ate up all the garlic.

Piers didn’t mind.

 

 

Bread and olives with ali oli sauce

Bread and olives with alioli (or aioli) sauce are a common starter in Spanish meals. I love the sauce. It’s a blend of garlic, olive oil, salt and egg yolk.

 

 

Dress-down weekend

The best thing about going on holiday is being able to buy new holiday clothes (without telling Piers).

 

 

Bikini

This is one of the bikinis that I bought two years ago and forgot to pack for my first Mallorca holiday. I never wore it until now.

 

 

White bikini

And another one.

I bought four in all. Which is quite stupid considering that I never go to the beach (or even swimming pool) if I can help it.

 

 

Just another

Cala d’Or beach is a couple minutes’ walk from the Marina de Cala d’Or, where you can find a good selection of restaurants and a few shops. And lots of boats, of course.

 

 

More peppers

More Padrón peppers, because I can.

 

 

Sirloin steak with Roquefort Sauce

We ate lunch at this restaurant called Zocalo, which offers a 3-course meal (with choices for each course) for only €15. Piers and I had the peppers for starters and sirloin steak with Roquefort Sauce for mains.

I didn’t know what Roquefort Sauce was so I asked the waiter, who said in halting English, “Uh… is… ahh… creme.”

It turned out to be a cheesy cream sauce which is really nice for vegetables but I don’t like it on my steak.

Also the steak looked a bit sad and pathetic, which made me a bit sad. But it explained the €15 price tag.

 

 

Right. That’s too much said, and two too many bikini photos shown.

Don’t you think?

Next time, I will talk about jellyfish.

Random stuff I feel like talking about

#1

I have decided to get on Instagram, finally. It’s one of those things I didn’t want to do when everyone else was. Now that I’ve dallied enough, I find that someone has already taken the username sheylara (why???), thus forcing me to coin the very creative alternative of sheylara_uk.

So, there’s a lesson for you. Don’t be stubborn. Nothing wrong with being an excitable pup and rushing to join everything on the first day of launch.

I have just posted enough photos (7) for Instagram to create a montage cover for me. I like it. It feeds my vanity to have a portfolio of my pretentious artsy photographs displayed like that.

 

Instagram profile page

 

So, I’ve done that. Your job is to follow me and like all my photos from now on! :D

Pretty please with a cashew nut on top? Honey roasted!!

 

#2

I’ve started a fitness regime to prepare for Mallorca and I hope I’m not too late. I have four bikinis to look decent in by September. (They’re the ones I bought in 2011 and never got to wear because I forgot to pack them for my 2011 Mallorca trip).

If you recall, I’m not a beach and sun person, so going to a resort island would be the only time I’d need to wear any swimsuit at all, so those bikinis have sat untouched in my cupboard for two years!

 

My fitness regime consists of fitness boot camp three times a week and a sugarless, carbless, junkfoodless diet.

It’s brutal, I tell you. Totally brutal, considering that up to this point my diet has been 80% sugar, carbs and junk food.

Now I have to spend too much time cooking breakfast, lunch and dinner, putting in more effort to make boring food edible. giving me less time to do stuff I enjoy.

:(

 

Breakfast: Scrambled eggs with red onion and grilled tomatoes.

Breakfast for a champion.

 

 

Lunch: Prawn and avocado salad.

Lunch for a champion.

 

And I haven’t even started on the craziness that goes on in bootcamp. My muscles want to tell you but I’m asking them to shut up and stop bothering me.

Vanity is a powerful motivator, therefore it’s gotta be a good thing, right?

 

Healthy Sheylara

 

 

#3

I bought tickets to watch STOMP!

I saw them once a long time ago in Australia and loved the show. They’re coming to Bournemouth next month, playing at the Pavillion, which is about 15 minutes’ walk from home, whoopee.

When I first saw the poster in the town centre, I said to Piers, “OMG STOMP we have to go watch it!”

He said, “Okay.”

Then, when I was booking the tickets at home, I asked him which day he preferred, Tuesday to Saturday, and he said, “None of them.”

Stupid Piers!

 

STOMP

 

#4

Right, that’s all the random stuff I feel like talking about today. Tomorrow, we talk about sheep. I know you can’t wait!

Cynhynfa Country Guest House and Singapore hawker food

So, the story is that I belong to a Facebook group called Singaporeans in the UK and, a few weeks ago, I told the group that I was going on a road trip to Wales. I asked for suggestions and got a lot of helpful advice, which helped me plan my route.

Someone also mentioned that a Singaporean lady owns a bed and breakfast on the border of England and Wales. Since it was in a location that could fit into my then very sketchy route, I thought it would be a great idea to stay a night there.

And so we did!

This is Cynhynfa Country Guest House. (It’s pronounced something along the lines of “ker-nin-fa” if I recall correctly.)

 

Cynhynfa Country Guest House

 

Singaporean Nora runs the bed and breakfast together with her English husband. She’s full of funny stories, on Facebook and in real life, so it was a real pleasure getting to know her.

Her house decor is beautiful! Every piece of furniture and ornament seems to have been carefully picked and thoughtfully placed. The stylish setting indoors was a real surprise after driving through miles and miles of country.

 

 

Our bedroom:

Cynhynfa Country Guest House

 

 

Another bedroom, a little one with a slopey ceiling:

Cynhynfa Country Guest House

 

 

The dining room:

Cynhynfa Country Guest House

 

 

The view from the dining room:

Cynhynfa Country Guest House

 

 

Outside the house:

Cynhynfa Country Guest House

 

Nora was really hospitable. She made us feel at home immediately and fed us some homemade curry puffs because I’d told her that Piers is mad about them, haha. (I mean he is literally crazy about them. When we’re in Singapore, he turns into an excited puppy every time we pass by a stall or shop that sells curry puffs. He’ll be, like, “Oh looooook curry puffs omg!!!”)

She also cooked us a nice Asian dinner at no extra charge because I’m homesick for Singaporean food and it was gorgeous. She and her husband sat down to dinner with us and we had a nice time swapping stories and getting to know one another.

 

 

Sambal tomato prawn:

Sambal tomato prawn

 

 

Chicken curry:

Chicken curry

 

Speaking of Singaporean food, I told Piers about the Gordon Ramsay vs Singapore hawker food challenge and he was really excited because he’s a huge fan of Singaporean food and he thinks it’ll be good for the celebrity chef to try it.

Not quite the reaction I had expected.

Personally, I find it a bit silly because people of different cultures have different taste buds, so the winner of the challenge is going to be affected by where the judges come from and what sort of tastes they’re used to, so how will that prove anything?

Also, they’re going to make Gordon Ramsay cook something he’s probably never even eaten (he did mention a lack of experience in Singaporean food) against people who have cooked those dishes for decades. Huh?

 

Gordon Ramsay vs Singapore

 

Then again, this whole thing is just a publicity stunt to promote Singapore hawker food and give Gordon Ramsay as well as the organisers a lot of publicity, so it’ll probably just be an entertaining show where all parties come off winning, in some way or other.

Sorry about the digression but I had sort of come to an end, anyway.

So, Cynhynfa Country Guest House was a nice start to our entry into Wales. We didn’t really have time to visit around the area but if you look in the website, you will find many great places to visit nearby.

And that’s the problem with holidays, isn’t it? There’s always too much to see and experience, and never enough time to do everything!

TVR night at Poole Quay

Went to a TVR showcase event at Poole Quay last night. It’s an annual summer event showcasing a different make of cars each week. Owners of specific cars can drive there and park along the quay for free between 6 and 9 pm on their allocated nights.

 

Sheylara at the Quay

 

I suppose the draw for car owners is to have their cars gawked at and perhaps, for some, free parking while they sample the entertainment offered at the premises (bars, restaurants, scenic views, seagulls being a nuisance).

So, June 28 was TVR night and Piers never passes up a chance to fraternise with other TVR owners. That means I get to tag along event after event, looking at the same cars again and again, listening to the same conversations over and over…

“I’ve just installed a brand new zndltggnla dpe lnweo nxjiifi! Tqqwlxm eh pzxb lopq wrvsd!”

“Oh, I say, that’s brilliant, old chap yytnvlq snptrrus trqr angggseylmt qw xyzl or frhglmp b ix!”

Well, I tend to tune out after a second or two, so I’ve had to make up a conversation, sorry.

 

Fraternising at (near) the Quay

 

So, seagulls being a nuisance.

Yes.

When I first came to England (from Singapore where there are no seagulls), I was of course delighted with them because they fly so near you and they’re so tame they’d eat off your hands. And then hop on your head and peck your eyes out.

I exaggerate. They’re not that vicious. Unless you consider someone pooping all over your freshly polished car a vicious act.

That, in fact, is what seagulls do, and they are extremely unapologetic about it.

 

Seagull dropping a bomb

 

Last night, this happened to an unsuspecting TVR.

The guy parked and stepped out of the car. I walked over to take a photo (not specifically of it but of a larger area that showed more TVRs driving towards us).

I took one photo.

 

TVR

 

Then I took another photo.

 

TVR

 

And I heard exclamations.

“OMG.”

“What just happened.”

“Did you see that.”

“How in the world…”

And I looked at the car (see above pic) and it had like 30 splatters on it, all possibly the work of one seagull (I didn’t see but that’s how it was told) and all within a second.

How does ONE seagull do that in ONE second?!

 

It started to rain lightly about 15 minutes after we got there but still okay for walking around, admiring the cars and the views. When it got colder and rainier, we went indoors for dinner.

Dinner was at Italian Gossip, a restaurant serving Italian (duh) cuisine. Service was ultra friendly and food was reasonable.

 

 

Pan fried chicken liver on toast. Yums. But not as yums as Nando’s chicken liver.

Chicken liver on toast

 

 

Spaghetti Vongole. I have yet to be impressed by a pasta dish in England. I keep hoping and I keep being disappointed. They’re always quite bland; you might as well just boil a pot of spaghetti and eat it straight up.

Spaghetti Vongole

 

 

Salada Mista. Well, it’s just salad. Nothing to get excited about, just something you have to live with.

Salad

 

That’s the food done.

We’re going to get back to cars.

It stopped raining by the time we finished dinner.

We walked around a bit more and Piers took a load of photos; I was tired of taking photos of cars after two years of this kind of thing, so handed him the camera.

 

TVR

 

 

 

TVR

 

 

 

TVR

 

 

 

TVR

 

 

 

TVR

 

 

 

TVR

 

 

 

TVR

 

 

 

TVR

 

 

 

TVR

 

 

 

TVR

 

Anyhoo, I was a bit more excited when we went off to Waitrose in Christchurch to buy a bottle of semi-expensive balsamic vinegar (£12). We can’t all have the same hobbies, for shame.

We encountered a dude at the Waitrose carpark who was driving a TVR decorated with smatterings of stars all over, who drove in and parked right next to us while we were walking to our car with groceries in hand.

He was apparently lost and looking for a way to Christchurch, not realising that he was in Christchurch.

So, that was it, another Friday whiled away. What did you do on your Friday night?