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Sunday, January 31, 2016

Christmas 2015: Christmas Over To New Year Part 1

[Image credit: Flickr]

Woo! It feels so good to be using my laptop for hours on end, catching up on my blog.

It is the last day of January 2016 and here I am updating about Christmas 2015 in my very first blog post of 2016. It is more than a month after Christmas but the warm and fuzzy feeling continues to fill my heart as the annual meet ups carried on to January. Even up till now when the Chinese New Year is fast approaching, I'm left with the last meet up. GASP!

If I'm updating my blog once a month, I wonder if I should stop blogging for good. Is anyone even reading my blog now? I get more emails on my past travel posts than readership for the latest posts.

I've broken up my Christmas 2015 updates into 3 parts. Judging from the sheer volume of photos I've edited, all 3 parts would be extremely long and I hope Part 1 would make up for my inactivity here and leave you with enough to read till the next part.

My copy and paste disclaimer warning as usual:

Loooooooong picture-ful post. Go get your drinks and popcorn while waiting for the images to load. You could even savour your main dish in front of your computer. Those viewing this on your smartphones and other hand held devices, I suggest you skip reading this post till you get home or you might risk jamming your device and cursing at my blog in public. I know my turtle friend did that once minus the cursing in public. =P

~*The One with the Touch Young Arrows Kids*~

This year's season of giving started with bestie Tiffany and I volunteering at Touch Young Arrows for a Christmas event for the kids.

Touch Young Arrows (TYA) cares for needy and disadvantaged children aged 6 to 12. Many of these children are from low-income or single-parent families who have little or no parental care and are at risk of falling into bad company.

On Saturdays, the volunteers run a variety of activities and that Saturday was a Christmas event.

We kicked off with a game of H2O to get the kids active and running. The kids loved it! After which was a wishes and dreams activity which was a challenge for some of them. It was followed by buffet tea, penning a note for their parents and concluded with gifts presentation.

Another coach and I got the loudest and most active boy in class for the wishes and dreams activity. It took a while to crack the tough nut before we became friends. At the end of the day, he even asked if he would see us again and that he would miss us. Awww... When you give your heart out, you also get a heart in return! ❤️

My boy insisted that he did not have any dream. After some discussion on the things he loved to do, he shared about his passion for soccer. He titled his dream board "Animal Soccer" explaining that he would love a pet monkey to play with him.

Even though he was loud and at times forgot his manners, he soon became a pleasant boy once he opened himself up to us. From the theme of Animal Soccer, the three of us slowly weaved a narration of dreaming to play at the World Cup.

Some of the kids are really intelligent! This boy's dream is to be a NASA scientist. The whole floor was completely wowed by his eloquence and knowledge.

This girl drew everything all by herself. Her dream was to own a dog, a pug in particular.

This cute boy, who was in my team for H2O, is the brother of the gal who drew the pug and so his dream board also included a pug.

What a sweet sibling pair!

This girl who was also in my H2O team had an elaborate dream board.

Her 5-year-old sister joined us that day. Being very young, it was difficult for her to comprehend what dreams and wishes she had and so her coach helped her with drawing and decorating her favourite character Hello Kitty.

The girl whom Tiffany was assigned to was painfully shy and really practical. She is a realist who does not believe in dreams coming true. She was so shy during the presentation that she needed her good friend to stand beside her to give her moral courage. And in the end, she did it!

This whole activity got me thinking deeply. Some of the kids found it challenging to have a dream simply because they felt that it would not come true. This is also reflective in adults: It is difficult for somebody to dream if they do not believe in their dreams coming true.

In a generation of self-entitled kids, you could see the sparkle in the eyes of these underprivileged kids as they spotted their presents.

I got to know more about my assigned boy during the debrief. No matter how we tried, we could not get him to pen a thank you note for his parents. After learning more about his story from the staff, we understood why. It felt really good when he considered us his friends and hoped to see us again. The volunteering session was a humbling experience and it was lovely to start the season of giving by giving my time to the underprivileged.

~*The One Where We Are 25 Years Young*~

The historical Capitol Theatre was redeveloped a few months back and the new Capitol Piazza mall
houses many eateries. It was the first time checking out Capitol Piazza with my St Nicks friends aka the 上半年 Babies group.

We were spoilt for choice and decided on Hoshino Coffee firstly because there wasn't a snaking queue (in comparison to Dazzling Cafe), secondly for its pleasant decor and thirdly for a menu we could all agree on.

[Image Credit:]

The serving of the pasta was small but definitely enough for all of us. All the main dishes we ordered were priced at $15 to $16! For those kind of prices at such a charming environment, we felt that the pasta were REALLY good!

Salmon with Wasabi Cream Sauce

Pescatora Seafood with Tomato Sauce

Mentaiko Shrimp and Japanese Herb Ohba

Shrimp Avocado and Mozzarella with Tomato Cream Sauce

Lobster Bisque Soup Spaghetti

None of us are coffee drinkers but at Hoshino Coffee, how could we not try their hand drip coffee? Hence, we ordered a cup to share. Our verdict? Non-coffee lovers would not be able to appreciate this rich bitter coffee.

We also had pancake soffle to share.

The booth seats were meant for four people -- two on each side. HY, SY and Sam were feeling so cramped at their side...

whereas Candice and I felt so comfortable in our seats and could not understand why Sam kept asking to move to a new place if we were to continue chatting. LOL!

Here are our little gifts to one another.
SY gave us Disney Princess towels.

Sam gave us tissue covers for a good cause. These are handmade by the women from Tamar Village.

My little packets of hand drawn cards, Disney Tsum Tsum cable organizers and M&S chocolates for the gals.

This group of friends were the first group I met for the Christmas season. Thus, their cards look different. I spent a lot of time drawing their cards and soon changed my card idea (to the lucky kitty one if you saw from my Instagram) for the rest of the people.

Although we are not really fans of Star Wars, we should take a picture with this. Coz everyone takes photo of anything Star Wars right?

SY was really insistent on capturing a shot of Capitol Theatre just like this with us inside. But of course, we turned out as silhouettes. It was either us or the theatre!

She finally got her wish of having the background and having us well lighted up in the photo at the same time when we got somebody to help us to snap this picture at the exact spot she wanted. We all agreed that it was a pretty good shot!

So cool to have our photos taken by the people at the booth, hashtagged and get free post-it pads.

On that day, we realised that we have been frenz for 20 years and we all pretended that we knew one another since we were 5. So you know, we are REALLY 25 years young. :p

~*The One with The Moroccan Tea Party*~

It has since become a tradition to gather at Bei's house every Christmas for tea. The theme this time round was Moroccan tea party.

We had Moroccan mint tea...

and delectable cookies that looked really exquisite in their serving plate.

I had errands to run prior to the meeting and the gals joked that with these photos taken before I arrived, they did not require any more of the Christmas tree with me in it. T_T

Unlike Christmas 2014, we were so glad that Xtina and baby Sammie could join us this Christmas!

Gift for Bei consisted of eye candy hair brush, hand drawn card, Disney Tsum Tsum cable organizers, inspired twillies and M&S chocolates.

Bei's gift to us -- a Chanel nail polish. My first Chanel nail polish ever. I've always read good stuff about the smooth application of Chanel nail polish. Can't wait to try them on!

~*The One with the Ex and Current Colleagues*~

Christmas tea party with this group of friends took place at Cat's house. She had given birth not too long ago and it was easier if we met up at her place.

We did not take many photos coz everyone was busy eating and playing with Buddy. We savoured lots of fine Gryphon tea brought by Jac. But alas, there wasn't any photo to show the exquisite jars of tea leaves with detailed description. All I had were pictures of Buddy.

I was running late for the party after having to run errands earlier on that I actually prepared the mini gift packages in the car. Gifts for the gals included hand drawn cards, Disney Tsum Tsum cable organizers, inspired twillies and M&S chocolates.

Gifts for the kids.

Hand made terrarium from Jac! Super cute Christmas animals all sitting in a row.

I went home with a bag full of gifts and even gifts for the hubz (even though photos aren't shown in this section). It was the first time he joined this group of friends . This group of friends is made up of current colleagues, ex colleagues and gals formerly from my department before I joined. Even though we did not meet at work, it was so easy to click with everyone the first time we met a few years ago, just like how it always is in my lovely department.

~*The One with the Bimbos and One Himbo*~

For Christmas 2015, the bimbos met on a work day for dinner. None of our beaus joined in and so it was a gathering of just the original primary school classmates sans Xtina who could not join us.

I suggested Capitol Piazza again because there are simply too many food choices there. We decided on 1933. I was so enthralled by how beautiful all the eateries with mezzanine look especially with the dazzling Christmas lights.

We ordered little Asian nibbles to share.

Another dish of Asian nibble to share. The problem with not snapping a pic of the menu is that I can't remember what we ate!

Tiffany opted for 1933 Hainanese Kampong Chicken Rice.

Jimson chose Grilled Pork Loin.

Gerra, Zanne and I all favoured the Signature Miso Cod. I absolutely love all kinds of cod fish dish.

Gerra's hairstyle that day reminded me of those 1940s pin up girls.

Could you tell? We were really famished...

... but taking photo is more important.

We were transported back to 1933.

After dinner, we headed over to the much hyped about Angelina for desserts.

I didn't snap a pic of the menu thinking that I could find it online and so I can't remember the name of this chocolate dessert which we liked. Upon googling, I reckon this should be the Negresco.

Eclair Chocolat

Their signature Le Mont-Blanc was our least favourite. It is almost blasphemous to utter such words about their signature pastry but we really could not understand how this could be delicious in any way. It tasted like sticky and sweet chestnut piped to the form of a pastry.

We also ordered hot and cold chocolate. The hot chocolate L’Africain was a lot richer than the latter of course. I felt like the emperor of Aztec drinking liquid dark chocolate from centuries ago.

Folks, this was what went on behind the scene when 2 gals tried to take a flat lay shot but failed to get a good one.

Jimson got different chocolates for all of us. We love the packaging!

Gifts for the bimbos, the himbo and the bimbo sisters' absent beau.

The bimbos got a white kitty cat mug, eye candy hair brush, Gingy earphone winder, Disney Tsum Tsum cable organizer, M&S chocolates. The Himbo got everything mentioned previously less the hair brush and a black kitty cat mug instead of white.

Nah... no Givenchy inside. Just matching pairs of black kitty cat mugs for the Bimbos' beau.
I can't gift wrap for nuts but I must say that these catalogue papers really made my gifts stand out.  I wished I have a never ending supply of such atas catalogue.

Tiffany and Zanne who tried the eye candy hair brush immediately were super wowed by how smooth their hair was after brushing! Tiffany even exclaimed, "Quick, take a photo of me brushing my hair!"

A little bit about this amazing eye candy hair brush...

The hair brush is supposed to be volumizing but for most of us who use the brush, it detangles and creates really smooth hair. It all started when a colleague gave another colleague this hair brush one Christmas and the recipient marvelled at the brush, urging us to try. After trying out, a few of us immediately placed our orders online. That's the magical effect the brush creates! Fast forward to last Christmas, I was inspired to gift the hair brush to many of my vain, bimbotic friends. And I was so happy with the raves received.

It has been a while since the last full bimbo attendance.

As usual, it would always be lots and lots of laughter with every bimbo meeting. We hoped we haven't spoilt our image at Angelina. My bimbotic friends are simply too bimbotic. They really rubbed their kitty's tummy as soon as they received their good luck kitty. We thought that the punchline came from Gerra but watch till the end. If the video isn't displaying clearly below, you could also view it on my Instagram account here.

Along the way to the MRT station, we saw the perfect photo backdrop for a whimsical shot.

This cute little boy photobombed. We had to tell him to be careful of the high voltage and extremely hot lamps. After treading in trepidation, he started to dance. Too CUTE!

I hope there is more than enough for you to read to make up for my inactivity here. I'm trying very hard to find the time after work to work on blog-related activities but it has been challenging for the past few months. The photos for the December Christmas meet ups have all been edited so I hope that Part 2 wouldn't be a long break from Part 1.


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