What To Do In Sydney This June?

| |
Hi Huneybees,

We've been planning for a mid-year trip and Australia has been a country that I keep wanting to go back again. I find it very pretty, life's laidback and the air is fresher there; with a lot of places still unexplored.

Every time we go, we are just touching on those tourist must-go itineraries and have very little time to really submerge ourselves into their lives. So, this time we are thinking of a self-driving trip and check out some of the unknown or less visited places in Sydney.

So, we came across this article that introduces 10 insta-worthy places in Sydney and I'm so excited to share them with you...

Photo Credits: Destination New South Wales

Paddington Reservoir Gardens, Paddington
This heritage-listed public garden sits in the city’s East, with a touch of Hanging Gardens of Babylon and Roman baths. Once a vital source of water in the 19th century, the reservoir was transformed back in 2009, preserving much of the original brick, timber and iron framework. Stroll along the boardwalks, admire the fusion of contemporary and old elements, sit on the rooftop near the sunken garden and watch the light change as the sun sets in this magical haven.

Photo Credits: https://haciendasydney.com.au

Hacienda Bar, Circular Quay | @haciendasydney
Sip a rum-inspired cocktail and drink in the stunning Sydney Harbour Bridge views at this hip drinking hole. The interior is as Insta-worthy as the view, with a nod to the grand plantation architecture of Cuba and a touch of 1950s Miami with lots of botanicals, pastel pink seating, and neon signage.

Photo Credits: Destination New South Wales

The Grounds, Alexandria | @thegrounds
Built into the remnants of a heritage-listed factory in Sydney’s industrial centre, The Grounds has become a Sydney Insta icon with its kitchen-garden vibe and hearty, innovative eats. Snap a selfie in front of vegetable gardens, flower pots and old-fashioned stalls selling homemade soda and donuts. They have special themed nights and you should check out what they have done up for Aladdin Night!
Henry Deane at Hotel Palisade | @hotelpalisade
Palisade Hotel, perched atop the historic watering hole is a beautiful, airy cocktail space. Settle upstairs at Henry Deane on one of the millennial pink couches with a cocktail and take in the breathtaking bird’s-eye view of the Sydney Harbour Bridge.

Photo Credits: Destination New South Wales

Icebergs Pool, Bondi | @icebergsclub
Bondi Beach is home to the world’s most famous ocean pool, Bondi Icebergs. Named after its Winter swimming club, the bright white pool dates back to 1929 and is an Instagram favourite during the Summer months. From Bondi, take the coastal walk around to Bronte Baths, built in 1887.

Photo Credits: https://www.smh.com.au

Chinese Garden, Chinatown
Located in the heart of Chinatown, the Chinese Garden of Friendship was modeled after the classic private gardens of the Ming Dynasty, offering an insight into Chinese Heritage and culture. Be whisked away to the Ming Dynasty for an afternoon and explore the very grounds that Hugh Jackman stood on when the filming of The Wolverine was done!

Photo Credits: Destination New South Wales

Green Square Library, Zetland
The new underground library that opened end of last year boasts a floor-to-ceiling colourful shelf of books that’s perfect for snapping your Instagram shot. Located in the light-filled reading room in the tower, this shelf doubles up as a gorgeous art installation. The entire library is flooded with plenty of natural light – thanks to the 40 over skylights across the roof, and because of its innovative use of space and architecture, also won the Architectural Review Library Award 2018.

Photo Credits: Destination New South Wales

Angel Place, CBD
Few know about this little nook in an alley, but for those who do – you’re in for a treat. Empty birdcages hang above Angel Place, casting an ethereal glow around the area and making it perfect for any sort of hipster-ific Instagram shot. Aptly titled ‘Forgotten Songs’, the display designed by Michael Thomas Hill allows you to take in the sounds of the birds as you stand beneath the cages and admire the gentle sway of the cages as you capture that super artistic shot. You’ll want to come back again for more.

Photo Credits: Destination New South Wales

The Calyx, Royal Botanic Garden Sydney | @thecalyxexperience
Located in the heart of the Royal Botanic Garden Sydney, The Calyx is a horticultural exhibition space with an integrated mix of indoor and outdoor areas and changing exhibitions. The Calyx has the largest green wall in the southern hemisphere and stunning contemporary architecture.

Photo Credits: Destination New South Wales

Hornby Lighthouse, Watsons Bay
This iconic lighthouse is painted in distinctive red and white candy stripes. It’s positioned in a spectacular spot too – standing tall at South Head, near Watsons Bay in Sydney Harbour National Park with views of Sydney Harbour to the West. Built in 1858, it was designed by colonial architect Alexander Dawson.

Don't they all look gorgeous right? With nature and cityscapes combined, and the weather just nice for a trip to visit Sydney again, I'm excited and now it's only down to whether hubby can take the leave. I'm Insta-ready for the trip already!


Don’t forget to stay tuned to my blog / like my blog’s Facebook page / follow me @huney_84 on Twitter & Instagram  for the latest updates!
Read More

We Stepped Into England Without Passport

| |
Hi Huneybees,

Unlike football, the English does not have a cuisine it can brag about, but thanks to its once far-reaching empire, the likes of fish and chips, English breakfast, high tea, and shepherd's Pie have certainly resonated with many people in this part of the world.

If you, just like yours truly Queen Bee, do enjoy these "English classics", the next place that I'm going to mention will certainly interest your palate.

Situated at a serene corner in the very heart of the bustling Lion City, is a place called "The English House" that promises to bring back the English nostalgia of the nineteenth century while one enjoys a classic English meal or drink there.
The English House is first restaurant with rooms project in this region by the influential English chef turned entrepreneur, Marco Pierre White, who is the man most notably known as and still is the youngest chef to be awarded three Michelin stars at age of 33 (he is 58 after his birthday this year). He has been dubbed as the first celebrity chef and has trained many famous chefs including Gordon Ramsay and is the current judge for Australia MasterChef.

With many flora planted along its stairway leading to its entrance, we would have missed its entrance easily if not my distant memory of the once famous club called Madam Wong, which The English House now occupies together with its neighbour unit.

Once at the entrance, you will be greeted by a lovely receptionist at the "hall", who will lead you to into "Drawing Room" lined by black and white photos of celebrity by fellow English photographer Terry O’Neill on both walls. Some of these celebrities that I could identify include Richard Burton, Elizabeth Taylor, Helen Mirren and David Bowie.
The Drawing Room is also decorated with shelves displaying many artifacts, including vintage carousel arts and a complete collection of the famous Michelin Guide since 1900; all from the owner's personal collection.

Moving into the "Dining Room" lays white round marble top dining tables and elegant upholstered arm chairs neatly arranged by the "housekeepers or house stewards" dressed in Victorian era servant uniform. To support a seated capacity of over 120 Pax, diners do flow over to the Drawing Room, which explains why these lovely dine tables and chairs are there too.
When in the Dining Room, do look up to the ceiling of the Dining Room as you will see two large hanging lamps that used to illuminate London’s 19th-century Burlington Arcade and interesting shaped ceiling fans ventilating the room.

Food choice wise, since it was a Sunday we decided to go for Classic Sunday Roast's set menu @SGD75++ instead of ala carte. The Classic Sunday Roast's set menu may look confusing at first glance but essentially you get a 4-course meal from a choice of canape, a starter, either 1 dish from the Classic Sunday Roast's selection or Main Board's and a dessert choice from the Pudding & Cheeses section.
While drinks are excluded from the set, there's a choice of either Harry's Bar Bellini or Classic Bloody Mary @SGD22++ from its Sunday Cocktail selection or a cup of coffee with champagne truffles @SGD9++. Others drinks options are also available upon request.

Canape : The Quails Scotch Egg is a classic English picnic snack

Canape : Devils on Horseback is a 70s cocktail muncher

Christina's Starter : The Marie Rose sauce dressing on Wheeler's Classic Prawn Cocktail was rather refreshing

My Starter: Potted Duck with Green Peppercorn was nice with toasted sourdough but may be too salty eating it alone

Christina's Sunday Roast's : Honey Roast Pork Belly with Apple Source was a bit too fatty

My Main Board: The outer mashed potatoe layer of Mr Lamb's Shepperd Pie was crispy but the stuff was too salty for my liking

My dessert: Classic Apple Crumble tasted really good when it was hot and matched well with the melted vanilla ice-cream

Christina's dessert: The bread and butter pudding with fresh cream will always be a safe choice
Taking the opportunity as an invited guest, we also tried the highly recommended Fish and Chips on the ala carte menu - Wheeler's Fried Fillet with English Turbot, Sauce Tartare - listed at whopping SGD98++ price tag!

Looking like the two small golden pillows of size of my new Huawei P30 Pro, both Christina and I were pleasantly surprised by how fresh and sweet the fried Turbot fillet - a rare fish selection in this part of world - tasted and mind you the complement of the tartare source makes the dish one of the best I had ever eaten!

Here is an interesting fact: within the Dining Room, housed the biggest vintage Glenfiddich whisky collection in Singapore, all proudly seated in the large wooden cabinets at each end of the room. According to the house steward who served my table, these whisky are up for sales at "the right price" with the initial negotiation with the Sommelier and the final decision by the man himself - Marco!

Talking about the Sommelier, he is the one in-charge of "Billiard Room" that is located between the Drawing Room and the Bath Room. The only guy allowed to dress in "Scottish way" with checkered Maud, he and his team of bartenders are responsible for concoction - whether is a Sunday Roast's special cocktail or special mocktail upon request - within The English House.

To allow patron to have that nice chilled lager or Champaign, two customised refrigerators are outfitted as wooden closet, seating inconspicuously in the Billiard Room

While there isn't a billiard table in the Billiard Room per se, the tradition of having wooden décor everywhere within the room is evidenced from the bar, furniture, vintage carousel arts on displayed to those classy looking wooden hand crafted and painted signboards hanging on the walls. With only the low lit warm lights in the room, it serves the exact purpose as in the olden times for men and women to chill and to gossip.

Lemon Tree - Homemade infused Lemon Rum, Passion Fruit, and Mint

Hendrick's Tea Party - Hendrick's Gin, Watermelon, Cranberry, Gomme, and Fresh Cucumber

Chewlin - Lychee Liqueur, Grenadine topped with Prosecco

Eden - Rose and Butterfly Pea Flower, Citric Acid, topped with Soda

Rhubarb Sour - Homemade Rhubarb Syrup, Egg White, and Cranberries

Lily's Lemonade - Almond, Grenadine, Rose, Soda and Egg White

Christina and I were not prepare to leave the place without a drink or two, so we decided to order a few instead, courtesy of The English House.
While the cocktails and mocktails look colourful and all do taste special from one and another, unfortunately both your Queen Bee and I are no expert to describe how good they were.

The exhaustive decoration does not ends in the Billiard Room. While the "Bath Room" is an essential layout within any house, it is also one place that almost all patron would visit - whether to wash hands before the meal, to relieve oneself , or to touch up makeup, etc. - and Marco fully understands that.

While there's no billiard table, we found ourselves a vintage table football for some Instagram photos

The exposed brick wall of the Bath Room interior gives a very nostalgic feel in this private space

There's a reason to spend more time in the Bath Room at The English House
If you will to ask me which part of the restaurant do I like most, I would certainly say bath room and its walkway! While this might sound weird or even perverted to some but the whole walk way leading to the Bath Room, the Bath Room itself for both sexes and even right down to within each private cubicle inside, you will find exclusive late Raymond Jackson (JAK) cartoon pieces hanging for your appreciation.

The English House is overall a beautiful place to hang out and absorb the English culture with the amount of antiquities, works from some of the finest Englishmen, as well as the English fare from the well acclaimed Marco Pierre White.

I was particularly impressed by the amount of thoughts put into the renovation work.
It took more than a combination of experience, creativity and courage to transform what seen as nightmare to manage the traditional segregated layout of a historic pre-war shophouse with the need to comply with the local conservation act for such heritage, to drawing inspiration from Das englische Haus by Hermann Muthesius, into a restaurant with such a character.
This is a manifestation of Marco himself!

This is such a heartfelt message from the late Raymond Jackson praising Marco Pierre White

Christina refers The English House as restaurant in a private art gallery and loves the arts collection on display. The huge collection of JAK in particular and one which has dedicated cartoon of Marco speaks volume of the relationship between the two Englishmen and the respect for each other.

Both your Queen Bee and I can't agree more with Marco when he said "I’ve brought a little piece of England into a shophouse in Singapore.” during his media interview when it opened last year in September.

Fyi, this great place that we hangout was also used as the shooting location for the official trailer of a local TV drama - Dear Neighbours 我的左邻右里.
Honestly, while the quality of food and its presentation were great, both of us felt a little let down in terms of food taste since this is the basic expectation from most patron of Marco Pierre White, the branded name of modern western cooking. However I will give The English House a bit more time to tweak the use of seasoning to suit local taste bug. Having said that, we will certainly come back to sample the high teas and recommend as a cool chill out place to all our Huneybees!

The English House also caters for family with kids. The normal menu for kids, comes with a main course and a dessert @ SGD20++ but on Sunday, its free for each paying adult! Go for it, mate!

Happy Sunday!


Don’t forget to stay tuned to my blog / like my blog’s Facebook page / follow me @huney_84 on Twitter & Instagram  for the latest updates!
Read More

Let Us Drift Into Utopias With The Inflatables

| |
Hi Huneybees,

Art appreciation is an important way to develop critical and innovative thinking and that is why yours truly Queen Bee and I do set aside some time in our fast-paced lifestyle to do that.

Floating Utopias is one such exhibition that promises to evoke consciousness and playfulness, while at the same time provides the educational value not just about the history of inflatables but also the invisible power that it has wielded by men since its creation.

The enormous inflatables first appeared at Macy's Christmas Parade in 1927 was designed by Anthony Frederick Sarg that would become almost synonymous with the annual holiday tradition

While we could debate on whether there was link between King Louis XVI decree of the first human flight in a hot air balloon in 1783 and start of the French revolution 6 years after that led to his execution, inflatables have since been used for propagating different idealism, from Macy's use of enormous inflatable cartoons and caricatures during its Christmas Parade in 1927 to promote consumerism; to Soviet Union using it in 1937 to mobilise sentiments against the rise of fascism in Europe.

Likewise in Singapore, inflatables are often used in big parades like NDP and Chingay, such as the recent use of a life-size Formula One car replica during Chingay Parade 2019 to engage the youths.

Whether it's a public space or private one, inflatables do take up spaces but in today's increasingly scepticism sentiment among people, due to security concern and rapid urbanisation, space itself has becoming a premium and hence the use of space by inflatable can act as a barometer to measure people's tolerance towards space.

Dawn Ng and her colossal bunny - Walter
Walter, by local artist Dawn Ng, is originally created in 2011 to re-examine overlooked and over- familiar spaces around Singapore, has re-emerged as an exhibit at Floating Utopias to test audience's comfort level of personal space by having them housed in a small room with the colossal bunny.

Museum of the Moon is Luke Jerram largest work to date and it is installed to mark the 50th Anniversary of the Moon Landing by NASA astronauts in 1969

The highlight of the exhibition for me is definitely the Museum of the Moon by Luke Jerram where a floating sculpture of the Moon, made using state of the art scientific images from NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Oribiter Camera! Spanning 6 meters in diameter and is a 1:600,000 scaled replica of the actual moon, I bet anyone will share some sort of an extraordinary experience by simply admiring the exquisite detail of the lunar surface so close up.

Outside the exhibition, there are also public activities such as Speak Out Stand Out hands-on workshop for children at  SGD$5 per participant and the free screening of icon Up and Away animation for the family to enjoy.

Artistes descended to Singapore for the Press Conference at ArtScience Museum on 24th May included Graham Stevens (Left), Ahmet Ögüt (Center) and Dawn Ng 
A visual experience that features more than 40 objects and artworks, including eight large-scale air-filled sculptures, by more than 15 international and local artists, Floating Utopias is currently running at ArtScience Museum from now till 29th September 2019. Limited daily guided tour in English, Mandarin and even Japanese are available at selected day and timeslot.

Explore Floating Utopia as a couple with an open mind, allows this invention of inflatable shaped the way we understand the world, our place in it and a memorable time drifting in time and space together.


Don’t forget to stay tuned to my blog / like my blog’s Facebook page / follow me @huney_84 on Twitter & Instagram  for the latest updates!

Read More