Healing Garden, Singapore Botanic Gardens

I’ve walked through the Singapore Botanic Gardens many times now, and each time, I still find places to explore. One of my new favourite spots in the Gardens is the Healing Garden. I’d passed the signs which pointed in the direction of the Healing Garden many times before I took the time to venture in, and it is definitely worth the visit!

The Healing Garden has the same characteristics I find in many gardens in Singapore: it’s a verdant oasis of calm and beauty. But more than that, these gardens are a living encyclopaedia of more than 400 plants which have been used medicinally in Southeast Asia.

You can walk to the Healing Gardens from Botanic Gardens MRT Exit A, and there are a number of buses which stop outside the Gardens. You can find more information, including the opening hours on the National Parks website. Please note the need for caution, and for supervision of children when visiting, some of the plants are toxic.

A serene space at the heart of the Healing Garden, Singapore Botanic Gardens

Sengkang Riverside Park

One of the highlights of the last year for me has been exploring all the beautiful parks around Singapore. Or I should say ‘starting’ to explore – as I know there are still many to be discovered. I am constantly amazed by how many oases of green can be found amongst the built-up environment. Each has their own unique landscaping and character, and Sengkang Riverside Park is an example of this. On entering the park, we could see the constructed wetland, and some lovely vistas. Further past the wetland, was my favourite feature of this park: the beautifully verdant groves of fruit trees. One exciting part of this walk was spotting a changeable lizard (which we first thought was a chameleon) lounging on a tree branch.

I also took a photo of this art installation, and look back at it every now and again. Commissioned by the National Art Council’s Public Art Trust, this work Anamorphic Vibes, by Adeline Loo and Cheong Yew Mun shows ‘courage’ from one side and ‘anxiety’ from the other. It’s a large work, so you have to walk and regard it from different angles to see the two words emerge. This sculpture helped me remember that, with all the tough emotions of this last year, and all the ups and downs, we are going through it together.

Simply Creative in Singapore

I haven’t checked my last post, but it has been a long time between writings. Last December, we moved to Singapore. Pre-pandemic. Today isn’t a food post (although I could write plenty of those!) or anything about the home, it’s about getting out of the home, something we’ve all experienced bouts of longing for at various points this year.

From the oasis of the Ginger gardens, to the beautiful Shaw Foundation Symphony Stage emerging from its lake, my favourite place here has to be the Singapore Botanic Gardens! So here are some photos, some today, some from a few months back.

Some moments of beauty in a challenging year💜

Shaw Foundation Symphony Stage, Singapore Botanic Gardens

Back to the blog (and the book behind it!)

It’s taken me a while to find the time to get back to writing. Also finding the inspiration – sometimes you wonder if the blogging is worth it, are you creating something worthwhile? Do you have what it takes to build your blog the right way? If there is a right way…

So I was in the library the other day, and a book caught my eye. BORN TO BLOG * by Mark W Schaefer and Stanford A Smith. I wanted to feel like I was ‘Born to Blog’ – like blogging came naturally, so I picked up this book, and here I am blogging again. I have plenty of books at home about writing a better thesis (and I have to say these were incredibly important to my writing process) but nothing specifically about my new chosen medium of blogging.

What did I learn?

A lot – but more than anything I felt completely encouraged in my blogging – the premise of this book, as the authors put it, is that ‘anyone – with a little coaching – can blog’ (p5). The ‘blog skills quiz’ provided by the authors is fantastic, and helps you to discover what kind of a blogger you are – so I am a ‘teacher’ followed by a ‘curator’ – makes sense, I do like writing ‘how to’ kind of posts! I learnt that keeping it simple with blogging is okay – Schaefer and Smith reassure the reader that ‘the most effective blogs are managed using minimal guidelines and straightforward objectives’ (p83). Phew. I know I am one for making things more complex than they need to be! In terms of turning your blog into a business, the authors also encourage readers to ‘give away your best’ (104). I find this a really helpful reminder – and definitely on my music blog I do a lot of this. Also, they encourage the reader not to hurry to monetise their blog (p124). Funnily enough, I find this tip incredibly liberating – I can just worry about building my blog for now, and let the business side grow slowly over time. Definitely helps me prioritise my thoughts, and focus mostly on the writing for now.

There is plenty more in this book for anyone who wants to build their blog, whether for business or personal reasons – like creating a content calendar, what kinds of content you could create, choosing a platform, using social media, and more. The stories of bloggers and their blogs which are interspersed throughout are also very encouraging, and gave me the sense that yes, I could blog too!

Highly recommended for all bloggers out there!


*Please note this is an affiliate link

Malaysian curry

This might seem like an obvious kind of dinner to post about, but before I met my husband, I had no idea about making curry like this. To me, curry was all about dahl, vegetables, chickpeas and the like (Indian is probably my favourite cuisine in fact).

The curry described below is a straightforward kind of meal to make, using sauce from a tin. Doesn’t sound so appetising…but it’s pretty tasty.

Tofu (I often use the Soyco Japanese Tofu sold in the supermarket), cut into small pieces
1-2 eggplants, cut into cubes
1-2 sweet potatoes, cut into large cubes
Several tomatoes
Buk choy/ green beans/ other green vegetables, chopped
Yeoh’s curry sauce
Rice to serve with

Put the rice on pretty early, as this recipe is very quick to make!

Fry the eggplant lightly – then I put a bit of water in the bottom of the saucepan to cook it a bit more before other ingredients are added.

Mix in the sweet potato, cook a little further.

After about 5 minutes, pour in the tin of sauce, and maybe a tin’s worth of water. Stir in the tomatoes. Bring it all up to a good heat and then simmer for around 10 minutes.

Malaysian curry
Add in the green vegetables on top of the curry mix, and then cook for around another 10 minutes or so, tossing in the tofu in for the last few of these minutes, just to warm it. See how cooked the sweet potatoes are, then use that as a guide as to when to turn the stove off.

Serve the curry over the rice (of course).

There you go. Fussy eater version of this dinner = rice, plain tofu, plain vegetables with a taste or two of the curry (if and when requested)!

Weekend Places: Garden world

I’ve been meaning to write the next in my ‘Things to do on the weekend’ series for a while. Finally, here it is. We’ve been spending a lot of time at nurseries lately, and there is one which is my favourite: Gardenworld in Braeside. So here’s a post about the fun things we like about this nursery, and why it’s a great place to visit for those in the outer eastern suburbs.

Flowers 3Gardenworld 2Peacock and cyclamen

  Firstly, the range is huge! We have been looking for some particular kinds of proteas lately, and not many places we checked had the kinds we were after, but Gardenworld had heaps! The only difficulty was choosing. We ended up with a trolley full of susaras and pink creams, and now we’re looking forward to their colourful blooms in our garden next Autumn and Winter.

Anyway, the plants are gorgeous and plentiful, and there are homewares, succulents, pots…all kinds of things.

And…dinosaurs! Lots of fun for kids (although the giraffe
was our daughter’s favourite on our last trip). But the best nursery fun (for toddlers) would have to be jumping up and down…in muddy puddles…so do bring gumboots…

Finally, the cafe – it’s fantastic, with a variety of sweet and savoury options, and they make a good babycino!

Babycino     Gardenworld cafe      Cakes