Oreo Chocolate Chip Cookies

I have been reading tons of blogs and watching plenty vlogmasses online that really made me feel like baking. So after searching through a load of different recipes and putting this baking session off for a long time, I finally decided to bake Oreo Chocolate Chip Cookies, mm-mm!

I absolutely adore chocolate, so choosing this recipe was a no-brainer.  I had a lazy Sunday in and since I had no plans, I thought why not take up that baking session that I have been thinking of. So I headed to the nearest supermarket, bought back bags of flour, sugar, chocolate chips, Oreo, butter and other baking essentials. Went back home and got straight down to preparing the dough. With christmas carols playing around the house and the smell of cookies accompanied by the smell of pine from the tree. Everything just felt very festive and put me in a great mood.

The preparation of the dough took me about 30 minutes and baking time of 11 minutes. I took the recipe from Zoella’s website, which you can click here to view it as well. It was a really simple recipe to follow.

Here is how to cookies turned out. It was crunchy on the outside but soft and gooey on the inside. With a nice cup of milk or coffee, it tasted like heaven.

photo_2015-12-21_10-22-51 photo_2015-12-21_10-22-39

Advertisements

Decorating the Christmas Tree

My absolute favorite thing about Christmas is putting up the decorating the house and dressing the tree with everything festive I can lay my hands on. This year, I went on a hunt to get a few more ornaments to add to my already large collection of baubles and other ornaments. Alongside, buying more wreaths to decorate the table tops, flowers to dress the tree to give it a more vibrant look and garlands.

We ordered an 8 ft. pine tree which basically means that my entire house is fragrant with the smell of pine. The tree came in on friday and that meant it was time to get down to business. After wrapping the tree with three bundles of lights of red and yellow/white, my family started dressing the tree and it was my dad’s job as the man of the family to do the final touch of placing the star right at top. With christmas music playing away in the background and everyone placing baubles, flowers, bells, stars, mini stockings and baby with harps, it was really starting to look like Christmas.

My Christmas Playlist:

spotify:user:1184783756:playlist:4ay2LMZcGkCGX9vHt85fkR

We themed this year’s decor to be that of Red, Gold and Green. The classic festive colours and here are some pictures of this year’s decorations.

Processed with VSCOcam with a6 preset

Dried Flowers Bundle

Processed with VSCOcam with acg preset

Jingle Bells

Red Bauble with Gold Stripes

Mirror Reflective Gold Bauble

 

 

Winter Wonderland – Lapland, Finland

Have you ever watched Chronicles of Narnia? Yeah, the movie where you walk through the cupboard and end up in this entire new world with only acres and acres of land filled with snow, probably slightly too white christmas trees and this one lamp pole in the middle of who knows where?

Well, Lapland in FInland is basically the real life equivalent of this imaginary world you have read about. Since it’s just slightly over two weeks till Christmas, here is a little throwback post to December 2013.

Two years ago, I travelled a good 9,335km to the north of Estonia (Finland) in attempt to tick seeing Aurora Borealis off my bucket list. I first flew to the capital of Denmark, Copenhagen and spent a few days there seeing the beautiful sights such as the Nyhavn. After which,  I flew to Helsinki before switching to the tiniest plane I have ever sat on to Lapland.

After checking into the hotel which I can’t remember the name of right now, our first stop was to the snow gear rental. There, we rented the largest outer one-piece, heaviest boots,  helmet and eye goggles. I felt like I was going for some intense survival of the fittest trek through the wilderness. But they were actually just for our reindeer ride, snow mobile drive and husky sleigh rides. To be fair, they kept me extremely warm throughout my stay there although they were definitely not winter wear you would see being shown on the runway during fashion week.

The first day of activities arrived, and after a hearty breakfast, I took the coach ride to what looked like the middle of nowhere apart from this cosy hut where they basically told us the back story about the reindeer and everything. To those who never knew reindeer existed, yes they do! There are many Rudolphs around.

After warming up in the hut, I headed back out into the cold and everything looked like added exposure because of how white the snow was. It was like any available area exposed was covered with layers of snow. I then went for the reindeer ride which was amazing, the reindeer were beautiful with huge antlers.

Later on that evening we went to Rovaniemi, which according to Google is “a city and municipality of Finland. It is the administrative capital and commercial centre of Finland’s northernmost province, Lapland.” or for short it was Santa Clause l. Yes, after 17 years of living, I finally visited the main man with his signature white beard, huge belly and HOHOHOs. If you’re like me who is obsessed with Christmas, I would highly recommend a visit when you get the chance. The village was filled with 15ft. tall christmas trees, beyond life-size snow mans, all you could want in a christmas store huts and basically all things festive.

Fast forward to the next day which was New Year’s Eve if I had not mistaken, I started the day with a once again the classic breakfast of toast, eggs, sausages, the usual. Before heading out to ride the four-wheel snow mobiles. Which was throughly loads of fun. Though it was a bit hard to see with your face basically freezing and turning to ice due to the wind. Once that was done, I went to another location (notice how I have no idea what any of the places are called? That’s because after a while, heaps of snows and pine trees all start to look the same to me.) to go husky sledding. It was my second time doing so, the first was in Alaska. But this time it was a little different. Unlike previously where all I had to do was sit and let someone else control the huskies, it was my turn to stand at the back of the sled and lead them myself.

As it is winter, the sun sets super early. By 4pm it was dark outside. So when it came round my turn for the husky sledding, I could not see past 100m in front of me and when it went into the forest, my sight basically went as far as the light from the torch on my head reached. Which was quite frightening, to be honest. Fortunately, these huskies have been going through this route tons of times so I trusted they pretty much knew where they were going. It was certainly quite an experience leading your own pack of 8 huskies. They were the most adorable dogs I have seen apart from my own, that is.

Once that was done we headed back and got ready for the most unusual New Year’s Eve countdown I would ever have experienced in my (at that point of time) 17 years of existence. We were hoping to see the Northern Lights but from what we heard, even the people who live there only get to see it at most fives times in their lifetime! So we knew the chances were slim to none. Instead, we settled for a snowy New Year’s Eve. It was sub-zero temperature when I was out playing about in the snow before dinner and just as I was playing around, I felt the wind start to slow down and I thought it was going to get less cold. Just then, it started to snow pretty heavily. We headed back out into a place that I know not the location of where we had dinner in this hut, surrounded by teepee that had activities for us to enjoy after dinner whilst waiting for the countdown to begin.  They even had a legitimate ice bar, it was not like the ones where just looked like ice but were really just man-made. This ice bar was just made from the snow and ice at the spot where they bartenders were standing at.

I spent the next few hours leading up to the countdown just playing around with the snow, it’s not often I got to experience such a countdown and I made sure I was soaking up the full experience. Pun-intended. I was soaked from the snow ball fights I had.

Before I knew it, the countdown begin “10, 9, 8, 7…..3, 2, 1 HAPPY NEW YEAR!” and a beautiful display of fireworks just for the few of us who were there that night.

Truly a unique and unforgettable vacation.

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset

IMG_4620IMG_4650

Best Reads of 2015

By definition, an avid reader is someone who loves to read as much as you can, whenever you can. Well, I definitely do not fall under that category of people. Nonetheless, I enjoy a good book every once in awhile and in comparison to most years, I have read more book this year than I have over the past couple of years.

So I just thought I’d pen my thoughts down on a few of my favorites.

Top of the list would without a doubt be: The Maze Runner Series

This by far has got to the best series I have read ever. And by best series, EVER. I mean the books that kept me up at night and when I told myself just one more chapter it went on for another fifteen chapters or so before I was forced to put the book down. I was so immersed in the book, it felt like you entered the Maze/ Scorch with the characters. Being able to visualize everything and everyone. Having the movie already out when I started reading it enabled me to picture the characters all that clearer.

Unlike most books with the romance between the main character and in this case the one of the only few girls in the book, I rooted for the bromance between Thomas & Newt throughout the series. While most people were torn and emotionally wrecked after reading love tragedies in books such as Dear John, nothing prepared me for the heartbreak when it came to looming page 250 of The Death Cure.

All said and done, it was a series unlike the Divergent or The Hunger Games. From the first page of the book I dived right into the heart and action of it all making it my all time favorite, this year. I am sure that these four books are one in which I would pick up to read again in the near future. It was the kind of book that made “you know you’ve read a good book when you turn the last page and feel a little as if you’ve lost a friend”.

The Girl on the Train was another book that was definitely different from the usual genres that I loved. I picked the book up at a bookstore in Heathrow Airport and started reading it whilst on vacation. The intensity and curiosity that peaked along as the book progressed and the final plot twist that I did not see coming left me in awe. It was the kind of books that I often saw in the movies but never quite as detailed.

Lastly, Where Rainbows End was the typical lovey dovey book that you would expect from Cecilia Ahern. Unlike most of the books, this book was written in letters as it brought me through the rollercoaster ride of the relationship between Rosie and Alex. The almosts but never quite there yet. Of course concluding with the happy ending that I always love to read. Leaving me satisfied that the happily ever after was worth the three hundred+ pages that I had to go through.

These were some of the books I singled out, out of the couple of books I read this year. Just received a few more books (Hello Life, All The Bright Places) that were shipped in from the UK that I am about to start reading once I finish According to YES.

Meeting Malfie

After counting down the days for a good two weeks or so, the day finally arrived and I met my favorite youtubers, MARCUS BUTLER & ALFIE DEYES. 

I was without a doubt estatic when the day finally arrived. After rushing down to Suntec City, I had to wait for franny to arrive, so I decided to go get myself a Starbucks to kill some time. When queuing up, the two girls in front of me had bright luminous green bands on. I had guessed their age to be about 17 or so and as such, was quite certain they were going to meet Marcus & Alfie too. When Fran finally arrived, we asked them if they were one of the 150 people who won the meet & greet and true enough they were there for the same reasons as us. We quickly became friends and headed to registration area at the Convention Centre. Let’s just say Suntec City is way too huge.

After registering, Franny & I decided it would be a good idea to try and grab something to eat. At that point of time, we had no idea that we had to walk who knew how far just for a bite. After hunting and searching for the directories we concluded that a sandwich from Starbucks would be the quickest and easiest thing to grab. We frantically tried to gobble down our lunch whilst preparing the gifts we brought for #Malfie.

The girls we met at Starbucks were so lovely to let us join in the queue with them so we did not have to be at the back and as such we reached back the Convention Centre right on time to head on in.

We entered the hall to see so many chairs lined up and sat 4 rows from the front. After another half hour of waiting, the moment finally arrived. Marcus & Alfie walked on stage and the crowd went insane. There was a 14-year-old boy seated in front of me who had an amazing talent for drawing. He Immdiately lifted the potraits he drew of Alfie & Zoella and Marcus & Naomi up, instantly grabbing their attention.

The next 30-45 mins or so went on with an interview about their Youtube lifestory. It even included questions from the audience and Alfie facetiming Zoella & of course Nala which basically made Franny lose her mind if she did not lose it when shouting “PRATA!” when they were asking what to eat for breakfast, of which we are quite sure Marcus heard it considering his facial expression.

It was quite surreal to see them seated up there on stage because they are people I’ve seen on videos watching their daily vlogs for the longest time and suddenly there they were right in front of my eyes. It’s like “WOW, YOU ARE REAL.”

IMG_4940

IMG_4941

IMG_4962

The meet & greet finally began and the excitment continued to build with each person that was done with meeting them. Finally my turn finally arrived and I was awe-struck. They are freakishly tall with amazing accents that could just make me melt and smelt so good. On top of that they are even better looking in r eal life oh gosh. When Marcus said “how’re you?”, I think I might have just reached cloud nine. It was quite unfortunate that they were not allowed to sign anything apart from their books of which Hello Life decided not to be delivered in time (I’m quite certain it would come this week instead, what great timing). What was worse was that two turns before mine, one of the girls that we met was about to ask them to sign their books when the Events Manager stopped them claiming that there weren’t enough time. The disappointment in her eyes and their eyes when they heard that was unparalled. You could quite see the frustration on Marcus and Alfie’s face, as well.

Nonetheless, when my turn came around they were amazingly sweet and genuine. Alfie even added that he liked the photoframe I brought along because it was an extra one I had after making the gifts for them.

After the meet & greet, we decided to continue to busk in their presence and hang around the stage where the M&G was held. While standing at the side, Alfie looked at us, flashed the largest grin and waved, which made us so very happy. We continued to stand there trying to get Marcus to wave at us too. Succesfully doing so. He was about to hug another fan when he saw us and stopped to wave at us too. HAHA.

Overall that was quite literally one of the best days I had in an extremely long while. So thankful for franny for bringing me along to meet them and of course for her company for the entire day.

Yes, I have finished rambling about my fan-girl moments and I will leave it with just a couple of the many pictures I took that day.

Look at Marcus's face please, I think I just died.

Look at Marcus’s face please, I think I just died.

Hug from Marky Butt Butt

Hug from Marky Butt Butt

Hug from Alfieeeeee

Hug from Alfieeeeee

#Malfie

#Malfie

YES, I AM IN THE PICTURE!

“CHICKEN AND RICE”

Covent Garden & Wandering around the Streets of London

Earlier this year in June, I headed up to London for a little vacation. It was my third time back in the surprisingly sunny UK (probably since it was the start of summer) and I realized I have never been to Convent Garden ever, during my visits there. As such, on the first day out we decided to head on over for a little shopping and dining.

I was joined with Ashley who was our tourguide for the day. We took the tube down to Covent Garden where we had lunch at 21 Covent Garden.  Ordering a heavenly Bianca Pizza (Parma Ham & melted Mozzarella) to share. Alongside bruschetta & a pasta. It was an exceptionally hot day and being seated outside, the sun was burning our backs. However, it was still better than the humid heat that we have back home in Singapore. The ambience in which the restaurant was situated was certainly lively. It allowed for people watching, as people buzzed around during the busy lunch hour, families with kids on a day out as they sat on the cobbled pavements watching street performances and the whif of both savory and sweet delicies made by the large variation of restuarants, delis and bars around. If the food were to have fall short of meeting expectations, the livelihood of Covent Garden Market certainly did not.

Once we felt that we had enough of a tan in the sun, we headed back inside for a look around at the quaint shops all around Covent Garden. From selling choclates to toys to branded items, they had it all.

Prior to heading to Covent Garden, we took a walk along Long Acre, stopping at shops every once in awhile to see if there were anything much to buy. One of the shops included Jack Wills which is basically as British as you can get. As the items inside caught the eye of my parents rather than myself, Ashley & I could not help ourselves to snapping a couple pictures at the empty street opposite the store.

To more London adventures soon!

xxx

xxx

Convent Garden

Convent Garden

Covent Garden Market Building

Covent Garden Market Building

Most Wonderful Time of the Year

It’s beginning to look like Christmas, everywhere you go~

It’s finally December! I have waited a good 11 months for this time of year to finally arrive once again. Unfortunately, this year there will be no cold winds, hot chocolate and sweaters to boost the Christmassy feels. Nonetheless, it is my favorite time of the year once again.

I am really glad to be able to enjoy a full December of Christmas feels because for the past few years exams always fell on the week before the 25th. As such, I was never really able to enjoy the anticipation leading up to Christmas.

Being me, I was just a tad bit excited for Christmas and having seen some of the beautiful decorations on Pinterest, I decided that buying a garland to decorate the front door rather than just hanging a wreath and ‘Merry Christmas’ bunting was necessary. So last sunday I went Christmas decorating shopping with my girls.

Our first stop: IKEA

Sadly, the selection they had was miserable and a disappointment.

Second stop: Robinsons

Wow was that a change, the selectioin was much wider and though a lot more pricer it was well worth-it. So I found two garlands there and bought 2m of yellow lights to wrap around the garlands so that it would look lovely when lited at night. In addition, as it was the Black Friday weekend, I received 20% and an additional 10% off my buys!! Whoohoo! What a saver.

IMG_4822.PNG

Public embarrassements

Processed with VSCOcam with a6 preset

Christmas Deco buys!

Processed with VSCOcam with a6 preset

Shopping shopping

On most cases I would not buy much things when I head out by myself mainly because everything is expensive and I’m trying to save some money. But when in town on a Sunday and on the weekend of Black Friday, all the prices seemed irresistable. So after buying my christmas decorations, I walked around with Nat and decided to walk into an A&F store just to take a look since I had another 45mins or so before my 3 hours parking was expired (yes, I wanted to make sure I fully utilized my $5 parking fee). Turns out, we could not help our selves to splurge a little more on the discounted boyfriend jeans.

After a full day of shopping, I reached home, had a nice shower and lazed on the couch as I watched ThatcherJoe’s Innuendo Bingo & YouTuber Whisper whilst waiting for X Factor to start. But that wasn’t the end of the day. Once again, the excitment got the better of me and I insisted on putting up some of the decorations. Bad idea!!

The garlands as beautiful as they were, were extremely difficult to wire the lights around it especially since they were two separate garlands with only one 2m wire lights to wrap around them both. Thus began the tedious task of trial & error trying to get the lighting right and making sure that it sat on the door frame nicely with no wires sticking out and that every inch of the garland was covered in lights.

It took me a good 2 hours and by the time I was done, I had to take a shower again. But it was definitely worth the hardwork. The lightings looked beautiful and I couldn’t be happier!

So here are some pictures of the Hong’s home christmas decorating Part One!

Processed with VSCOcam with a6 preset

Mini musical TV from Berlin

Processed with VSCOcam with a6 preset

Lighted Garlands

IMG_4821

Lighted Wreath

Countdown to Christmas: 22 days

Have a merry December! xxx