Freckles The Tortie is 4 Months!!!

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Freckles @ 14 weeks.

TIME FLIES. Freckles the lil’ girl is coming 4 months in two weeks time. In terms of cat years, I think she is nearing puberty?!! Though still very much a sweetheart, Freckles is becoming increasingly defiant (PMS!!). Sometimes after a scolding, she deliberately commits the wrongdoing AGAIN + shoots us a glare. :/ :/ :/

As a female teen, Freckles is learning to appreciate the finer things in life such as…smelling flowers.

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LOVE FLOWERS. SNIFFFF.

Thankfully Freckles is not at the boy crazy/raging hormones stage yet. Heard that female cats give out LOUD SHRILL PERSISTENT wails when they are “in the heat” which can last all night long. Sorry Freckles, but we have decided to sterilize you. It’s for your own good really, please understand your parents’ heart.

Freckles recently went for her second vaccination, exactly one month after her first. Her third and last vaccination + rabies jab is due end of September, after which we can proceed to spay her.

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Freckles’ health booklet. 2 vaccinations down, 1 more to go!

According to Dr. Osye, Freckles’ weight has increased from 1.2 kg to 1.8 kg in just one month (no wonder my hands are getting sore after holding her for a couple of minutes!). She’s growing too fast. 😦

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Poor Freckles running a fever after her second vaccination.

Before heading to the vet, Agent D and I put her in the bubble bath and gave her a good scrub. (She’s not allowed to touch water for a week after getting vaccinated.)

Freckles is reacting much better to water now. Two months back when we first bathed her, man was it a nightmare. She would – CLAW. CRY. SCREAM. BITE. CLAW. CRY. SCREAM. BITE – up to the very moment she got out of the bathtub.

Recently, I lugged back 2 new toys for Freckles all the way from Singapore — a cat tree house and a cat bed. BOY WERE THEY HEAVVVVY!! Because of them, I had to pay for 20 kg check-in luggage space on Jetstar.

I’m so glad she’s lovin’ her new toys. Makes all the effort and $$$ worth it. Here’s Freckles enjoying her new tree house.

 And here’s Freckles in her new crib. She loves to laze in it and watch the world go by.

Like all growing teenagers, Freckles has been napping a whole lot less compared to when she was a baby kitten. Missing the times where she napped on my lap for hours. 😦

I love taking photos of her asleep. That’s the only time when she is an absolute angel (VS absolute tyrant when awake).

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SO FLEXIBLE.

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AWWWW.

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Little manja just waking up from a short nap in my arms.

Dear Freckles, I hope you continue to eat and grow well + transform into a beautiful lady. I don’t think boys are going to like your hyperactivity much (correct me if I’m wrong).

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BEEG slurpy kiss for momma.

Till the next update! x

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Bake Your Own Bread: Raisin Date Loaf

About one year back, Mom started baking her own bread from scratch with the help of a bread machine. My family and I practically live on bread (bread is like air to us) so Mom has to bake a loaf once every few days. One of the things I miss about home is the comforting, inviting smell of Mom’s baked bread.

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Homemade raisin date bread.

Why bake your own bread?

Compared to commercially-made bread, home-baked bread has much more nutrients and lesser additives. You choose the ingredients that go into your bread loaf which can be…

  • 100% whole-grain (versus refined white flour).
  • Less sweet/contain brown sugar (versus high fructose corn syrup or refined sugar).
  • Trans fats free/contain olive oil (versus vegetable shortening or margarine).
  • Healthier by adding ingredients like ground flaxseed, whole oats and quinoa flour.
  • Free of preservatives and artificial ingredients.

Plus the fact that there are so many bread machines out there to simplify the process of baking your own bread. 🙂

During my last trip back in Singapore, I baked a Raisin Date Loaf with Mom, putting to use the dates I brought back from Jakarta. We used the oven instead of the bread machine for this one.

This Raisin Date Loaf recipe is simple and very easy to follow. You can hardly go wrong with it!

Raisin Date Loaf Recipe 

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups chopped pitted dates
  • ¾ cup golden raisins
  • 1 cup orange juice
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose floor (we used organic flour)
  • 1/2 cup sugar (we used brown sugar)
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp ground cloves
  • 1 large egg
  • ¼ cup vegetable oil (we used olive oil)

Instructions

1.Preheat oven to 180 °C  and grease a 8 1/2 inch x 4 1/2 inch loaf pan.

2.Chop dates and squeeze oranges to get 1 cup orange juice.

3.Bring dates and orange juice up to a simmer. Remove from heat and let it cool to room temperature (a must!).

4.In a bowl, sift floor, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and cloves.

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Sifted floor, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and cloves.

5.In a separate bowl, whisk together egg and oil.

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Egg and olive oil.

6.Add egg mixture and dates to flour mixture and stir just until blended. Stir in raisins.

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Add egg mixture to flour mixture.

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Add dates and orange juice to flour mixture.

7.Pour the combined mixture into prepared pan and bake for about 45 minutes (or until a tester inserted into the center of the loaf comes out clean).

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Pour into prepared pan.

As our 8 1/2 inch x 4 1/2 inch loaf pan was being used for something else, we used two separate smaller pans instead.

8.Let the raisin date loaf cool for 10 minutes, then turn out to cool completely.

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Raisin date loaves fresh out of the oven.

There you go — your very own home-baked raisin date bread! #SoGood #SoHealthy

YUMMMMMMMY. 🙂 🙂 🙂

Explore Indonesia #6: Day Trip to Bogor, Short Getaway from Jakarta

Last Sunday, Elaine and I took a day trip out of Jakarta to Bogor for some fresh air. Bogor is a city in the West Java province. Located around 60 km south of Jakarta, we took slightly over an hour to get there. We left home around 8 a.m. and reached Bogor around 9.15 a.m. (traffic and weather were very kind to us that day).

On our drive there, we caught sight of faraway mountains in the distant background, which was really a majestic sight to behold. 🙂

Bogor Botanical Gardens

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Lovin’ the green grounds and fresh air.

The city of Bogor has a presidential palace and a botanical garden (Kebun Raya Bogor) adjacent to each other – one of the oldest and largest in the world. Our first stop for the day was the Bogor Botanical Gardens.

Fun fact: It is the oldest botanical garden in Southeast Asia (woah never knew that!).

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Inside the Gardens.

The Bogor Botanical Garden is located right smack in the Bogor city center. The main gate is located in the south and most of the garden facilities are concentrated there, such as the ticket purchasing booth, visitor center, plant/souvenir shops, library and conservation building.

The Gardens stretches over an area of 87 hectares and contains 13,983 specimens of trees and plants. There’s plenty of space to run/jog around, play a game of frisbee or soccer, fly some kites, or even have a picnic.

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Many picture-perfect spots.

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Locals having a picnic under a shady tree.

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Well manicured trees and lawn.

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Nice flat paths to walk/jog on.

The Bogor Botanical Garden is divided by the Ciliwung river and has three bridges. One of the bridges, the Red Bridge, is a pretty famous ‘attraction’ in the garden. Indonesians believe that if a couple crossed the bridge together, they would break up soon after (for real?!!). :/

One of my favourite spots is a place called the Mexican Garden – dedicated to all kinds of desert plants.

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Mexican Garden (Taman Meksiko).

There are approximately 100 species of cactus, agave, yucca and succulent plants from around Asia and the Americas. I never knew that succulents could be so pretty!!

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We-fie with our succulent friends.

Another must-see place is Astrid Park, located at the eastern wing of the Gardens. The park offers a splendid view,  with the bright colours of green, yellow, and red (from canna lilies) spread out across the garden grounds.

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Beautiful Astrid Park.

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Only missing my picnic mat.

If you feel like soaking in the panoramic view of the garden over a cuppa coffee/fruit juice, drop by Grand Garden Cafe situated in Astrid Park itself. Seems like the perfect place for a good read too.

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Grand Garden Cafe.

Before leaving the Gardens, Elaine and I dropped by the Gunting Pond. One can see dozens of pink lotus flowers floating on the surface of the pond, a really enchanting sight!

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Floating pink lotus flowers with the presidential palace in the backdrop.

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Shady walkway leading up to Gunting Pond.

Although passers-by are not allowed to enter the Bogor Palace  (unless you have special permission from the Indonesian State Secretariat), one can catch sight of the presidential palace from the Gunting Pond. The pond fronts the backyard of the Palace.

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Bogor Palace in the distance.

There are so many things that I wanted to see but didn’t manage to in the limited time frame — Bogor Zoology Museum, orchid glasshouses and orchidarium, Teijsmann Garden, Soedjana Kassan Garden, guesthouses, etc etc. And not forgetting, the northwestern part of the Gardens where herds of deer roam freely!!

I’ll definitely be back to visit Bogor Botanical Gardens again, perhaps with Agent D the next time round.

Both Elaine and myself had a great time at the Bogor Botanical Gardens. It is a must-go if you have never been there! ❤

Shopping at Bogor Factory Outlets

Apart from Bandung, Bogor has quite a reputation for factory outlet shopping as well. The outlets carry brands like Zara, Guess, H&M, Mango, and Adidas.

Elaine and I only managed to stop by Raja Factory Outlet before lunch. It is one of the newer kids on the block for bargain shopping in Bogor and carries apparels, shoes, and accessories in a two-storey building. Ladies and kids wear can be found on the ground floor whilst menswear is on the second floor.

Exterior of Raja Factory Outlet (photo credit: Raja F.O.)

Don’t have too high expectations; I personally found the fashion a little backdated. I did manage to buy some sportswear (Nike dri-fit shirts for Agent D and Pilates tights for myself) for a real steal though! *HAPPPPY*

Raja Factory Outlet can be found on No. 3 RT02/RW04, Jl. Raya Pajajaran, Jawa Barat 16143.

Read more about outlet shopping in Bogor in this article by honeycombers: Bogor Bargains. Enjoy! x

To-eat in Bogor

A friend recommended Sahabat Yunsin Resto to have lunch at when in Bogor. The place didn’t disappoint – food was good and prices were inexpensive.

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Sahabat Yunsin Resto.

The restaurant was a no-frills kind of place but the food preparation looked clean. According to my friend, their Mee Ayam and Mee Babat are popular choices and you can choose to have them either salty or sweet (asin/manis).

Elaine and I both ordered their Mee Ayam Baso (salty) and enjoyed every bit of it. The sauces weren’t overpowering, but it was tasty.

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My Mee Ayam Baso (salty) with ice Milo.

Sahabat Yunsin Resto has a few outlets around Bogor. The one I went to was on Jalan Jenderal. Sudirman No.12, Sempur, Bogor Tengah, Bogor.

After lunch and a filled tummy, we headed back to Jakarta around 3+ p.m. Traffic was great and we arrived back home in 1.5 hours.

Thanks for being so good to us, Bogor! Till we meet again!! 🙂 🙂 🙂

Singapore National Day Reception in Jakarta at the Shangri-La

Not only are we (Singapore) close neighbours with Indonesia, but our birthdays are also close together. Yesterday, 17th August, Indonesia celebrated her independence of 71 years. Happpppy Birthday Indonesia!!!  Here’s wishing you many years of prosperity ahead! ❤

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At Singapore’s 51st birthday party in Jakarta (oops I was holding the thumbs-up sign the wrong way).

One week earlier, Singapore celebrated her 51st birthday on 9th August. Here in Jakarta, the Singapore National Day Reception was held on 10th August at Shangri-La.

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Invitation to the reception.

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Singapore National Day Reception at Shangri-La.

One night before the big day…

I accompanied Agent D to Shangri-La to see how things were going along. Although we reached the hotel close to midnight, the entire ballroom and foyer area was bustling with activity!

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Setting up the Singapore food street in the foyer area.

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WOAH.

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Testing out the proportion of the photo booth.

The day of the reception itself…

It seemed like magic had happened overnight; the events and decor company did a great job in transforming the ballroom into a lil’ Singapore city.

Here are some pretty pictures of the entire place without any crowd.

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Singapore night skyline as the main backdrop (check out the individually lighted units of the Marina Bay Sands!).

Food is a unifying cultural thread amongst Singaporeans and is pivotal to our national identity. As such, it seemed only natural for the main theme of the reception to be ‘food’.

Singaporean cuisine is diverse and greatly influenced by the cuisines of various ethnic groups, for example, Malay, Chinese, Indian, and Peranakan. At the national day reception, there were live stations featuring food from the above four groups. I almost felt like I was back in Singapore!

Guests were starting to slowly file in around 6.30 p.m. My friends and I decided to take some pictures at the photo booth before it got too crowded.

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SHIOK LAH.

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Celebrating Singapore’s independence with this bunch of weirdos. 🙂

Here are some pictures of the ‘Lau Pa Sat food centre’, which consisted of Singapore food vendors based in Jakarta.

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Earlier in the day at 11 a.m.

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Teeming with people at 7.30 p.m.

Among the food vendors present were Founder Bak Kut TehIsland CreameryBee Cheng HiangTwelve CupcakesYa Kun Kaya Toast, Klaud’s Singapore Soya Delight, and Gryphon Tea Company. Food samples (in generous portions) were given out for guests to try. #SupportSingaporeBrandNames

There was even a Singapore Airlines booth. In celebration of Singapore’s 51st birthday, guests were given a special discount promo code. YAY for cheaper air tickets . I like.

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I was feeling 50% full after sampling all the food in the foyer area. Mental note to self – better reserve some tummy space for the main hotel food.

There was such a wide spread of food. Sadly, I didn’t get to try everything because my stomach had only that much space left. I couldn’t risk my black dress bursting at its seams.

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Dessert table.

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At the Chinatown section. Spot the glorious roast meat?!!

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At the Peranakan section.

I stopped taking pictures thereafter because fooood >>> pictures.

Ended off the night with this bowl of laksa and a cuppa Gryphon tea. Both were pretty good stuff!

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Cravings satisfied.

I left the place a happy girl. 🙂 🙂 🙂

A big thank you to everyone who came to celebrate Singapore’s 51st birthday with us.  See you again next year!!! #loveSG

When Friends Visit: Elaine Comes to Jakarta for the Weekend

I’ve so much to update here but haven’t had time at all. Last week, I had to settle all the furniture and white goods for our new place back in Singapore (power of online shopping PHEW) + take Elaine around Jakarta because she was visiting over the weekend.

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Welcome to Jakarta, Elaine!!!

T’was so good to see Elaine, who flew 558 miles from Singapore just to spend the weekend with me. Elaine and I go way back to secondary school days – when baggy jeans and hanging belts were in fashion (dang now you know which generation we are from). I’m so thankful for the friendship we share and how we’ve seen each other through the different seasons in life. ❤

So on Elaine’s virgin trip to Jakarta, we did everything possibly touristy and girly together – going for hair spa & hair colour, full-body massage, manicure & pedicure, hunting for good food, watching a cheap(er) movie, playing board games, travelling to Bogor (outside of Jakarta), and of course shopping, shopping, and more shopping. Elaine even came to bible study with me today before heading to the airport.

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First meal together in Jakarta.

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ALIEN INVASION. Nah, just Elaine having her hair coloured.

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Mangga Dua ITC Mall, which left us penniless for the day.

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Binging on GROM gelato just before our massage. #sogood

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Tourists at the lovely Bogor Botanical Gardens (Kebun Raya Bogor).

Bogor Botanical Gardens (Kebun Raya Bogor) was really beautiful and well-maintained. We spent half the day walking around and chatting, not to mention chasing Pokémons. The air up there is so much fresher too! [I will blog on our Bogor day trip in a separate post soon.]

Elaine’s trip to Jakarta was timely because Agent D has been super duper busy the past weeks (and still is very busy actually). Thank God for providing good company during times like these. 🙂 🙂 🙂

More pictures of our weekend together:

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Please come again soon Elaine! Freckles and I are already missing you!!

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With the little grump.

12 Days Back in Singapore

12 days in Singapore flew past me just like that. And I find it surreal that I’m actually back in Jakarta, sitting on my usual armchair, typing behind my laptop.

I haven’t been updating much because I’ve been SO SO BUSY – settling the house, catching up with friends, spending time with my parents, baking, running errands, etc. There’s always so much to do and so little time (!!!).  I’m glad I managed to accomplish all that I had initially set out to do though. *pat on back*

Back home, L Dearest and Centures celebrated my (and the other July babies’) belated birthday. Yay for being able to make more birthday wishes. I wish to be FOREVER YOUNG hehehe.

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L Dearest. JC days would never have been the same without them (missing Krys, PamL & Dania).

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Centures. Its been whaaaat 12 years since JC?!

During this trip, I managed to catch up with almost everyone I wanted to – be it over brunch, 1-hour lunch during office hours, tea, dinner, supper. More often than not, we got too carried away with our conversations, forgetting to take a picture.

(I’m a big fan of taking pictures because I believe they’re the only mementoes left behind as time passes us by. One day, I’ll look back on these snapshots and think “was my hair ever so black?!!”).

Anyway, here are some picture souvenirs from my trip:

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I was happy to see my old man doing much better (compared to the last trip where he was very unresponsive and lay motionless on the floor 24-7). Although he’s still as blind as ever – pooping and peeing around the house + knocking into everything (ouch!) – he’ll always be my sweetheart. ❤

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Hello, I am 120 years old this year!

Also very thankful to my parents for the countless trips they’ve made to the airport ever since we relocated to Jakarta. Without fail rain or shine, they’d be there to welcome me home and send me off when I return back to Jakarta.

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At the airport with mom and dad!

All in all, I had a fruitful time back home and I already can’t wait to be back again. So thankful that Jakarta and Singapore are SUPER NEAR to each other. 🙂

Our Lil’ Housing Project

After the very painful defects inspection process which took longer than expected (you can read more about it here: Our New Nest & The Defects Inspection Process), our new home is finally coming together. WHEE.

As we are currently stationed in Jakarta, I had to resort to buying all my lights online and having them shipped to my parents’ home in Singapore. They would then help me pass the lights to my contractor for installation. Along the way, I would take snapshots of how I wanted the house to look and mom would liaise with the contractor on my behalf.

Here are some pictures of what has been done so far. Let me take you on a virtual house tour! 🙂

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Living room.

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Feature wall and TV console just completed today.

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Pendant lights over dining area.

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Birdcage pendant at main doorway entrance.

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Tape lights for the kitchen (so I can spot worms hanging out on my vegetables!!)

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Track lights for the study.

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Master bedroom.

One good thing about being based in Jakarta is that we are able to collect pieces of artworks on our travels around Indonesia. Indonesians are such talented artists, really! More often than not, Agent D has to rein me in whenever I pass by an art shop/chance upon an online art store. :/

And the best thing yet?! Custom-made frames in Jakarta are inexpensive compared to Singapore! (See post on Lovely Custom-made Frames in Jakarta: Setia Jaya Frame & Mirror.)

Here are some art pieces I recently framed for the new home:

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In addition to the paintings, I also lugged back the Scandinavian clock I bought in Jakarta. Agent D was like, “Aiyoh why you bother?!!”

Sigh guys don’t understand. zzz

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Scandinavian clock up on the wall.

As well as the perfect wooden box for my daily caffeine fix. 🙂 🙂 🙂

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Isn’t it so pretty!!

Will update again when my curtains are up. Crossing my fingers they’ll look okay on the walls! x