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Wednesday, 27 November 2013

Food Shopping

When The Husband said we were going to be moving one of the first things I found out was that Singapore is expensive.  Food would be expensive, housing would be expensive and cars are expensive.  Luckily TH's work has taken care of two of those things and in the grand scheme of things paying a little bit more for food shouldn’t really matter, however I didn’t want to just get ripped off.

When we first arrived we were so lost and well….a little bit hungry we headed to Market Place at Tanglin Mall.  It was easy to find as we could easily type Tanglin into Sat Nav and it is quite close to TH's work.  We knew it was probably the most expensive place to head to, but it seemed the easiest at the time.  Well, when we got there we did find it expensive, but knowing that we only needed a few essentials helped and it was nice having that little trip into the city.  Market Place has prices more in line with doing all of your regular grocery shops in Waitrose or M&S.  Actually a lot of the branding on tins was Waitrose, but a lot also seemed to be American as well.
Next time we needed shopping we went to Cold Storage at Centrepoint mall.  This is on Orchard Road so the very middle of the shopping district and it would mean us quite easily tapping into Sat Nav where we wished to go.  This grocery shop is all over the island and is quite popular as it does still have some branding that you’ll be used to from the UK.
Even Cold Storage was quite expensive for us as in the UK we really shopped around quite a bit.  I did keep reminding myself that although Singapore has a massive presence, it really is tiny and isn’t like Scotland and can hand over vast areas of land to farming.  “Of course it’s going to be expensive!” I reminded myself, “but think of everything you are getting in return.” 
OK-this is going a bit like Goldilocks now, but the third grocery shop we did was just right.  Finally we found a NTUC Fairprice which is excellent value for money and is much more comparable to the UK.  It doesn’t really have many brands but I’m more than happy to get what I need from there.  There happens to be one within walking distance from our neighbourhood and I’ve picked up a few things I would say were bargains there.  I got a pack full of 8 bulbs of garlic for $1.65, 5 carrots for 93 cents, 500g of spaghetti was $1.65 and quite a big shoulder of pork for only $3.16 (it was reduced from $7).  We are constantly snacking on grapes which are about $4.40 per kg which is the cheapest I’ve found whilst here.  Cheese seems quite expensive for really plain stuff so I got 250g for $7.15, but that’s without really looking about.  I only needed a bit of it for a pasta bake when I run out of ideas for tea one night! 
I also went along to Fairprice Finest when I needed to post some letters one day at Clementi Mall and found that the prices were relatively all right, for example I got 3 sweet potatoes for $2.32.  It’s a bit more Western and has more food similar to Cold Storage, but is still better value.  I did find myself paying $2.90 for a packet of beef gravy as I couldn’t find any at all.  Oh well, TH said it was nice and it went with (a much reduced in price) packet of rump steak we bought the other day.
I like shopping around and trying to make more interesting meals than I would have done in the UK.  I am trying to look on  Pinterest for ideas so that we have a variety of different things to eat, and we were always warned that is you try to just eat Western food the prices would be astronomical.  I find that a little bit odd though, as I wouldn’t want haggis, neeps and tatties here anyway!

Friday, 22 November 2013

Pot Luck Dinner

Some of the wives here threw a 'pot luck dinner' yesterday in honour of Sarah and I arriving in Medway Park.  It was really kind, and also my very first buffet like this.  I'd found the name on pinterest before, but never really quite got it.  I'd called it and American Buffet before, but I don't know if maybe we actually have lots of these in Scotland and I'd just never been to one.

As Sarah and I don't have our shipment yet we were excluded from having to bring anything although we both brought something along as a token as we thought it might just be a little bit rude if we wondered into someone's house and started eating all of their nice things!
I'd went to the shops earlier to pick up some biscuits and muffins then went round to Sarah's house to meet up with her before we went round to the house of Amanda who was hosting the evening.  Sarah had borrowed her helpers casserole dish to make a potato gratin so I was feeling very underwhelmed by my tins of biscuits at this point.  
Amanda was the perfect hostess and welcomed us right into her home.  She had made so much already and put so much effort into everything that she made for dinner.  There were only a couple of people there before us so we got chatting and felt right at ease before the majority of people turned up.  
Amanda also graciously gave us a tour of her house which made me feel like these houses can eventually be given a homely feel.  Right now they seem to big and plain, but I know, as soon as our possessions start arriving in big boxes we will be able to create the same atmosphere too.  
I still feel a bit anxious before going to these things, but I'm sure in time that'll pass and I'll be able to go visiting without a major panic attack.  I had better be able to as Amanda has offered to take Sarah and I shopping and I need all the hints and tips I can get right now.
The night was really good, but I had to leave early as I had planned to phone my Mum in the UK at 10pm Singapore time so had to take a walk home in the dark - after an evening chatting about how all of the women were terrified of snakes and had seen them at some point in their time here.  Right about now would be a good time to say there are only 4 kinds of snakes I hate, big ones, small ones, living ones and dead ones.  Suffice to say I jogged

Pit and Peak

Well this has been my first week of being a house wife in Singapore.  Last week doesn't count as it was so much like a holiday.  TH only had to go into work a couple of times and we were mostly trying to get our heads around actually moving here.

  • Telling everyone who I am.  Constantly.  I know its the only way to make friends, but I feel that I should be very exciting or saying something wonderful, instead it’s the same old thing.  Quit job to come over here, no I can’t drive, no we don’t have kids.  I might start making up a new identity to get people ecstatic at the thought of meeting me, someone who has been in space (maybe I should make up a smaller lie to start with.) 
  • Going to a very fancy coffee morning!
  • Being welcomed into this new community.  We've had a couple of visitors and a card welcoming us to the area.  I've also been to my very first Pot Luck Dinner which was great fun.  The hostess really was everything you’d expect from a proper party planner.  She was also kind enough to show us around her beautiful home which was so pretty and homely.  I loved seeing what could be done with the blank canvas we've all been given.
  • (More to do with welcoming and the kindness of relative strangers) Being offered trips to the supermarkets and being told about lots of new places to visit.  We were also loaned books and DVDs to keep us going until our shipment arrives.
  • Still finding our way around but I have been to a local shop by myself as it is in walking distance.
  • Going out on the bus by myself to a mall-totally terrifying, but very proud of myself…it really was like getting a bus anywhere else….don’t really know why I got myself so worked up and scared of it!