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Tuesday, 17 July 2018

Come to Canada: Vancouver Vacation (White Christmas)

After our first visit to Vancouver in 2015, going back was all I think about - but alas, the world is wide and there are so many countries I need to tick off my list.  Last Christmas, Mon Beau and I decide to revisit Vancouver for White Christmas, and the Bestie and hubby ensured that we experienced everything there was to experience for a typical Canadian Winter (including Snow Storm!)

Anyway, after months of preparation and arrangements with the Bestie, December finally dawned, bringing with it Christmas.  Besides the very Christmas traditions such as baking of Christmas cookies and log cakes, making Vishinata (Sour Cherry Liqueur), setting up the real pine Christmas tree and carving the turkey on Christmas Eve, what else did we do during this merry Yuletide season?

Places of interest comprised resorts for skiing and tubing, as well as a Spa in the snow.  We also caught the Iced Hockey and enjoyed shopping at Fisherman's Wharf, parks to see the enchanting Christmas lights, and New Year's Eve Countdown Party.

Sasquatch Mountain Resort is a lovely winter retreat for families and friends, mainly for winter sports such as skiing, snowboarding and tubing (grab a giant wheel up the slopes, sit in it and slide down). The holiday chalets are well-maintained and fully-furnished, allowing for comfortable stay.  As the resort is mostly used for winter stay, they typically only start accepting bookings around May / June onwards.

20955 Hemlock Valley Road, Agassiz, BC V0M 1A1, Canada
Tel: +1 604 797 4411
Website: https://sasquatchmountain.ca

There is nothing as breathtaking as a Scandiave spa! It is a park full of pools and sauna / steam rooms - jacuzzi pools, hot baths and ice-cold streams of water, as well as massage rooms. The place opens from 10.00am to 9.00pm daily, the bath access goes for CAD$70.00 per pax. With snow falling on the bare grounds in Winter, the enchantment of this place has just been multiplied.

8010 Mons Road, Whistler, BC, VON 1B8, Canada
Tel: +1 604 935 2424
Website: https://www.scandinave.com

We caught our very Ice Hockey from a box seat, complete with popcorn, pizzas and Canadian beers. This was an exciting experience for us, and we found ourselves cheering loudly for / against Giants versus Prince George Cougars teams.

7888 200 Street, Langley, BC V2Y 3J4, Canada
Tel: +1 604 882 8800
Website: http://www.langleyeventscentre.com

An elaborate and stunning yearly affair with 1 million lights right at VanDusen Botanical Gardens, transforming the entire park into a magic wonderland. Tickets were priced at CAD$18.50 per adult for admission, and included a free ride on the Carousel.

5151 Oak Street, Vancouver, BC V6M 4H1, Canada
Tel:  +1 604 257 8335
Website: http://vandusengarden.org/events/festival-of-lights

Photo Source: http://deluxe.cafeblog.hu/2015/12/11/elindult-utjara-a-csillogo-karacsonyi-vonat/

For 20 years now, Stanley Park and Christmas Train sparkle with over 3 million twinkling lights. Besides these magical displays, there are also Santa Workshops, live performances, and do expect Santa Claus + entourage to board the trains to say hello, anytime.   Admission to Bright Nights is by donation; it is a meaningful initiative and proceeds benefit the Professional Fire Fighters Burn Fund.

Pipeline Road, Stanley Park, Vancouver BC V6A, 1P5, Canada
Tel:  +1 604 257 8531
Website: http://www.brightnights.ca

Photo Source: https://www.grousemountain.com/peak-of-christmas

Watch Grouse Mountains transform into a Winter Wonderland during Christmastime as well, charming visitors with breathtaking lights installations, Santa's Workshops, and enjoyment of Christmas movies at Theater in the Sky. If you are into sports, skating and skiing are available as well.

6400 Nancy Greens Way, North Vancouver, BC V7R 4K9, Canada
Tel: +1 604 980 9311
Website: https://www.grousemountain.com/peak-of-christmas

If you are not able to go to town area, or have commitments such as budget or time constraints, fret not. Christmas may very well be right outside your doorstep - during Christmas period, nearly every house is prettily decorated. Take a leisurely stroll around the neighbourhood to bask in the festive decor; you might even get to strike up conversations with a neighbour or two along the way.

A lovely and tranquil spot for dining and purchase of very-fresh seafood definitely, Fisherman's Wharf in Richmond, Vancouver, is as good as the famous Fisherman's Wharf in San Francisco (so I am told) - the one we hear so much about. The village's famed commercial fleet here is the largest in Canada itself, and the harbour view is simply gorgeous.

1505 W, 1st Avenue, BC V6J 1E8 Canada
Tel: +1 604 733 3625
Website: http://www.falsecreek.com

Vancouver is a pretty cosmopolitan city with many different nationalities working or migrating here. As such, restaurants of many different cuisine can be found here easily, giving us way too many options. As most of the restaurants are opened by native migrants, they are largely authentic and we had a lot of fun hunting for different cuisine to try every day.

3866 Bayview Street, Steveston, Fisherman's Wharf, BC V7E 3B6, Canada
Tel: +1 604 284 1222
Website: https://catchkitchen.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Catchkitchen

A restaurant and bar with breathtaking views of the Fisherman's Wharf (sea views, of course), offering fresh seafood dishes and pasta dishes with fusion twist.

1163 Pinetree Way #2048 Coquitlam, Port Coquitlam, British Columbia, V3B 8A9, Canada
Tel: +1 604 944 4570
Facebook: https://goo.gl/1pQKFu

A simple, traditional Korean restaurant run by a friendly Korean lady boss, serving up delectable tofu soup, BBQ items and other Korean dishes at affordable pricing. Needless to say, the authentic Korean cuisine draws many Korean nationals to dine here as well.

22805 Louheed Highway, Maple Ridge, BC V2X 2V7, Canada
Tel: +1 604 476 9699
Website: None supplied

Located along the Louheed Highway on our way down from the ski resort, Sushiro provided excellent and fresh Japanese cuisine - think thick slices of sashimi, assortment of sushi rolls and friendly service. 4 of us ordered many items but the bill barely came up to CAD60.00!

41101 Government Road, Brackendale, BC V0N 1H10 Squamish, Canada
Tel: +1 604 898 6665
Website: http://thewatershedgrill.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/thewatershedgrill/?rf=225084624170676

Our favorite dining spot because of 2 reasons - dining by the river (albeit frozen during Winter season), and they serve the best Poutine (Canadian fries with cheese) ever. We also enjoyed their burgers, and the service.

This restaurant chain has a few outlets over at Lower Mainland, Vancouver Island, Interior, Northern British Columbia, Calgary, Edmonton and Leduc. We went to the one en-route up to Whistler Mountain (I am not sure which one that was).
Website: https://www.whitespot.ca
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/whitespot

Generally, White Spot Restaurant serves up Western cuisine such as fish, chicken and pasta etc; they are a family friendly restaurant with adorable kids'  meals and personable staff crew.

1118 Denman Street, Vancouver, BC V6G1T2, Canada
Website: http://www.espanarestaurant.ca
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/espanarestaurant.ca

A quaint, cosy little Spanish tapas restaurant and bar with a good range of delectable tapas items. We had everything from seafood to chorizo eggs to pate to churros etc. Highly recommended by the Bestie, and now me! Really fun dining experience here.

141E Broadway, Vancouver, BC V5T 1W1, Canada
Tel: +1 604 879 8221
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Congee-Noodle-House/159035794123073

A traditional Chinese restaurant opened by Hong Konger or someone from Guangzhou, as the dishes' focal is more Cantonese-based. It is a crowded restaurant with long queues. We thought that most of the food items were salty, and service was very bad. The only saving grace was their congee - many flavours, and tasty. I enjoyed the Scallops Congee, especially.

1766W 7th Avenue, Vancouver, BC V6J 4Z9, Canada
Tel:  +1 604 742 3311
Website: http://delhi6.ca
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/delhi6indianbistro

Delhi-6 Indian Bistro sports a really elegant and exquisite interior, and the staff crew is very friendly (kept smiling). We enjoyed a hot and very delicious dinner on this cold wintry night, especially the Coconut Lamb Curry, Bryani and Mango Lassi.

900 Canada Place Way, Vancouver, BC, Canada
Tel: +1 604 691 1991
Website: http://clubzone.com/vancouver/new-years-eve-parties/

Last but not least, count-down to the brand new year in Vancouver at one of their really fun New Year's Eve parties. Most big hotels organise such parties; there are even those onboard cruises - cocktails, wine and canapes are usually served. We went for the one at Fairmont Waterfront Hotel, watched the fireworks, countdown and danced the night away.

Overall, visiting Vancouver, Canada in December was a vastly different experience from the last trip in Autumn - both exciting and beautiful experiences but we got to indulge in a different set of activities. White Christmas and all the winter sports, winter spa etc were worth the 25-hours journey that we travelled to reach our destination. You should consider visiting this gorgeous place too.

Monday, 16 July 2018

Dinner at La Cala Spanish Restaurant @ Bugis

7 Fraser Street #01-40 / 43 Duo Galleria, Singapore 189356
Tel: 6282 9200

La Cala Restaurant is located at the new Duo Galleries, 2 towering blocks of stunningly gorgeous buildings. While we spoke to one if the partners (everyone here was so friendly and service was simply impeccable), we had no idea who he was, if he was someone prominent in the culinary scene. The restaurant's origins remain a mystery, but reviews are mostly raves, so I had to check it out with my favourite girls.

The interior is spacious, with a bar counter and well-spaced tables. The dim lighting cast an intimate vibe, providing comfort after a long day at work. Menu items comprise mainly Spanish and Mediterranean dishes.

Starters of Olives and Gratis Bread were served first. The bread rolls looked hard but their looks deceived- the exterior was crusty while interior was pretty fluffy, making it tempting to reach for more.

We shared a bottle of 12 Volts Mallorca Wine (SGD$110.00), under the "Cabernet Sauvignon" category. The first sip yielded a somewhat spicy tinge, but as I rolled it around my tongue, the sweetness of fruity notes burst forth, pleasing the palate immensely.

The Atlantic Cod with Pil-Pil (SGD$38.00) - a traditional way of preparing cod with black garlic, olive and hazelnut. We thought that the flesh could have been a little more taut (it was way too soft) and sauce too creamy.

The Crispy Suckling Pig with Melon (SGD$35.00) was exactly as its name entails - crispy, with succulent flesh; a delightful dish.

Highlight of the evening and my all-time craving - Pigeon Paella (SGD$38.00) - crispy and superbly flavorful carnanoli rice with with tender whole pigeon and porcini mushrooms. Worth the carbs for totally - even recounting it now makes me hungry.

 Overall dining experience at La Cala was nothing short of excellent in every aspect; I'm glad we visited!

Sunday, 15 July 2018

Poem: Stolen Beauty

She formed dreams and spiked fantasies
The perfect picture of elegance. 
Her beauty was stolen from angels, 
And the demons wanted to steal it. 

Her blood was warm, the blade cold, 
She lost the battle 
With demons in her head, 
Dark burdens within spotless facade. 

Her long lashes were wet, her lips dry, 
Lips that would never kiss again. 
She lost the battle 
And her soul escaped her lifeless shield. 

Goodbye, beautiful one, 
And her painful silent screams. 
Were there ever clues in those eyes, 
Eyes that melted hearts too cold?

© WinePoetess 2018. All Rights Reserved.

Saturday, 14 July 2018

Outfit of the Day - dark gray massage suit

"When life gives you Monday, dip it in glitter and sparkle all day." - Ella Woodward

Massage spa clothes, in preparation of a good classic Thai Massage.

Clothes: by Pimnara Spa, Phuket

Friday, 13 July 2018

Outfit of the Day - Gray Cocktail Dress with Black Blazer

"Be sure what you want and be sure about yourself. Fashion is not just beauty, it's 
about good attitude. You have to believe in yourself and be strong." - Adriana Lima

Gray sequined  beaded dress, paired with a sleeveless black blazer. Suitable for cocktail parties, functions, events, outings and dates.

Dress: Eurago (SGD$188.00)
Heels; Pazzion (SGD$89.90)
Blazer: Seven @ Raffles Place (SGD$169.00)
Necklace: Tiffany's & Co
Earrings: Chanel

Thursday, 12 July 2018

Bella Marie France's 36th Anniversary Celebration @ Orchard

218 Orchard Road, #10-01 / 02 Orchard Gateway @ Emerald, Singapore 238851
Tel: 6235 8030
Event Date: 12 July 2018 (Thursday)
Event Time: 11.00am / 3.00pm / 6.30pm

Bella Marie France celebrates 36th anniversary at its new outlet at Orchard Gateway @ Emerald. I was honoured to be invited to join in the fun and celebratory activities by the personable team here at Bella Marie France.

A pretty Photo Booth was available for us to look glamorous with props while taking photos. There were also prizes to be won if we posted the photos with hashtag #BellaMarieFrance.

Lunch was served; a pretty delectable buffet with Sauteed Prawns, Fish, Butter Rice, Waldorf Salad and Pineapple Pudding, etc.

Following that, I enjoyed a 30-minute Back and Shoulder Massage on a special chair where I sat and positioned myself according to its unique structure. I felt rejuvenated after the massage.

There was also a Coffee Art and Appreciation by One Man Coffee and their talented barista Alistair Seetoh. It was entertaining to watch him creating various images with milk foam on aromatic coffee. We got to enjoy the delicious coffee too.

Last but not least, Makeup Secrets demonstration by Marc Teng, teaching us the art of contouring. It was enriching and educational - thank you for the tips.

Finally, a short sharing session about their newly launched services and products, as well as anniversary promotions. At the end of the event, I walked away with a Goody Bag filled with BMF products such as ampoule, mask sheet, sunblock and a healthy recipe book, etc.

Thank you Bella Marie France for the invite to this fun and educational event; we enjoyed ourselves for sure. Congratulations to you again and may there be many more anniversaries to come!