Sunday, 29 January 2012

Glass Brasserie - Sydney Festival

Glass Brasserie on Urbanspoon

Glass Brasserie
Level 2, 488 George Street, Sydney

I've been wanting to try celebrity chef Luke Mangan's Glass Brassiere for ages. Its located in the luxury 5 Star Hilton Hotel, right in the heart of the Sydney City - opposite the Queen Victoria Building.
Glass Brassiere is a one hat fine dining restaurant, with its interiors designed by New York designer Tony Chi (an impressive wall of wine design indeed!)

As part of the Sydney Festival (7 to 29 January 2012), Glass Brassiere was offering a $30 main course meal (lunch or dinner) which included a glass of McGuigan "The Shortlist" Wine or a bottle of Coopers beer or a bottle of Tasmanian Rain water (still or sparkling). A great opportunity to check out this place, as their mains are normally priced $40 to $50.

Main course was vanilla and celery poached salmon, fennel puree, pickled celery and white asparagus salad. And I choose to have a bottle of Tasmanian Rain sparkling water with it.

We were told at the start that the meal does not come with any sides or bread, and the salad is small - so suggested we order a side. This gave the girls and I the green light to try the Parmesan & Truffle French Fries! We just couldn't resist... I mean its not like you can have Parmesan & Truffle French Fries to go everyday... so why not?

From the moment you step into the restaurant, its airy and light - the 13 metre high ceilings and wine wall provide a wonder atmosphere and visual imagery. Seating is private so even when its busy you don't notice the crowd, and can quite comfortably carry on a private conversation.

Tasmanian Rain water is like the purest water I have ever drank. Tasty and very refreshing. Must have something to do with the fact that the rain water is collected without ever touching the ground - the air travels over Antarctica, and thousands of miles of the ocean, eventually reaching the most western part of Tasmania, called "The Edge of the World". Its the Ferrari of water.

Pros: Service staff friendly and attentive. Salmon was cooked to perfection - tender and flavorsome. Parmesan & Truffle French Fries simply delicious and remained crisp throughout the entire meal. Parmesan gave it a nice sharp flavour balanced out by the Truffle oil. Must try!

Cons: Serving size small. Salad small. No sides, not even bread, which I find a little stingy as alot of other places like Becasse and Jamie Oliver's Italian, provide complimentary bread. (I acknowledge that the friendly staff did warn us at the start).

Vanilla and celery poached salmon, fennel puree, pickled celery and white asparagus salad
$30, includes a bottle of Tasmanian Rain water

Parmesan & Truffle French Fries $13

Interior, impressive wine wall. High ceilings

Saturday, 28 January 2012

Day 7 Skinny Jeans Diet... the verdict

Finally Day 7 of Skinny Jeans diet is over... I've made it through, the first few days were tough having to restrict myself to 3 main meals a day and one snack only, no sweets!

Here's a recap of Lauren Conrad's 7 days to Skinny Jeans diet. I've highlighted in green the options I chose.

The Rules
  • Commit. Keep your eyes on the prize (a.k.a. those darn skinny jeans) and if possible, enlist a partner in crime. It’s always easier when you have a buddy for support!
  • Drink lots of water! At least 8-10 glasses a day.
  • Pick one exercise to do every day (save one day for rest).
  • Pick one meal from each category for each day.
  • Pick one snack for each day. (I like to have a snack between lunch and dinner, but the timing is really up to you.)
  • If possible, try to sneak in your exercise before breakfast. Otherwise, just make sure you squeeze it into your schedule. This is the important part!
Breakfast Options
  • Greek yogurt topped with walnuts, a handful of berries (or sliced banana) and a light drizzle of agave nectar
  • Steel cut oatmeal with 2 tablespoons of dried apricots, 2 tablespoons of slivered almonds and a splash of almond milk
  • Veggie omelet with a slice of whole grain toast
  • Breakfast smoothie
  • Half an avocado stuffed with cottage cheese and a side of sliced tomato
  • Ezekiel toast topped with 2 sliced up hardboiled eggs served with half of a grapefruit
  • Breakfast Quinoa
Lunch & Dinner Options
  • Whole-grain pita filled with chicken, arugula, sliced tomato a teaspoon of crumbled feta and a drizzle of olive oil; serve with a side of grapes
  • Grilled Bruschetta Chicken with a small side salad (use a mixture of lemon, olive oil and balsamic vinegar for the dressing)
  • Zucchini “Pasta” with a side of quinoa
  • Two slices of cauliflower crust pizza with a side of steamed vegetables
  • Sesame-Tofu Stir-Fry 
  • Beet, Orange & Fennel Salad with a side of quinoa
  • Healthy Chicken Salad served over lettuce or on a slice of whole-grain toast
  • 1 medium apple with 1 tablespoon of peanut butter
  • 1 cup of red grapes and a low fat string cheese
  • ¼ cup of almonds
  • ½ cup of bran cereal (or Grape Nuts) with milk and a few berries
  • Raw veggies with 3 generous tablespoons of hummus
  • 1 hardboiled egg with a few whole-grain crackers
  • Celery with a tablespoon of almond butter and a few raisins
Exercise Options
  • 30 minutes of cardio (running, kickboxing, elliptical, swimming, step aerobics etc.)
  • 1 hour of yoga or Pilates
  • Intervals: run for 60 seconds, walk for 90 seconds (repeat 8 times)
  • Circuit: 100 jumping jacks, 20 crunches, 20 squats, 10 push ups, 25 bench dips (you can do this using a chair), 60 second wall sit, 60 second plank (repeat two times)
  • 1 hour hike with steady incline
  • Quickie: 20 lunges, 50 jumping jacks (or swap out jumping jacks for jumping rope for 2 minutes)
  • Semi-Quickie: 15 minute jog, 20 squats, 20 sit-ups

Kerancia's Verdict.
The ones highlighted in green above, were the options I chose to alternate between over the 7 days. The first 2 days I was really hungry as having one snack of 1 apple and a tablespoon of peanut butter really does NOT hit the spot. By day 3, I had gotten into a pattern of having 3 main meals and 1 snack. I did 6 days straight of exercise varying between 30 minutes run, the quickie workout and the semi-quickie workout. Day 7 was rest day. Surprising after the initial hurdle, my energy levels were up and I was feeling motivated to complete the 7 days skinny jeans plan.

Pros: If you've been slack with your eating lately, this plan gets you back into a routine of healthy eating - 3 main meals and a snack. Simple tasty recipes to follow take the guess work of figuring out what to eat.

7 days is short enough to commit to, and I felt motivated. By the end of the 7 days, I had lost 1kg - felt less bloated, and my skinny jeans were more comfortable!!! Great way to kick start committing to a longer term fitness regime!

Cons: Don't expect miracles. It’s not going to make you lose a lot of weight. I lost 1kg. But I felt heaps better at the end of the week.

Saturday, 21 January 2012

Lauren Conrad's 7 Days to Skinny Jeans

Suffering from a bit of post holiday over eating...  I found this great Shape up 7 days workout to Skinny Jeans of American personality Lauren Conrad. Hopefully it'll have my body bouncing back to Skinny Jeans in no time!

I'll be doing this workout for the next 7 days, so join me and we can do it together :)

What I like about this routine is that its short & quick. And you can still eat. Its not about starving your body, just eating better and increasing the number of times you exercise (6 days out of 7 - one day rest).

Sounds easy enough, I'll let you know how I do - and whether I'm back to my Skinny Jeans. Check it out for yourself - Lauren Conrad's 7 days to Skinny Jeans.

Saturday, 14 January 2012

Sydney Fish Markets & Fish Market Cafe

Fish Market Cafe - Sydney Fish Market on Urbanspoon

The largest working fish markets in the southern hemisphere. Sydney Fish Markets at Pyrmont is a Sydney icon. Many people come from near and far to buy their seafood here, considered to be the freshest & finest in Sydney. Opened for a marathon 36 hours on December 23 till Christmas Eve. So much more than just a fish market. You can enjoy yum cha, eat lunch at one of the many cafes which cook the seafood fresh, take a tour, or join a cooking class. Parking can be hard to get, and pay by time.

Fish Market Cafe is located inside the fish market, near the main entrance. On a sunny Sydney day, it is a great place to grab some fish & chips from Fish Market cafe, and sit outside and have lunch in the sun. Limited seating available inside.

Had grilled prawn skewers, fish/chips/combination lunch box with baby octopus and fish platter small which had a great mix of everything. It had just been cooked, so the chips and seafood were nice and fresh. Grilled prawn skewers were a nice complement to the lunch. Perfect day out.

Fish Market Cafe

Grilled Prawn Skewers

Fish Platter small x 3!

Buying fresh seafood

Sydneysiders eating lunch outside

Monday, 9 January 2012

Shu-uemura Eyelash Curler

Are you using the wrong eyelash curler?

If you, like me have been for years using an eyelash curler that isn't suited to your eye shape, then you are not maxmising the potential of bringing out the best in your eyes!

Alot of the mass market eye lash curlers from the US brands are more ideal for Western eyes. Recently, I discovered the Shu-uemura Eyelash Curler which is designed more for Asian eyes in mind, and a few pinches of your lashes with this curler, will have your lashes looking bright and happy! and yes the curl power does make your lashes stand nice and curled all day if you use a good mascara that suits your lashes.

Comes with a spare eye lash pad. The Shu-uemura lady at the Ion store counter told me probably takes about 6 months to wear out. So well worth the S$30 I paid for this curler.

Saturday, 7 January 2012

Clinique Power Lashes

Ladies, received this cute Clinique eye makeup gift set from my BFF for xmas! Sweet huh :) Comes with a way cute handy pink makeup pouch and contains: Lash Power Mascara Long Wearing Formula 6ml, All About Eyes Serum De-Puffing Eye Masssage 5ml and Cream Shaper for Eyes (eye pencil) 1.1g.

Always liked Clinique, suits my sensitive skin and to me the baby sister to big sister Estee Lauder. Owned by the same company, and extensive research goes into studying skin and developing products.

Pros: The Lash Power Mascara was true to its Long Wearing Formula. After curling my lashes with my Shu-uemura curler, applied 2 coats. Didn't clump, easy to apply and lasted all day. The eye pencil - Cream Shaper for Eyes, was the smoothest eye pencil and was so easy to apply on my top and bottom lids. The pink makeup pouch is big enough to fit lots of essentials for those of us girls always on the move and need all of our stuff (makeup) with us :)

Cons: If you are looking for a super sharp eye liner, then the cream shaper may not be for you - try a liquid liner instead. Wish the all about eyes serum came in a bigger size! (I understand gift set sizes can be slighter smaller than the full size version but still... )

Monday, 2 January 2012

Dreams & Reality - Musee d'Orsay Paris - Paintings, Drawings & Photography

Starry Night (1888-1889) by Vincent van Gogh (1853-1890)

From 26 October 2011 to 5 February 2012, you don't have to travel to Paris to view paintings, drawings and photographs from the collection of the Musee d'Orsay Paris. In Singapore exclusively for a limited time at the National Museum of Singapore, this exhibition comprises 145 works from this collection, spanning the period of 1848 to 1914, a period of change and contrast for France and Europe.

The Exhibition comprises of 4 main themes:
1. Allegory & History
2. Man and Contemporary Life
3. Man and Nature
4. Solitude

There is a story to each piece, you can read the plaque beside each work - or for a more indepth look I would recommend taking a free guided tour. Really lets you take in each piece, and view it from a different angle, exploring the artist's impression of a time and place gone.

Highlights of the exhibition include Paul C├ęzanne’s The Card Players, Vincent van Gogh’s Starry Night and Alexandre Cabanel’s The Birth of Venus.

My personal favourite was Vincent van Gogh's Starry Night (1888-1889), in the Man and Nature theme of the Exhibition. Van Gogh explored different aspects of this theme, and also experimented with a freer technique evident by his informal brush strokes in this painting.

At the end of the Exhibition, is an area for you to explore your inner artist - with books, paper, drawing tools for you to create your own drawing.

Entry is S$11 per person, which also includes entry to the National Museum of Singapore. Discounts available for senior citizens, children, HSBC credit card holders, NSF, NHB Museum Pass Holders.

Note: Cameras ok, but no flash allowed inside.

Venus at Paphos, circa 1852, Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres (1780-1867)

War or The Cavalcade of Discord, circa 1894 by Henri Rousseau (1844-1910)