Daily Journal – September 29 + 30

Daily Journal - September 29 + 30

 

Transcription – September 29

Sushi Fail

SMH Ocado! This week, they offered me a flash sale of salmon sashimi (half price) so I thought I’d take it and also order some sushi to make it a good lunch. I ordered 4 boxes of sushi and things. Today the delivery arrived. “Sorry, but your order is missing… all the sushi things.” I mean… don’t be offering me an item for sale if it’s out of stock!

Asian Food

My life is kind of sad these days, food-wise. I have to eat supermarket Japanese food and takeaway Chinese food (which Piers has to drive for an hour to get). They are second-rate but do satisfy the cravings a bit. I can cook some but it’s not the same. In Singapore, good food is everywhere; no cooking needed!

Gratitude

I’m grateful for my new touchscreen gloves that will keep my hands warm when I go on my walks. When touchscreen gloves were first invented, they only came in black and didn’t look very stylish. Now they have all sorts of colours and fabrics!

Habits Fail

In the final week of each month, my habit tracker looks very sad and pathetic because I am rushing to do the next month’s bujo pages and don’t have time for silly yoga and meditation and what-not, lol. I will need to set different priorities if I don’t want to continue falling off the wagon every last week of the month!

 

Transcription – September 30

Shiny New Thing

Now I understand the perils of designing next month’s pages before this month is over. I have been bored of my September pages since Friday because my October pages are new and shiny and I can’t wait to use them!

But making trackers and planners each month takes a lot of time so I have to start asap. I started late this month so I’ve had to work nonstop all weekend, sacrificing food and sleep and everything else I can.

It’s the end of the day now on the last day of September. I am so happy I managed to complete all my October pages. But I am now so very exhausted. My mind feels numb with an intense buzz and my body is shutting down. I really need to start earlier next month!

Gratitude

I’m grateful for the end of the month! A new month means a fresh start!

Little Photographer

Went to C&H’s for lunch. I needed to take a selfie of my new pink waterproof jacket, so I got the girls to do it since I can’t hold my phone far enough to photograph the whole thing.

I underestimated 6-year-old Emma’s expertise with the iPhone. I was teaching her to press the white button and she was, like, I know! Then, once I got into position, she went, “I’m going to take a video!”

After she did my video, we got 4-year-old Mimi to do it next. Emma wanted to dance!

 

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How to lose your appetite fast

A few months ago, I started experiencing a loss of appetite and it has been really disconcerting.

If you have been following my blog over the years, you might have concluded that I was an irredeemable glutton, such was my penchant to share endless gastronomical conquests, replete with mouthwatering photos.

 

Noms

 

I have loved food, especially unhealthy junk food, all my life. Barring the occasional loss of appetite due to temporal sickness, depression or jetlag, I’ve always lived to eat and looked forward to every meal with hungry impatience, always dreaming of all sorts of savoury delights rolling around my taste buds.

And then, all of that suddenly gone. Almost overnight.

I woke up one day and found no urge to eat. No food excited me, not even my favourite things, and I have many of those, trust me. One day rolled into two days, which rolled into one month, two months.

Piers would ask me, “If you could have anything to eat right now, anything at all, what would it be?” And I would say, “Nothing at all!”

Putting something into my mouth to chew and swallow started seeming a bit like a chore, even when I was hungry. I did still occasionally enjoy tasty food, but the enjoyment would be at about 30% of what it should have been.

“O.M.G. I’ve died and gone to heaven” became “Okay, this is quite tasty so it’s less of a chore to eat”.

 

Om nom nom

 

At first I thought it was because I was sick of the food in England, since the variety there is quite limited, and I’ve always craved variety. I thought my appetite would go back to normal once I was back in Singapore and I looked forward to eating all the food I missed.

But I came back to Singapore and nothing changed. Faced with all the best food you could find in the whole wide world, my appetite remain unmoved.

It has been two weeks since I’ve returned to Singapore and I have woken up with dismay every day, no urge to eat, thinking of each day wasted that I’m not scarfing down chwee kueh for breakfast, chicken rice for lunch and chilli crab for dinner. I’m only in Singapore for six weeks.

But I just have no interest in eating, whatsoever.

My mind ruminated all the possible reasons. Prolonged jetlag? General malaise from having finished my course and undecided on my next step? Old age? I did use to wonder as a kid why adults never seemed to want to eat tidbits all day, even when they had all the money and freedom to do so.

 

Let there be bread

 

And then, today, I suddenly put two and two together and discovered the culprit of my malediction. It is the stupid Omega 3 fish oil capsules I’ve been taking daily since Novemeber last year!

It didn’t cross my mind that something like that would suppress my appetite. I started taking it a month before my exams because our psychology lecturer told us that fish oils supplements have been proven to boost brain function. After that, I continued taking it because I noticed that my skin was getting smoother, too.

I think my appetite might have started buggering off around that time. I had then stocked my snack cupboard to the ridiculous brim for the exam period, expecting it to be all gone within weeks. After my exams, the cupboard remained untouched, still stocked well enough to last me through an apocalypse and a half.

 

Snack cupboard

(I don’t have a photo of my snack cupboard in England, but it’s bigger than this one I had in Singapore about 5 years ago.)

 

After my exams, I would literally not eat until about 7 pm when Piers would get home from work and we would have dinner together. For a couple of months, there were many days in which I ate just one meal a day. (Other days, I would force myself to eat something in the day.) But dinner would be a huge meal, which made up the calories my sedentary lifestyle needed, although it was probably not too good for general health.

So, today, I woke up and I looked at the bottle of fish oil capsules on my table and something clicked in my brain. I got up and Googled “fish oil suppresses appetite” and there was my answer.

While the evidence is compelling — the articles confirm it and my timeline fits — I can’t say for sure that fish oil is the main cause of my lost appetite. I suppose I will have to stop taking it for a while to see if the good ol’ appetite comes back. I only have 3.5 weeks left to eat my fill in Singapore!

If I am right, then I have found a way for me to maintain a healthy diet while at the same time benefit from the multitudes of health benefits of this supplement. I’ve never been able to stick to a healthy diet plan for my junk food cravings always got the better of me.

So, yay?

I do miss foodgasms, though, so now I’m kinda undecided what to do.

By the way, this is not an advertorial for fish oil or a recommendation to try it or whatever. Take it at your own risk and stick with reliable brands!

 

Update: 6 July 2017

Four years after publishing this post, I’m still getting questions about this, so I’m going to answer them here!

 

FISH OIL SUPPLEMENT FAQ

Q: What brand of fish oil did you use?

A: Seven Seas

 

Q: Can you show me a photo of the exact one you used?

A: I’m sorry, I can’t! Seven Seas has since updated its entire range of fish oils so the one I took isn’t there anymore. All I know is I chose a fish oil that promised to boost brain power and memory. :D

 

Q: So, which fish oil would you recommend?

A: Keeping in mind that I’m no expert, I would recommend reputable brands to be on the safe side, but also keep in mind that even reputable brands have been found to exaggerate the health benefits of their supplements. But, generally, what you want is Omega-3, so just look for that.

 

Q: Fish oil or cod liver oil?

A: I chose fish oil for its higher content of Omega-3.

 

Q: How many pills did you take daily and at what time, etc?

A: I don’t really remember, sorry. Just follow the instructions on the bottle!

 

Q: How long did it take before your appetite went away?

A: About two weeks.

 

Q: Did your appetite come back after stopping the supplements?

A: Yes! It probably took a few weeks for my appetite to go back to normal.

 

Q: Any other advice?

A: Yes. Don’t believe everything you read on the Internet. Always do a lot of research before forming your own opinions, and consult your doctor when in doubt. If you’re pregnant or diabetic or have any major health conditions, definitely consult your doctor before taking any supplements!

 

 

When eating becomes a choice

Since I am blogging again and since I hardly do anything more exciting these days than play video games featuring tentacled monsters, you will be obliged to read about my cooking escapades, that is, after I’m done talking about my gaming escapades.

I believe I mentioned before that I started experimenting with cooking out of necessity. Missing the food in Singapore was propelling me towards a permanent hunger strike that led me to realising that I had to do something about it or starve to death.

The solution was to cook things that I never would in a million years have thought to cook had I still been in Singapore. Things like bak kwa, curry puffs and chicken rice. It baffles me why anyone in Singapore would make these things themselves when they can buy them really cheap and good, but they do. People just do.

I, on the other hand, have no choice but to make them because I would stop eating altogether, otherwise.

 

Tuna puffs

 

I made spicy tuna puffs once because I was tired of spending hours frying little potato cubes, but potato ones taste infinitely better.

I really miss being able to walk out to buy something good to eat, whether a snack or a full meal, and be back home within 15 minutes with something good. You can’t really get anything like that in England unless you don’t mind having McDonald’s and KFC every day.

Even if there were, it takes five minutes to dress warm enough just to pop out for 10 minutes. And then another five minutes to undress when you’re back home, the thought of which makes staying home and starving the more appealing choice.

 

Nobody knows the bother I've seen

 

The food in England is quite bland compared to Singapore fare, which is actually a good thing if you’re health conscious. People do seem to be quite health conscious here. While doing job placements at nurseries, I noticed that my co-workers always had salad for lunch, and they don’t do Thousand Island dressings or anything calorific like that. It’s usually oil and vinegar or plain. Seriously, I would rather starve, and I mean that very literally.

As a side note, I make a rather good balsamic vinaigrette so I do like salads but not as meals by themselves and never for lunch! I miss my Raffles Place lunching days of curry chicken noodles and nasi lemaks and bak chor mees.

And this, I don’t even remember what this is called anymore:

 

This is called yum.

 

I did enjoy eating in England the first year I was here but the novelty has worn thin and the blandness has quite effectively killed my appetite. Now, I would rather cook than go to a restaurant, even if money were no issue. This is a complete turnaround from when I was in Singapore, when I practically ate out every day and loved doing so.

The wonderful thing about cooking is that you can make your food taste exactly the way you want it. Include more ingredients you love and none of those you hate.

The not so wonderful thing is that sometimes it doesn’t turn out the way you envision it. I enjoy making up my own recipes (based on current cravings plus inspiration from online recipes plus available inventory) so it takes a bit of trial and error to get the proportions just right. And then I never get it perfect because I tend to dole out sauces and seasonings by feel rather than measuring them out scientifically, so I can never remember how much to use the next time to make it perfect.

 

Chicken steak

 

This is my chicken steak with garlic butter mushroom sauce, with courgettes and spaghetti to make it a balanced meal.

Piers likes having balanced meals; otherwise he feels guilty. Yes, the whole country is like that. It makes me feel like a gluttonous evil alien when, like, I have KFC and skip the coleslaw.

On the healthy side, I have recently become addicted to Brussels sprouts after discovering that they make a very tasty side dish.

 

Brussels sprouts are good for you and me.

 

I roast them with olive oil and balsamic vinegar with a very generous sprinkling of coarse ground black pepper. It has to be really good quality olive oil and balsamic vinegar. I have experimented with many different brands in the last two years and realised that the quality totally changes the taste in food.

Also, baby Brussels sprouts taste a lot better than “adult” ones. The baby ones are hardly bitter and taste more buttery and nutty.

On the not so healthy side, I am as klutzy as usual and always run into mishaps in the kitchen, such as dropping eggs on the floor or dropping the whole salt shaker into my cooking pot.

My most recent catastrophic incident involved me being violently attacked by an open cupboard door on my way out of the kitchen, resulting in a bruised knee and ego.

 

Bruises are not so good.

 

I know it is quite evil of me to bully your senses with such an unpalatable picture after all that food porn, but your choice of being a blog reader obliges you to endure any and all visual hazards rampant on the Internet, therefore it is okay for me to do it.

The good thing about living in England is that I hardly ever have to show my legs since it’s always too cold to, even during the summer, so my bruises are safe from public viewing (except on the Internet but you have been warned, albeit rather too late).

I actually have another bruise on the other knee but that one is quite unremarkable and undeserving of narcissism so you won’t see it. Also because I don’t even know how it got there.

Piers denies all responsibility.

And I am making no comment on that.

That kind of reminds me of a new American drama series we are watching called The Following, starring Kevin Bacon. It’s about a serial killer who fucks the mind of an ex-FBI agent by committing kills by proxy while being a death row prisoner.

 

The Following

 

It’s as exciting as 24 but Kevin Bacon is no Keifer Sutherland so it is a bit disappointing in that regard and Piers keeps telling me to stop being mean to Kevin Bacon (even though he did agree with me that KB looks like a weasel) but what can I say except again that he is not Keifer Sutherland.

Still it is worth watching and I have gone off the point, so I had better give it a rest and bid you adieu.

And so I shall.

Adieu, and be wary of sneaky cupboard doors, as always.

Never take a man shopping

I’ve been thinking of getting back into running. My Nikes and Adidas fell apart a couple of years ago and I haven’t run since then.

I have been putting off getting new ones because there are so many other things I need to spend money on in England, such as warm clothing and… even warmer clothing.

But I am finally putting my feet down to have them fitted for a new pair of running shoes.

 

Now, Bournemouth (where I live now) is not a shopping paradise like Singapore is. You can’t just take a short MRT ride to Orchard Road and immediately have access to 500 sporting stores offering pretty much the same stuff but all the brands and models are represented within a 500m radius.

(That means if you don’t like the attitude in one store, you can walk 10 seconds to another store to get exactly the same thing.)

 

Adidas

 

You can even find trained consultants who professionally flirt with you and make you run on gait analysing thingies, then know exactly which pair of shoes you need to instantly improve your speed, stamina and intelligence by 300%.

 

In Bournemouth, on the other hand, you could choose to walk 10 minutes to a small sports supermarket (and I’m using the term “super” very loosely here) offering products that would make all the fashion policemen in the world vaporise from agony.

And there are two staff members in the whole place, one manning the cash register and the other bustling about pretending to be busy with stock or something.

Or you could drive an hour to a slightly bigger sports supermarket offering similary fashion-offensive products, and there are three staff members manning the cash registers or pretending to be busy.

 

I chose to go online.

 

And after a bit of looking around, this caught my eye:

 

Adidas

 

I am partial to Adidas shoes. I had a pair several years ago which were the lightest and most comfortable track shoes you’d ever wear. I almost felt like I was flying in them. Sadly, they didn’t last very long because I wore them almost every day, not just for running but for everyday use.

 

Old Adidas

 

So I’m hoping to find another pair that feels the same.

I was quite excited to find the pink and black Adidas because I love the colours and design and it’s really hard to find running shoes with nice designs. Most branded running shoes seem to me to be designed for aliens. Which makes them only marginally better than the ones in Bournemouth.

I quickly MSN’ed the link to Piers (who was at work).

 

I said, “I’m going to buy this!!!”

It took him just one second to reply, “Those trainers look ugly!”

“What?!” I said, “They don’t!”

“They do to me!”

I said, “You’re just saying that cos it’s £75!”

He said, “I am not!”

 

Then, he was silent for two seconds and came back with this:

“These ones look much nicer!”

 

Cheap running shoes

 

I said, “That’s £8!!!!!!!!!!”

“Oh! Are they?” he said, “Wow, that’s good value!”

“Yeah, right,” I told him. “Too bad, cos I need an Adidas.”

 

Then another three seconds and he sent me this:

“These look nice!”

 

Cheaper running shoes

 

I said, “Those are man shoes!!”

“And old!”

 

“Oh, yeah,” he said.

Not to be deterred, he took a few more seconds and came back with this:

“Nice!”

 

Cheapest running shoes

 

Indeed, it was time to change strategy.

“Thanks,” I said, to lull him into a sense of false security, “I love that.”

 

He doesn’t know that I have gone ahead to order the £75 Adidas. With his credit card! Mwahahaha.

I suppose he will find out when he receives the bill at the end of the month.

Or when he reads this post, which will presumably be sooner.

But that’s okay because I have suddenly and mysteriously turned into a good cook so I will distract him with some nice Chinese cooking.

 

He liked the wat tan mai fan and curry puffs I made in the last week, which is saying a lot because men’s taste buds are as good as their fashion senses are bad.

 

wat tan mai fan
Vermicelli in egg gravy

 

Curry puffs
Curry puffs

 

I don’t mean all men, of course. Just the ones who equate expensive with ugly and cheap with sublimely gorgeous.

 

Which is why I will never take a man shopping with me. The best strategy is to go online to buy anything and everything you want while the man is at work. It’s fast and convenient and when the packages arrive, you can feign ignorance. “Goodness me, where did that come from?”

Just remember not to send him any links.

Or if you must, send him eBay links of really cheap stuff to drive him into a permanent state of deep, deep security.

 

In other news, I am micro-blogging on Facebook more than updating this silly blog so I would respectfully suggest that you go to Facebook for quicker updates on my superfluous life.

Thanks!

Eating in England — Part 3

I really must talk about the burgers in England.

THEY’RE SO GOOD.

No, I don’t mean Big Macs, although those are good, too. I’m talking thick, juicy beef patties that completely overwhelm your taste buds as the succulent meat languishes on your tongue, making your buds think they’ve died and gone to heaven.

 

Beef burger

 

Can you see the juice almost dripping off the lettuce? The beef burger at LeBateau Bar & Bistro in Poole is amazing even plain. It’s £9.50 for the basic burger, plus £1 for each extra ingredient, like cheese or bacon.

A little pricey, I suppose, but totally worth it if you like beef burgers.

 

Beef burger

 

I’ve eaten many beef burgers here and they’re all good but LeBateau’s my favourite.

There are two other places where I enjoy the beef burgers (The Slug and Lettuce and The Print Room.) Unfortunately, I haven’t got photos of them because of random mishaps. They would have been nice photos, too, because those burgers were massive, with loads of stuff in them besides the beef.

OMG beef burgers.

I’m really happy to have found a fast food / junk food soulmate in Piers. He loves fast food as much as I do. We would walk past an empty McDonald’s french fry container on the road and we would simultaneously go, “Oooh McDonald’s!”

We try to limit our Mac intake to not more than once a week, but we keep driving each other crazy by just randomly saying, “McDonald’s!” and watching the other’s ecstatic, then tortured, expression.

Because we had already hit our McDonald’s quota one week, Pizza Hut was a very natural alternative. Anything with pepperoni = best, so we ordered two medium pizzas with loads of pepperoni. We managed to finish all of that plus a bowl of DIY salad.

 

Pizza Hut

 

Pizza Hut

 

Pizza Hut

 

I never liked Pizza Hut in the past because I hated the thick crusts, but after discovering pepperoni, I decided that Pizza Hut is the place to go to for pizza because nobody does pepperoni pizzas like Pizza Hut. Really!

 

Piers at Pizza Hut

 

Haha, Piers made his sulky face at me again. I was trying to take a photo of the pepperoni juice running down his fingers.

Anyway, he’s been complaining about me putting his photos on my blog, saying that it’s my blog so there should be photos of me instead of him. Haiyah. I just prefer taking photos of food and other people. It’s such a hassle taking my own.

But I suppose he’s a bit right. So here’s one..

 

Sheylara

 

Okay, done. Now that we’re all happy, let’s go back to talking about food.

We had dinner one night with the Wing Chun guys at an Indian restaurant called Taj Mahal. (I’ll bet there’s an Indian restaurant with that name in every city.)

The food wasn’t really good so I won’t recommend it. But the ambience is nice, although that meant the place was too dark for photos, especially of food, so I’ll try and distract you with people photos.

 

Taj Mahal restaurant

 

Taj Mahal restaurant

 

Taj Mahal restaurant

 

Taj Mahal restaurant

 

Taj Mahal restaurant

 

Taj Mahal restaurant

 

Taj Mahal restaurant

 

Taj Mahal restaurant

 

Very nice people, all of them. Hardly any chat about Wing Chun at my side of the table. We talked about life and travels and parties and stuff. So, I was thinking, if you just knew these people at a party or at work or whatever, you’d never guess they were all deadly martial artists who could incapacitate you within seconds if you tried to mug them in the streets.

I feel so very safe hanging out with them.

Okay that wasn’t really about food. Sorry.

Next!

I finally found good fish and chips here. Not that I’ve been trying, really. I discovered Chez Fred when googling Bournemouth attractions some time back. It had won a “Best Fish and Chip Shop in Great Britain” award once, so I thought it was worth a try.

It was, indeed, good. I’ve had it twice so far. There are always long queues at the restaurant, in both the takeaway and eat-in sections.

 

Chez Fred

 

Chez Fred

 

I don’t really know how to describe the difference between good and bad fish and chips because I’m not so much into fish. I like going to Fish & Co and Manhattan Fish Market but mostly because of butter cream mussels and garlic rice.

So I can only say that Chez Fred is really good because it’s always so crowded and because after eating it twice, I find myself wanting to eat it again.

I usually choose the cod (cheapest one) because the meat is so good, just the right balance between meaty and flaky. And the batter is tasty and doesn’t make you sick from being too oily. And the homemade tartar sauce is yummy.

Only downside is the chips are not that tasty, and soggy by the time we bring the food home. Maybe eat in next time. I imagine everything would taste better hot!

Okay, last item for this installment.

Irish food!

I tweeted about being in an Irish pub called O’niell’s where people were dressed in funny costumes (maybe celebrating St Patrick’s Day early). I had to take photos of them illicitly because Piers said I’d better not walk up to them and request for photos cos they all looked drunk and rowdy.

 

O'niell's

 

O'niell's

 

We had originally planned to only have drinks there, then go for dinner at an Italian restaurant across the street. But then we looked at the interesting menu and started having second thoughts. And they had a promotion of £8 for two meals so that sold us totally.

I wanted to try the Steak and Guinness Pie because it sounded Irish and I think it’s fun eating cultural food. It was okay. No taste of Guninness whatsoever. Not fantastic but nice enough. A steal for £4.

It was too dark in there so I used my mini torchlight on the food.

That’s why the photos look like they have torchlights shone on them.

 

O'niell's

 

O'niell's

 

Piers had a burger and we shared honey mustard sausages. They were all not bad at all.

 

O'niell's

 

O'niell's

 

It was quite enjoyable having dinner in a noisy Irish pub. I want to try dinner at a noisy English pub, next.

Well, so many things I want to try, or eat again. So sad we have limited stomach capacity and bank balances!

Anyway, Piers, if you’re reading this, McDonald’s!

=P