Monthly Archives: January 2017

How to squeeze ALL the tourist things in Singapore into a day.

With just two nights and one day in a city, let alone a country, you have a lot to pack in. Our day two was an attempt to enjoy as much of what Singapore had to offer as possible. This is a short summary –  well as brief as Emma Lovell writing can be.

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The charming heritage buildings showing the more traditional times of Singapore.

Our first stop was a newish café just around the corner from our friend’s house, Kith Café. They had said that the food was nice, a lot like brunch items at home in Oz, but the service was crazy slow! We were pleasantly surprised when all our food and coffees were out in just 8 minutes. Also the Kopi Coffee (drip coffee with condensed milk) was incredible.

Next stop, Sentosa. We had the cheeriest Uber driver I’ve ever met. He gave us a huge welcome and joyfully drove us over to the island resort. We were going to do the metro but it was super quick and very affordable to go by Uber. Our primary reason for the trip to Sentosa was to go on the Megazip. Congrats to The Bachelorette Season 2 for doing an excellent job of marketing and selling Singapore in their finale. That’s where I first learned of the Megazip Adventure Park.

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The staff were super fun and it was a great little activity park. We opted to do the Para Jump – comprising of stepping off a ledge four floors up and held only by a harness, then falling down. It was highly entertaining. Then we had to climb the stairs again, eight flights, to reach the Megazip platform. Eek! 75m up and then travelling down a giant zip line over jungle and beach to reach the end point. AMAZING!!!! Thrilling and awesome views. But not terrifying – a good mix of laughter and heart racing adrenaline.

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We pottered around Siloso beach for a while. I’d never been to that side of the island. There is so much to do on Sentosa we didn’t know quite where to start. Cable car, Universal studios, eat more! Ultimately we decided that we wanted to add to our Aquarium list together, and so it was SEA Aquarium in the end that won us over.

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It was awesome! Great layout, educational and so many beautiful marine animals. I must admit, it foes help having a marine biologist as a boyfriend to guide you through the many tanks of sea creatures. I did also suggest perhaps a career change again… Singapore life?

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Stretch Mr Octopus!

I managed to drag Mathew into the lolly shop and got my way. What’s being a tourist without some sweet treats. We ended our time on the island with a monorail ride and then the metro back to the mainland.

After much deliberation, we decided to take a rest. I do think I’m the energiser bunny but with a night out ahead, we needed a break It was also nice to just hang I the air con for a bit – Singapore is steamy!

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Walking on Sentosa can take it out of you – it’s hot!

Out again for pre drinks with our friend. He took us for a walk around the bay and we ended up at the Craft Beer Bar – I thoroughly enjoyed my green beer which had spirulina in it.

 

Off then to a rooftop bar, a must for any Singapore trip. Our bar of choice was Empire and they also had a happy hour so winning! Gorgeous view of Marina Bay Sands and surrounding areas. Perfect spot for a cheesy couple photo. Naww!

 

Our highlight for the evening was certainly going to be the trip to No Signboard restaurant for Singapore’s famous dish, Chilli Crab. This was where the locals go and you know it’s good when you’re the only tourists in there. The prices are much more reasonable than Clark Quay for the specialities such as chilli crab.  Fried rice, whole cooked fish and the crab, all washed down with Tiger Beer. The meal was spectacular. The only complaint, the electronic crackers for Chinese New Year going off every 20 mins – ARGH! But it’s all part of the fun and didn’t distract from the wonderful service and amazing food!

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Our very full day would not be complete without a trip to the “fake trees”. Matt had been chattering about them so much before our trip and it was his one request for Singapore. The actual name we came to discover is “Gardens by the Bay”. The trees are made of metal and then have plants growing on them. In years to come, they will just look like trees from a distance, when up close it’s a collage of flora items. At night, they are also spectacularly lit up. It was beautiful and if you have only one time to go – go at night! I’m sure it’s lovely in the day, but night time is out of this world – think Avatar in real life!

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What a day! Singapore, you’ve buttered me up and I am definitely falling more and more in love with your dynamic culture every time I visit. Thank you also to our amazing hosts. With a lot more travel planned, we can certainly squeeze in another Singapore stopover on route.

 

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View from Marina Bay Sands back towards Gardens by the Bay

If you would like to follow our journey on Instagram, please check out @Lovellyem and search the #tag #EmmaMattyIndiaSing2017.

 

Written on Day 2 of our 24 Day trip in India with stopover in Singapore.


Arriving in Mumbai feels like coming home

Arriving at 10am, we looked out the windows of the plane and I could see the familiar smog and the dense cluster of buildings poking through. Mumbai, I’m home.

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This is my 9th visit to the incredible land of India. It really does feel like I’m returning to somewhere I came from. Perhaps as the Hindus suggest, I did have another life before this one. Or many. And at least one of them was in India. I’m hedging my bets I was a princess, or for now we’ll go with that… it may offset some of my demands ;).

 

For my partner Matt, it will be his first time to the exotic sub-continent. I sat him down in the airport at Singapore before our early morning flight and gave him a bit of a briefing. I advised on some of the things to be prepared for and be conscious of. I also told him that although I would love to share this amazing country with him, I will not force it upon him and will leave him to draw his own conclusions. However, I did add a word of warning that although things are different, doesn’t mean they are wrong and to note that I truly LOVE India and it will hurt my feelings if he criticises the way the country operates. Which let’s be honest is majority of the time chaotic and mad!

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A little too excited for Dosa

Our experience in the newly renovated Mumbai airport was great. We were through customs and baggage quickly with our easy to access e-visa. We then hit a roadblock when we got to the money side of things. I shall write another post on the madness of the currency change in India that has led to widespread chaos with shortages of money for all classes of society. For now, read this article in Forbes and watch this video on demonetisation by the talented comedy group, All India Bakchod. 

 

A quick scan revealed no ATM’s. After asking, we were directed to one ATM was literally unplugged! We then found another which once we got to the withdrawal staged it reported “No cash in this ATM”. So we then had to go to money exchange who would only give us max 4000 rupees and charged us a fee of 400 rupees for the service. We also were only given two 2000 rupees notes. The highest currency notes in India. When meals are available for 100 rupees, taxis will be 500 rupees and 1L of water is just 30 rupees – I knew breaking it would be a struggle.

 

We found a snack stand in the airport where I convinced the lovely till manager to sell me the food and break our 2000 note.

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The 2000 rupee note is a challenge to get change for. The 500 rupee has been restricted and is hard to get your hands on from the ATM’s

Off to get an Uber. I was using my wifi so thought it would be wonderful – not so much at the airport. The airport is so densely packed with traffic that the Uber has trouble getting into the carpark and locating guests. I was quite worried but ended up finding the Uber Concierge helpers who contacted our driver and we were off!!

 

I was preparing Matt for some shock on arrival. But no. The boy was asleep in 5 mins and slept the whole way to my friend’s house. I’m impressed with his comfort in foreign lands.

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Navi Mumbai is a very different side to the well known parts of Bombay

Arriving to my friend’s home in Navi Mumbai (New Mumbai) really did feel like home. It was more than two years since my last visit but as I stepped into the house, it felt as though I was only here last week. My wonderful friend and host Priyo was so welcoming and it was the best way for Matt to ease into India.

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We went out for the most important first stop – food! To Priyo’s favourite local food place, and what turned out to be mine also. South Indian food. What they often eat for breakfast, is available at all times. Idly, vada, samba, chutney and dosa. I may have to write a blog just for this food and restaurant but honestly, do yourself a favour and get onto this.

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South Indian breakfast is the best!

Next it was off to fulfil Matt’s highest wish for India, to get a cut throat or hot shave! Of course with Priyo as our guide he knew exactly where to go. Again, this deserves a blog of its own. These guys are absolute specialists and their skills are second to none. Matt was truly pampered and he just loved it. Aiming to get at least three of these while we are here. The best part, the price! $28AUD you’ll pay back home. Here…. 50 rupees aka one Australian dollar. $1! I was shocked and delighted.

The evening was spent watching the sunset from the high rise apartment balcony. Sipping on Old Monk Rum and eating Indian Chinese. Such an awesome first night in India and so many more wonderful experiences to come! Indian hospitality is the best in the world – Atithi Devo Bhava.

If you would like to follow our journey on Instagram, please check out @Lovellyem and search the #tag #EmmaMattyIndiaSing2017.

 

Written on Day 3 of our 24 Day trip in India with stopover in Singapore.


Emma Matty India Sing(apore) 2017 trip begins!

It feels like I’ve been talking about this trip forever, and finally it’s here. 24 days. Singapore and India. Friends, sightseeing and adventures await.

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We enjoyed a few days in Sydney before we started our trip. We planned this trip last year before we knew we would move to Queensland. Nice excuse to extend the holiday anyway.

Flying Singapore Airlines, we left at midday. It felt really weird. I’m so used to heading out at crack of dawn or the dead of the night. Even though it wasn’t an early start, I slept terribly. It’s something that always happens when I have a big day of travel planned.

Travelling with my partner Matt is always lovely. He’s my human pillow. So when I did want to rest, he was there to lean on. Also someone to laugh at the movies with. I always look a bit loopy LOL’ing at the back of a chair.

 

Next stop – Singapore! This is my fourth trip to the tropical city/country. I must admit it’s grown on me each time. The first visit was a stopover and I was exhausted. I was alone and had been travelling for 13 months. I was just two days from home but not there yet. I admitted after the stopover that I hadn’t given it the time or attention it deserved. I’ve been rewarded with lovely and more engaging visits each time.

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Satay is a must in Singapore

This was a new experience again. Travelling to Singapore with my boyfriend and also staying with our friends who are currently living and working there. It was such a nice way to arrive and start our big journey. We had lots of advice on what we could do and also exactly how to get where we were going for each activity.

Upon arrival we were met with warm hugs and beers. Yes! Thanks! We caught up on all the goss and freshened up to see Singapore through our expat friends experience.

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We went straight to the Fullerton where we had a great view of Marina Bay and we actually got there just in time to see the spectacular lights show. All the while being filled in on our friends Singapore Year (which has now been 18 months and there’s more to come.) We perched up at Pelican Bar and enjoyed the pretty views of the marina over delicious cocktails.

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Local cuisine was calling and we went to an awesome hawker market. Our friends divided and conquered that place. Before we knew it we were parked at a table with plates of stay skewers, chicken and rice, dumplings and freshly poured beers. Tasty, speedy service and very affordable. This is the Singapore I love to see. The buildings are spectacular and the way they’ve architecture the city is impressive. But the blend of cultures which comes out most prominently in the fusion of foods is what excites me!

We were shattered by 10.30pm, way past our Aussie bed time and it was super easy to just jump in a taxi and head home. Successful day one of our epic trip.

Oh and of course we swung by the Merlion for a classic tourist photo.

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If you would like to follow our journey on Instagram, please check out @Lovellyem and search the #tag #EmmaMattyIndiaSing2017.

 

Written on Day 1 of our 24 Day trip in India with stopover in Singapore.


Loving the Gold Coast vibe 

“Hey Emma – so where do you actually live?”

Excellent question! And one I get SO often!

Though I’ve had a permanent address of Coogee in Sydney for more than 2.5 years, I was always on the move. That’s kinda my life. But for now, I am loving the Gold Coast vibe where my lovely partner is now living and working!

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I’ve also been running a pet sitting business since January this year, Lovelly Pet Sitters. We care for pets in their own homes so that has me moving around from house to house, and even pet sitting interstate. I’m in a new suburb each week – a great way to explore new areas and spend time with lovely animals.

In September, my partner Matt got a new job! He’s now a diver at Sea World Australia and he moved three and a half weeks after he got the call. It was all very quick and exciting. Just the way I like it really. So here we are! The Goldie. Though I’m always traveling, I try and spend as much time as possible with him there. Follow our adventures on Instagram using the tag #EmmaMattyGCLife. Oh and our mascot, #PhilliptheDugong.

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Let’s be honest, I’m still commuting. At the drop of a hat, I could move elsewhere, so I am just making the most of this and living it up in the popular tourist destination. Gold Coast is so different when you actually spend a concentrated amount of time there.

Here are some of my favourite things I like to do whenever I am in and around The Goldie.

 

Broadwater Parklands

This gorgeous new development is just at the end of our road! Gold Coast Council have reconstructed the entire area in preparation for the 2018 Commonwealth Games. It’s got walking and cycle tracks, play areas for children, cafes, an Olympic pool and gym, entertainment areas, access to the water and the most gorgeous rock pool play area! It’s also filled with native wildlife and many places for birds to be free. I head there almost every day for a walk or cycle and look forward to exploring the waterways by Stand Up Paddle board in the near future.

 

Cycling – anywhere and everywhere

I bought a bike! It was like I was five years old again. So shiny, so new! So much room for activities! I can take a number of cycle paths from my place to explore the area. The Gold Coast is extremely bike friendly and it really shows in how many people are out enjoying cycling or using it as a way to commute. You just want to get out and be active!

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Tamborine Mountain

A gorgeous scenic drive from Southport up to Tamborine takes just 40 minutes. I’ve been up there most weekends since we moved and it’s actually a great way to cool down on the hotter days. There are loads of walking trails and lookout points to see the hinterland. You’ve also got wineries, B&B’s, cafes and the gallery of shops. It’s a great half day out or even overnight get away if you need a break from the heat and the beach. Don’t miss the Fortitude Brewery, amazing vibes and fine brews.

 

Sea World Australia

We of course made this one of our first stops, as Matt now works there. It was really nice to be tourists though and enjoy it with fresh eyes, and a little insider info. The animals are so beautiful and I really can see myself heading here often, just chilling with the sea creatures and learning more about our marine life. We also had perfect weather, so that helps!

 

Pool hangs

So this one isn’t really accessible to everyone, as this is actually the pool at his apartment. But my advice is book accommodation with a pool. It’s so lovely to look out his window and see this each day and spend lunch breaks catching some sun and having a refreshing dip.

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I really hope to share as much of my experience while I’m here as possible. Tips and info on the best places to go, as well as some of our personal adventures! I have no idea how long he’ll be there or what’s next in our chapter, but for now, I’m enjoying it!

 


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