This blog has moved

Sorry for any inconvenience but I have moved this blog to here. I was just finding the wordpress blog template too difficult to work with so have moved to Blogger instead. We also have a new blog name,

Gin and Tonic, adventures in the tropics

I have moved all the existing content from this site to the new one, hope to see you there.



bread and butter pickle

bread and butter

There’s not much in the way of fresh fruit and veg that’s cheap in Singapore, but the local cucumber isn’t too bad so we eat a lot of this amazing pickle. Makes a cheese sandwich a lot more interesting.

For two good sized jars I used 4 medium cucumbers and 2 onions. Red onions go a pretty pink colour when they are pickled. I like having about half as much onion as cucumber so its not too strong. Slice the onion really thinly and use a vegetable peeler to get super thin slices of cucumber.

Bring to the boil 500ml vinegar, 500ml water, three quarter cup of sugar, 2 teaspoons of mustard seeds and 1 teaspoon of cloves. Add the cucumber and onion and bring back to the boil. Remove from the heat and pack into sterilised jars. Keep in the fridge after opening.

I did learn something scary about vinegar whilst doing this, some of the vinegar in the store here was labeled ‘imitation’ so I consulted the google oracle and it turns out that vinegar can be made from petrochemicals. Although it’s considered food safe I was a lot happier buying vinegar fermented from grain or sugar for something we are going to eat. Checking food labels is pretty important. If you want to read more about vinegar there’s a great article here.

Now go pile your pickle onto a nice fresh slice of home made bread with a thick slab of cheese.

A year of sewing

I am a fabric hoarder. I have a whole stash of fabrics purchased with good intentions to sew my own clothes that haven’t really gone much further. I also have a cupboard full of clothes that don’t fit properly but I can’t bear to part with because it would be so easy to modify them into something better. That thought is a far as it ever gets.

So when I read the wardrobe architect challenge at Coletterie I was inspired to get sewing this year. I’ll take the challenge but I am not committing to not buying anything new, and I am not going to sew basic tees and tanks or jeans, there is just not enough time in the day! There’s no way  I’ll be attempting to sew my own undies either.

I’ll be needing a few maternity things to get me through the last few months of my pregnancy, and when the bundle of joy arrives at the end of April I’ll be needing a wardrobe to see me through the post baby body changes. I foresee a lot of loose fitting tops in my future. And naturally I’ll be trying to get as much of this sewing done before the baby arrives…a tall order but nothing ventured nothing gained.

I’ll be pinning my inspiration pieces here and anything that actually gets made will be posted here on the blog or on instagram if I’m feeling lazy.



Malaysian hideaway

Well it’s been a while since my last post, truth is this move to Singapore has been a more difficult adjustment than I was expecting. But we are feeling a bit more settled now and our routines are returning to normal. We took ourselves off to a Malaysian island this last weekend though to recharge and remember what it’s like to have space around us. The break improved family morale considerably, despite the extreme lack of surfing.

Rimba Resort on Sibu Island is a fantastic rustic bolthole, a three hour drive and short boat ride from Singapore and you’re on the beach in front of your grass hut with an ice cold beer in hand. The cabins are basic but comfortable with private bathrooms (we booked the honeymoon suite for a hot water shower though!) and stunning ocean views. Being the start of the monsoon we pretty much had the whole place to ourselves. The weather was a little rainy but the cooler air was actually welcome, and by cooler I mean you still wouldn’t want to sleep under a sheet. We did some snorkeling but otherwise just drank beer with our feet in the sand and ate until we could pop. What a great weekend, I’m sure we’ll be back often.


singpore garden show

orchid hanging gardenReally this should have been called the Singapore Orchid Show since just about every garden or flower arrangement featured orchids. I went to see the balcony gardens thinking I would come away with a million amazing ideas for creating a garden on our apartment balcony. The balcony gardens were pretty disappointing though, apart from an interesting way of stacking containers to create more space, I didn’t really learn anything that would be useful in practice. But the canopy of orchids in the above picture was truly inspiring, I think it was part of the fantasy gardens display but I can’t be sure, it was confusing inside that black marquee! I would love to do something like that on our balcony, I can just picture us sitting there drinking a nice cool gin and tonic. 

legoland, an expedition to malaysia

We had the good fortune of access to a car this weekend so promptly took ourselves off to Legoland, which is just across the bridge into Malaysia. Savvy travelers that we are we didn’t think to get any Malaysian currency before we left though which led to us being stranded in a tollgate immediately after clearing customs. With traffic backing up behind us the toll collector generously agreed to accept our Singapore dollars at an exchange rate of one to one, no change thank you. I’m sure you can see where this is going. We paid about three times what we should have and the toll collector got a nice little bonus on the side. We proceeded to Legoland where the collective family mood improved hugely upon entry.

lego petronas edit

Petronas towers made entirely from lego, somebody clearly has an awesome job.  I thought we’d get through the whole park AND the water park in a day but there was no chance, well I suppose we did have a two year old in tow, but we did hit the lego shop in a big way and also upgraded our tickets to an annual pass before heading back over the bridge to reality. We will definitely be back and I do plan to stay in the lego hotel, which may be the most epic hotel in the world, lego pirate or castle themed room anyone? You know you want to…






Singapore National Day

Singapore celebrated 49 years of independence this last weekend with massive sales all over the island, seems that the national sport here is shopping. A 50 percent sale here just brings the price down to normal prices in the rest of the world though so we didn’t take part in the frenzy, but we did take a picnic down to the gardens by the bay to watch an impressive fireworks display on Saturday night. Us and half the island, but completely organised chaos as only Singapore knows how to do. Kids zoomed around on scooters and rollerblades, we drank some beer and feasted on bacon sandwiches (it was a special occasion after all) and watched about a gazillion dollars explode over the downtown skyline.

fireworks 1

fireworks 2

fireworks 3

the expedition begins

 moving day 2

Moving day and our utterly ridiculous 40 foot container arrives, we needed the 40 footer because our surf skis were just 50cm too long for a more standard size 20 foot container. Can’t do without the surf skis though as there is absolutely no swell in Singapore, making it the perfect paddling environment for someone like me who is not a fan of waves. Although less perfect for my lives-for-surfing husband.

Our stuff didn’t even come halfway to filling this monster despite stocking up on some of the most necessary ingredients for a South African expat life.

photo 1

Providing the ship doesn’t sink or catch fire or get pirated we should see it all at the end of August when we move into our new apartment, until then we’ll be living out of suitcases in temporary digs. See you on the other side.