Weekends are for drinking tea and reading

I have been such a slow reader lately because real life keeps getting in the way of reading and blogging time. I’ve been reading V.E. Schwab’s Shades of Magic books for the past few weeks and I thought I’d finish A Gathering of Shadows this weekend but now it’s almost over and nope, I’m nowhere near the end. I did notice that I’ve visited TWG cafe for three weekends straight, and I brought the two books with me to read. So I thought I’d share some of the pictures that I took.

TWG cafe - group

It all started with this Hobbit-like brunch spread with my ex-flatmates

I’m actually a bit surprised that I’ve never talked about TWG on the blog before. TWG is a Singaporean premium tea brand and I fell in love with their teas when I first moved to Singapore. I was heavily influenced by one of my flatmates who is also a huge fan. My appreciation for TWG tapered off a bit and was recently renewed when I discovered that their all of their food items are infused with tea. I’ve always tried just their pastries and macarons, but now I’ve become a fan of their savory dishes and their scones served with cream and tea jelly.

TWG cafe - brunch

I went back the next weekend to have brunch there again. The tea book has the full list of teas that they serve, including descriptions for each.

TWG cafe - flower tea, scones and macarons

The brunch set included tea, macarons and scones.

TWG cafe - A Darker Shade of Magic

Reading A Darker Shade of Magic with tea in the background.

The picture above was actually regrammed by TWG in their official Instagram account. I thought that was pretty cool.

TWG cafe - A Gathering of Shadows

Scones with two kinds of tea jelly: 1837 Black and Red of Africa. Plus my current read: A Gathering of Shadows.

TWG cafe - A Gathering of Shadows chapter illustration

Chapter illustrations of the UK edition of A Gathering of Shadows.

As always, the resolution is better over at my Instagram account if you guys want to check that out. How about you, how was your weekend? Also, do you enjoy drinking tea as much as I do? Even though I didn’t get to read like I originally wanted to, I had a restful Saturday (woohoo nap time) and was able to visit a new-to-me place on Sunday. So still a pretty good weekend overall… which I need to remind myself as I face the dreaded Monday.

The Reading Room Cafe

I first found out about The Reading Room book cafe in Singapore from an Instagram post. I’ve been visiting book cafes in Manila and was pleasantly surprised to discover that there are some cafes in Singapore that have a similar set-up. Of course, any cafe can become a reading cafe as long as I have a book or my Kindle with me. But it just feels comforting to hang out in a place that’s filled with books. So that was what I ended up doing on a Sunday afternoon.

The Reading Room SG - outside

The Reading Room SG - inside

The Reading Room SG - artwork

I try to stick to the same size of pictures when I upload them here on the blog and because of this, the resolution is a little better on my Instagram account. You can see the pictures here, here and here. Not posted on Instagram but I thought I’d share the meal that I had, which was a brunch set and Himalayan salt coffee:

The Reading Room - brunch

The Reading Room - coffee

It’s a cozy cafe that’s easy to get to, because it’s within walking distance of a train station. The chairs are comfy, the lighting is good and the music isn’t too distracting. So I was able to read a bit after finishing off the food that I ordered. Will definitely keep coming back to this cafe. 🙂

How about you, how did you spend your weekend? As always, I’m in denial that the weekend is over and will try to squeeze in some reading time before going to bed.

Other book cafes I’ve visited:
Tweedle Book Cafe, posts here and here
Book and Borders Cafe
Cool Beans Cafe

Book Haul: SG Book Deals

Last weekend, I posted an announcement of the SG Book Deals warehouse sale and today, I dropped by to check it out. I wanted to go today because it’s the first day of the sale and I was thinking there would be more stocks than any other day. I had to figure out how to get to the place – took the MRT to Bishan and then took the bus – so I arrived there sometime in the late afternoon. I was surprised to see so many people hunting for books! Originally, I wanted to buy kiddie books for my godsons but looks like they ran out of good titles. They said they will replenish stocks tomorrow but I don’t think I would have time to go.

SG Book Deals - August 2015

SG Book Deals - August 2015 - 2

SG Book Deals - August 2015 - 3

They’re having an SG50 promo where you can fill one of these boxes with as many books that can fit into it and just pay SGD50! Of course, people took advantage of this and I saw a lot of them holding boxes while browsing around.

SG Book Deals - August 2015 - 4

I didn’t fill a box but the sellers were kind enough to give me an eco bag while I was browsing. My book haul includes these titles:

SG Book Deals - August 2015 - book haul 1

SG Book Deals - August 2015 - book haul 2

Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein
A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness
Mouse Bird Snake Wolf by David Almond and Dave McKean
Life in Outer Space by Melissa Keil
Preloved by Shirley Marr
Blood Song by Rhiannon Hart
Blood Storm by Rhiannon Hart
Red Ink by Julie Mayhew
West End Girls by Jenny Colgan
Diamonds are a Girl’s Best Friend by Jenny Colgan
The Key to the Golden Firebird by Maureen Johnson
Cuckoo Song by Frances Hardinge
Paper Aeroplanes by Dawn O’Porter
The Prince Who Walked with Lions by Elizabeth Laird
Rose Cottage by Mary Stewart
Salem Brownstone: All Along the Watchtowers by John Harris Dunning and Nikhil Singh

FYI, I wiped the floor before putting down the books. 😛 I think it looks nicer when you can see all the covers. I thought it was awesome that they had some Aussie YA titles! I also couldn’t resist getting copies of two favorite books, Code Name Verity and A Monster Calls. I don’t have this particular edition of the former and I can always give away copies of the latter.

The sale will last until August 10 so I’m including the details again, in case you want to check it out:

Event details:
Date: 1-10 August 2015
Time: 11am to 7pm (Weekends & Public Holiday); 11am to 2pm (Weekdays)
Venue: No. 438 Ang Mo Kio Ave 10, Ang Mo Kio Industrial Park 1, Singapore 569619 (Opposite Pathlight School, above Rozel Furnishing Store)

Impromptu SG Indie Bookstore Hop

Last weekend, I did an impromptu bookstore hop. I’ve been meaning to visit Littered With Books ever since I saw pictures of it pop up on my Instagram explore page. I finally got to do so last Saturday.

Here are pictures of Littered With Books, located in the Tanjong Pagar area:
Littered With Books 1

Littered With Books 2

Littered With Books 3

Littered With Books 4

I bought one of these canvas bags from the store, which brings my bookish tote bag collection to a grand total of two.

Littered With Books 5

I’ve always loved this quote because books + travel ♥♥

On Sunday, I met up with friends for brunch at Forty Hands cafe and since we were already in the area, we dropped by Books Actually and Woods in the Books.

Forty Hands

Brunch at Forty Hands. Poached eggs with mushroom and spinach. Bacon. Mocha.

BooksActually - July 2015

BooksActually - July 2015 - corner

BooksActually - July 2015 - cats

Cats of BooksActually

BooksActually - Math Paper Press

Books published by Math Paper Press.

Last but not the least, we dropped by a bookstore specializing in children’s books:
Woods in the Books - July 2015

It was a fun weekend because I got to visit these three indie bookstores even though I didn’t plan it. What about you, have you visited any nice bookstores lately?

My Library Experience

Singapore library

I dropped by the library last weekend and then I found out that my membership has expired. I hadn’t even realized that a whole year has passed since I signed up for the Singapore Public Library. If you’ve been following my blog for a while then you’re aware that I was pretty excited to have access to a good public library because we don’t have that back home in the Philippines. In my excitement, I kept borrowing books that I didn’t have time to read – even with an extended due date. I kept doing it anyway because it felt therapeutic just to visit the library on a weekly basis, browse through the shelves and see which titles would stand out. I borrowed A LOT OF BOOKS but I kept track of the ones that I managed to read on my Goodreads shelves and here they are:

The DUFF: Designated Ugly Fat Friend by Kody Keplinger
The Coming of the Dragon by Rebecca Barnhouse
Amplified by Tara Kelly
My One and Only by Kristan Higgins
Audrey, Wait! by Robin Benway
The Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson
Fury by Shirley Marr
Crazy Beautiful by Lauren Baratz-Logsted

Wow, I’m a little surprised that I was able to read only eight books in the span of a year. Although maybe that shouldn’t be so surprising because I have my own collection as well, books that I’ve bought or received as gifts. Plus there are times when I would receive galleys too. I guess I’m used to having books as my personal property, meaning I could read them whenever I wanted, instead of being more aware of due dates so I never prioritized library books. That and I didn’t want to feel pressured to read anything that I wasn’t in the mood for.

Library November 18

I think it was a great experience that I signed up to become a member of the library, even though the membership fee wasn’t that cheap at SGD 50 for foreigners. I’m also delighted that I see so many Singaporeans making the most out of the libraries – I see a lot of people reading library books in the MRT and the library is always packed on weekends, with kids running around to grab books. The Twitter and Instagram accounts of the Singapore Public Library are both updated regularly and it was fun to interact with the people handling those social media sites. I just wish the library had ebook titles that I could borrow since it’s a lot easier for me to read on my Kindle while on the go. I feel like I would have been able to take advantage of my membership more if I could borrow ebooks. I wouldn’t mind signing up again but I’ll probably wait until there are specific titles that I want to borrow. In the meantime, I should concentrate on my TBR pile.

I know a lot of you have access to good public libraries (some of you are even librarians – lucky people), I would like to hear what your own library experiences are.

Postcard Love: Singapore Philatelic Museum

Postcard Love Logo

We have a long weekend in Singapore now and I’m hoping that I will be able to work on some reviews. In the meantime, I thought it would be nice to put up a post about the Singapore Philatelic Museum, which I visited the weekend before last. I’ve been wanting to visit the place and didn’t get the chance to do so until my mom came here for a short vacation and said that she wanted to go to a museum. While I did have a small stamp collection when I was a child, I’m mostly interested in this museum because of its connection with postcards. If nothing else, I knew that the museum shop would probably have an interesting selection of postcards for sale.

Singapore Philatelic Museum

Singapore Philatelic Museum

What is a stamp?

Description of a stamp

SPM stamps

Various stamps

SPM mailboxes

Different mailboxes

SPM postcards

Description of postcards

SPM old postcard

An old school postcard

Like I predicted, there were some wonderful postcards in the museum shop and I had a hard time deciding which ones I should get. If you send a postcard from the museum, you just have to pay a certain fee and it gets this special Singapore Philatelic Museum stamp:

SPM stamp

I finally decided to grab these reprinted vintage postcards because I think they look cool. All of them are pictures taken in Singapore back in the day. I wish we had something similar to these back home in Manila.

SPM vintage postcards

It was a fun visit, my only complaint is that while they have a lot of old stamps for sale for collectors, they don’t have any philatelic stamps that can be readily used to send postcards. I’ve asked in several post offices and it seems like philatelic stamps in Singapore are only used for collections and they can only be bought in certain Singpost branches. This makes me a little sad since I used philatelic stamps in Manila whenever I sent postcards, I think those stamps added to the charm of sending snail mail.

MT Masking Tape Expo Singapore

I know this isn’t book-related but since you guys don’t seem to mind whenever I put up random stuff here in the blog, I thought it would be a good idea to talk about MT Masking Tape Expo in Singapore. Besides, I’ve mentioned washi tape several times here and it looks like other people have enjoyed seeing my updates. I know I’m not the only book blogger or reader who has a washi tape collection. To those who don’t know what washi tape is, basically it’s masking tape printed with different designs, making it ideal for crafts. MT Masking Tape is a well-known washi tape brand and there is an ongoing expo (combination exhibit and pop-up store) here in Singapore. To be honest, I was pleasantly surprised to discover that there was such a thing as a washi tape expo. Friday was the opening day and I decided to drop by after work.

MT expo SG 1

A giant MT lantern and taped walls and floor

MT expo SG 2

MT expo SG 3

Cute paper lanterns

MT expo SG 4

I really, really wanted to get the limited edition animal MT design but it was out of stock. Sold out in just one morning.

MT expo SG 5

So many rolls to choose from!

MT expo SG 6

Scandinavian series

MT expo SG 7

Look at this dancing bear design, reminds me of the Queen’s Thief series by Megan Whalen Turner

I spent quite a while browsing through all the rolls, trying to decide what to get. It was similar to how I usually am inside a bookstore. I resisted the urge to get all the designs that I wanted and ended up with the following stash:

MT expo SG haul

I only grabbed 4 rolls

MT expo SG haul 2

And here are my MT collection as of the moment:

MT collection July 2013

MT tapes are so cute, aren’t they? If you’re in Singapore, you should drop by and check out the expo. If you aren’t, I hope you still enjoyed going through this post. Hope you’re all having a great weekend!


Edited to add (July 30, 2013): The Singapore limited edition designs have been restocked! I dropped by again to grab some of them. Each person can only purchase 3 limited edition rolls. The three that I got are: a Singapore Zoo-inspired design, Peranakan tiles, stars and moon (based on the Singapore flag). The roll on the right-most is a free one that I got from playing with the gacha gacha machines.

MT SG limited edition washi tape

Separation Anxiety

Prior to moving to Singapore, I’ve always lived in one city: Manila. I still consider our house in Manila as my home – my room is still there with all of my stuff in it, not the least of which is my big bookshelf. Most of the books that I own are in that bookshelf back home. I didn’t even get the chance to arrange it properly before I left, the books there aren’t organized in any kind of order. I have some books here with me because I always try to squeeze in some of them in my luggage whenever I have a Manila trip. I’ve also bought some books since I moved, especially when I went to the States earlier this year. I haven’t read all of the books that I have here because I also read library books and Kindle books. I just find it comforting to have a bookshelf piled with books near me.

bookshelf Oct 2012

My big, messy bookshelf back home

I kind of feel sad that most of my books are back home in Manila instead of here where I am. I guess that’s what usually happens whenever a person needs to move for various reasons. I think I’m just not used to it. What if I feel like reading or just looking and touching an old favorite? Or if I feel like reading a book I haven’t had a chance to read only to discover that my copy is back home? Or if I want to look up a certain scene or passage in a book that I’ve previously read? Sometimes, I also like looking back at some of the signed copies that I have to check out what the author wrote (and also because signed books are awesome). I know my friends probably won’t understand when I tell them that I miss my books but the rest of you may be able to relate to how I feel. I have people telling me that instead of buying physical books, I should just get ebook editions so I’ll always have my library in my Kindle. But I like reading printed books. Anyway, I think that’s another topic for a different discussion.

bookshelf singapore may 2013

My small bookshelf in Singapore

I know a lot of fellow readers and bloggers move around a lot, especially the ones based abroad. So I wanted to get a conversation going about what it’s like not to have all of your books with you? Or do you feel compelled to bring them along whenever you move? But what if you’re not certain of the duration of your stay in one place, do you keep your books in your family home or maybe a storage facility? Do you also feel a bit sad when you don’t have all of your books with you? I would love to hear your thoughts on this. It would be good to know that I’m not the only one who has separation anxiety.

Shakespeare in the Park: Othello

I’ve been looking forward to Shakespeare in the Park this year since my flatmates informed me that there’s such a thing. Since I rarely get the chance to see a Shakespeare production, I thought it was a good idea to do it when I could. I like how the outdoor setting gives off a Just One Day kind of vibe. The Singapore Repertory Theatre’s production for this year is Othello. Take note that I’m not well-versed in Shakespeare’s work so this is by no means a review. I just wanted to talk about my experience to let all of you know how I spent my Saturday evening. We weren’t allowed to take pictures during the play itself so I only have a couple of pictures before and after.

Shakespeare in the Park

Waiting for the play to start

Shakespeare in the Park2

Here’s the program

We brought food and drinks and sat on mats on the grass. Everyone else did something similar – it was funny how a lot of people brought wine or champagne and they even had their own wine glasses. The casual setting was a good thing because you can move around to get comfortable, which is an advantage when you’re sitting on the ground for several hours. When the play started, I was surprised at the modern attire and stage setting but I liked it once I got used to it. Men were wearing suits instead of robes while the women wore pants. They used guns instead of swords and showed a helicopter instead of a ship.

Shakespeare in the Park3

Look at that crowd!

Shakespeare in the Park4

Thank you, sir, for blocking our view.

I was surprised by how many people turned up for the event. I’ve heard that last year’s production of Twelfth Night wasn’t as crowded so it looks like the event has gained popularity. I would have loved to see Twelfth Night or any of Shakespeare’s comedies – I think I’m more suited to them rather than his tragedies. I remember watching A Midsummer’s Night Dream back in Manila a few years ago and I really enjoyed that. Overall, it was quite an interesting experience and one that I wouldn’t mind repeating.

Have you ever seen a Shakespeare play performed on stage? What did you think of it? I know that Shakespeare in the Park is an international thing so feel free to let me know if you’ve experienced this as well.

Book Haul: Kinokuniya Part 2

Kinokuniya was having a sale last weekend and since my flatmates are members, I went with them to see if I could take advantage of the 20% discount. I know I keep harping on how expensive books are here and I usually rather buy copies in Manila for UK or US editions that are also available there. So when bookstores have sales here, I usually aim for books that I can’t get back home or through Book Depository like Aussie titles. Most of the ones I wanted were out of stock but it made me happy that Paper Chains by Nicola Moriarty was there.

book haul - paper chains

I’ve been wanting to read Nicola Moriarty’s books for a while now and I’m glad I will finally be able to try her writing. I got an extra copy to swap with my friend Maggie of Young Adult Anonymous, I know she’s a fan of Aussie fiction as well.

I was walking around the bookstore, trying to decide what else to get and I was just thinking that it would be great if I could find books similar to Laura Florand’s since I enjoy reading her books so much. Lo and behold, The Loveliest Chocolate Shop in Paris by Jenny Colgan pops up! I knew it was a sign that I should grab a copy. It’s rare for me to buy a book just based on the cover and synopsis because I usually rely on reviews from fellow book bloggers. Let’s see if this lives up to my expectations.

book haul - loveliest chocolate shop in paris

That’s a French-themed postcard made out of washi tape right beside the book. What about the rest of you, have you bought or borrowed any books lately?