Organic vegetables delivery in Singapore


I have always wanted to buy organic fruits & vegetables and when, I read blogs in US & Australia and the organic food they buy, I am so very tempted. When I went to US, I always spend a lot of time admiring the organic sections in supermarkets.  I wish I could buy produce like that here at those rates. Everything organic is so expensive and targeted  primarily  at western expats. iHerb solves a lot of my organic cosmetics & dry food problems but organic fresh produce is a distant dream. Recently, there have been several organic fresh produce deliveries cropping up in Singapore and I have tried 2 of them. Here is what I think –

1.  Best Organic

I ordered online and I receive no response at all via email for over a week. I tried calling them and no one answered the phone. I was so angry. Luckily, as I paid via paypal, I opened a dispute.  Then, they called me and talk to me in Mandarin. They had called me 2 times earlier and every time I put down the phone assuming it was a wrong number.  Why the hell can’t they first speak in English to check? As I had opened a paypal dispute,  they delivered on the same day.  The vegetables were fresh but  I was not sure if they were organic. No more communication from them whatsoever.

I will never order from them again.

2.  Sg Organic

I placed an order with them last week. Slightly better and I received an acknowledgement. I had specifically asked for an early delivery (between 10-11.30 AM) because their delivery time is 10-1 PM Saturday.  I woke up early.  I wait. I wait. It is 1 PM and there is no delivery yet. I am hungry and I want to go out and I am waiting for a stupid delivery. I had to call them 3 times.  The lady did not know what was up with her delivery. They delivered later and the delivery guy was clueless that I had asked for an early delivery. All they did was keep a blank face and mutter “I understand” which is bullshit because clearly they don’t.  I hate it when people bullshit me. Don’t give me stuff you pick up from management books without even understanding the principles. I understand there can be delays, but when someone has requested specifically, isn’t it basic customer service to immediately inform if there are any delays? Terrible communication is what plagues many businesses here & why am I even surprised? I see it so often in my  own office. 

I got a fruit & veg box and they told me it would be 3-5 kg but when it was delivered to me. I was pretty disappointed with how much I got for the money I paid. The only thing worth it was kale which is pretty hard to get in Singapore. 

Their website says “We have a strong company focus on being green and recycling” which I felt was plain green washing. Many people & companies here pretend to be eco friendly but they are not.  Yes, the bill may have been printed on brown paper but inside was a large plastic bag. Many veg were put in plastic trays or plastic bags separately like in supermarket. 

To their credit,  they followed up on Monday and apologized and offered me a $10 voucher.  So that is definitely an improvement from Sg Organic.

I showed U how much I got for the money I paid and he laughed.  It is not worth the hassle and the money. 

Conclusion 

I think I am better off buying organic fruits and veggies from the local supermarket – Fairprice/ Cold storage  (Cold storage is more expensive) where I can see how much I am getting  for the money I pay and they sometimes have offers on the organic stuff. I cannot get every single organic veg there but is a decent amount and it seems better value for money.

Not like I cannot use non organic veggies.  My goal is to increase the organic stuff I use but that does not mean I am going to be anal about it. So I will get what I can afford  and what is available & meanwhile, dream of local organic markets in USA.

Review: Plantlife Coconut Vanilla Aromatherapy Herbal Soap


This is the soap I am using currently.

What – Plantlife Coconut Vanilla Aromatherapy Herbal Soap

IMG_2187

Website – https://www.plantlife.net/index.php

Company – This is the third product from this company I am trying out. Their soaps are chemical free & vegan. Animal cruelty free. Made in USA.

Price – 4.5$. Purchased from iHerb

IMG_2189

What they say – Coconut Vanilla is ultra moisturizing and soothing. It’s made with Coconut Milk (rich in vitamins and protein), pure Vanilla and organic Cocoa Butter to create a super emollient bar of pure goodness for the skin. Gentle enough for all skin types.

Packaging – Simple & eco friendly. No plastic. iHerb packs it in a plastic bag which is understandable because I don’t want the soap rubbing off onto other products while being shipped.

Ingredients –  Aqua (water), saponified olea europaea (olive) oil, saponified cocos nucifera (coconut) oil, saponified elaeis guineensis (palm) kernel oil, saponified glycine soja (soybean) oil, proprietary blend of 100% pure essential oils, cocos nucifera (coconut) milk powder, theobroma cacao (organic cocoa) seed butter and theobroma cacao (cocoa) powder.

IMG_2188

Smell – So so. Don’t feel the coconut or vanilla. I tried Mad Gabs Coconut Lime lip balm and it smelled so nice.

Feel – Okay. Not too thick and creamy because of the plant oils. It is light on the skin. Lathers well.

Overall – I was not too impressed with this flavour. It does not have a strong scent and scent does not last too long either. This was disappointing because I tried their other soap and loved the heady scent. I will review it soon.

Would I recommend it? – Nah.

2.75/5

Review : Jamie’s Italian, Sg


I was meeting up some friends for lunch and we decided to go to Jamie’s Italian for lunch. I was aware, it was more on the expensive side but we all wanted to try it out. It had opened here, a couple of months ago and was fully booked all the time in the beginning with long queues because  kiasuness. I could not book online as the online reservations was closed but we could do a walk in. I read from some blogs that it is not too crowded now and we could get seats.

Jamie’s Italian is in Vivocity. Not my favourite mall in town because

-It is crowded
-It is large and disorienting
-It is noisy

When we went to Jamie’s, they told us we would have to wait for 15-20 minutes. I walked around while waiting for the table.

The decor is fine. More on the side of casual dining. The entrance to the restaurant is dark and I asked to be seated near the areas with windows because it was brighter. They had closed the outdoor seating.

The music was loud and we were listening to the latest American songs. Not really Italian. We did tell them to lower the music because it was giving me a headache and I could not hear myself think. They were nice enough to lower the sound.

We were seated. They promptly placed water glasses upside down on the table. When we turned it up, the waitress told us not to because that upside down glass is an indicator for our “specially designated server” to attend to us. Duh. I dislike these stupid rules and being told not to do something like we are children. U promptly asked how clean the tables were for them to place glasses upside down. I could see the waitress was embarrassed at the question. Looks like, when it is a supposedly posh place, nobody asks questions. Anyhow, “our special server” never came to us. So, we waved to a server to come to us. So there, that stupid rule was unnecessarily complicating stuff.

We were quite hungry. We ordered

  •  1 Italian Bread basket – Was decent. 4 small pieces of bread with olive oil and balsamic vinegar
  •  Jools’ favourite sicilian tuna fusilli ($21 which means a larger portion) – H had only a few spoons and left 3/4 of it. u offered to eat the rest and did not eat more than 2 spoons. It was apparently one of the worst and the taste of the tuna overtook everything. There were barely any mediterranean spices.We definitely did not feel any difference between this pasta and regular pasta because Jamie’s claims they have fresh pasta which is made daily.
  • Spring pea & mint panzerotti (about $28) Stuffed with ricotta, peas & Parmesan, with broad beans, asparagus, green beans, mint,lemon – The sauce was nice but I felt it was way too overpriced. I got 6 pieces of ravioli, less than 2 beans and a few peas. I did not feel the ravioli was great either. I did not see why it was necessary to put so few veggies. Not like they are giving me organic food. I was not even remotely full but completely pissed by then.
  • Grilled Sausage with herbs (about $24) – This was great with lots of herbs but U felt they could have offered some baked potatoes along with the sausage.
  • Funky Chips with garlic and parsley (X2- $6.5 each) –  This was french fries. It tasted nice but was too oily. I still ate it because I was so hungry.

We had heard that the desserts were good but after the disappointing meal, we really did not want to stay on there.

We asked for the bill. The waiter handed us the bill and went away again before I could take out my card. As we really wanted to leave, I got up to the cashier and gave her my card and the bill. She asked us where we were seated and told us to back and sit and “our special designated waiter” will collect the payment. I told her I wanted to make the payment and leave. Another stupid rule. I did not see the problem when we had a printed bill in hand and I wanted to make the payment.

Our bill for 3 was $114. That’s a lot, especially when nobody was full or happy on leaving the place. I think Jamie’s is overrated and overpriced. I have had better and cheaper Italian food elsewhere. Even better service.

Would I recommend it – No.

Review: Dookudu’s love story


An acquaintance told me to watch Dookudu because it was awesome. Dookudu is a hit Telugu movie from 2011.  

I have picked up the love story from the entire movie which was little and strung them together. A little background:

Mahesh is a cop and Samantha’s dad is his senior. Sam hides from her dad the fact that she is a fashion designer because her dad is a strict traditional guy. So do her mom and sis who pretend to be traditional at home. She goes to Turkey for a show. Mahesh goes to Turkey for an operation. They meet. They seem to fall in love. They meet again in India because he works under her dad. They get married.

In Turkey

  • Scene 1

Mahesh and his team assume that Samantha is a don’s girlfriend and follow. She is angry that she is being followed by some roadside romeos and confronts them. He reacts and stands up like he is going to hit her that moment. Mahesh realises it was an error. Follow her when she goes with her mom and sis onto a ferry. He butters upto her mom but she is pissed and tell him to go to hell

  • Scene 2  

He goes to her to clear the misunderstandings.  She is almost yelling at him to go away. He forcefully puts his hand over her mouth, pushes her against the wall, holds her hand down and tells her the truth, like he is kidnapping her.

  • Scene 3  

She forgets her bag at a railway station. She cries because she feels she is paying for her sin of lying to her father. Our Mahesh walks in with a hanky and returns her bag. He gives a lecture to them and tells Samantha’s friend not to forget her culture and not roam in clothes like those in a foreign country. Samantha is shown as falling in love with him already. 

  • Scene 4  

He is speaking ill of her behind her back to his friends. Of course, she walks in when is speaking like that but then he does not know it. He speaks of getting her under control after marriage. He speaks ill of her mother who was in western clothes. She is pissed.

  • Scene 5  

He tells her goodbye and tell her he will forget her and she feels bad. He tells his friend that you need to use such tricks to get the girl to come after you.

In India

  • Scene 6

They accidentally end up meeting her in a car when Mahesh is giving a lift to the dad and dad picks up Sam from Temple. Mahesh realises that Samantha, her mom and sis have been lying to their dad. They dress in traditional clothes at home and claim she went for classes to Delhi, when in fact she was in Turkey for a fashion designing show, where she met Mahesh.  

Samantha’s mom is seen asking for permission from her husband (Samantha’s dad) to go to market. Sam’s dad is proud of how traditional and good women of his house are and keeps berating Mahesh’s girlfriend (who is Sam and her dad does not know that yet). Mahesh calls her girlfriend? When did they even date?

Mahesh uses this knowledge to keep irking Sam. Then truth comes out. Mahesh explains to  dad the situation. So, your dad would not understand your point of view or let you pursue a career of your choice but when a man comes and explains to your dad, he gets it. Women, one more reason you need men.

Of course, Sam is deep in love with him after he talks to her dad and supports her career.

  • Scene 7

She runs into Mahesh in a bar where he is in some undercover operation but she tries to talk to him. He tells her to go and she insists on talking. He slaps her to send her away. Her friends justifies the slap by saying she disturbed him when he was on duty. There is no second scene where he apologises or sends her an SMS at least.

  • Scene 8

Next day, she again runs into him in a car park. She talks to him even after he slapped her. He is again on duty. A criminal shoots a gun and she is shocked and he runs after the criminal

  • Scene 9

Mahesh goes to Sam’s house and asks her parents to talk to his parents for fixing marriage.

  • Scene 10

Mahesh and Sam get married.

The movie is okay and I feel Mahesh babu has done better movies. The other parts are okay and the storyline seemed a bit improbable in some aspects.

What hit me the most was the misogyny. I could not believe the female who recommended this movie to me did not find anything wrong with the treatment of the lead actress. He does not contact her. He speaks ill of her behind her back. He slaps her. Yet, she falls in love with him. Men seems to have to do so little to snag a girl in India. Treat her poorly, push her away, act like you are going to hit her any moment she irritates you and she will be after you. Do women really have such low self esteem? I think yes, if your society keeps telling you women are inferior all the time.

I know there will be a set of people who will say I am over reacting and that it is just a movie and I want them to note certain points:

–  We persistently show such messages all over in media and in our society, so much so that we begin to accept it as normal

–   A large number of people are heavily influenced by movies and rely on them as role models.

–   If India were not a misogynist society with so many crimes against women, we can relax that such movies do not have any effect. Well, stats & my observations show that it is not the case.

–   It is not only me but also westerners who could not believe the misogyny in this movie.

This leads me to wonder, how ingrained misogyny has become ingrained in our collective psyche that we being to think it is normal that men treat women poorly and we believe it is love and that it is acceptable. We are giving both men and women wrong prototypes for behaviour in relationships.

Ladies, do yourself a favour and stop dating/marrying a man who treats you with little respect. 

Review: Bombay Cafe Singapore


Bombay Café, Singapore has been on my to-go-to-eat list for a long time and I finally went last week, not once but twice. I went to the branch opposite Mustafe centre because they will most likely have the best cook.  I had one lunch on a Tuesday and one dinner on a Wednesday, so we covered different times and different dishes. Note that it is a vegetarian restaurant.

Décor: Nice. They have movie posters of Bollywood framed all over. Pink and black as the website and the décor does not look outdated.

Music: Bollywood songs and they are not repetitive. Some places have 2 CDs they keep playing over and over again and it is not fun.

Service: Good. Food did come within a decent period of time.

Website: Can do with some updating. The menu with their price is on the website. GST and 10% service charges apply.  

http://www.bombaycafe.com.sg/index.html

Now comes the most important part.

Food: These are things we ordered.

  1. Pani puri/ gol guppa – Disspointing. The puri was pretty thick, which is not how it should be.
  2. Pav Bhaji – Very good.
  3. Mango lassi – Good
  4. Kabab Sizzler – This consisted of various kebabs and starters served on a sizzling plate of jeera rice, a bowl of daal makhani and naan. The naan was great. Daal makhani was great. Too much rice – I do not like being served an overload of carbs.  The jeera rice was very good. Grilled paneer – awesome. The paneer was definitely fresh and not frozen Grilled Cauliflower – awesome Stuffed potato (bharwan aloo)– was okay but I was too full by then Vegetable rolls – okay but then I was full.
  5. Dry gobi manchuria – awesome. Definitely one of the best I have tasted in Sg
  6. Naan  separately – Awesome
  7. Grilled cauliflower (separately) – awesome
  8. Paneer butter masala – Great.
  9. Daal makhani (separately) – awesome
  10. Kulfi – great
  11. Rasgulla – okayish

Overall, I really liked their food. They serve very good food on weekdays too, while some Indian restaurants here will have good food on weekends but not on weekdays. Great food and this has become one of my top 3 favourite restaurants for Indian food in town.

Disclaimer: I was not paid by anybody for this review. It is the personal opinion of my friends and I. 

Steps to a new reader


Google reader is shutting down and that is sad news. I rely on it to follow a large number of blogs and I do not want a barrage of emails in my inbox updating me about new posts. I am used to it. 

  1. Initially I was in denial. They really can’t be shutting it down.  
  2. Then, I continue using Google Reader because it is shutting down only in July.
  3. I start searching for a new reader and that constitutes reading articles about the alternatives.
  4. I try many of them, see how it looks on a browser. See how it looks on my my iPad. Try the apps they have.
  5. I could not seem to like anything and I went back to Google reader.
  6. Finally, I tried Bloglovin and I am very happy with it. I do not open my Google Reader any more which I used to do when I was trying other apps. You can import all your feeds directly which many other readers are offering because GR is shutting down.

Thanks to the users who suggested Bloglovin on a post here. I am glad I tried it  🙂 

Review: Sweet Cream Suds Barber Shop Soap


It is so difficult to break the inertia of not writing and get down to really writing a blog post, though I am chock block full of blog posts to write. Newton’s laws are true! I really tend to remain in its state of motion/non motion. Anyway, I decided to write a review of this soap as I had pictures with me right now. I got this soap as a gift, because I have not come across this company before. So, here we go!

What: Sweet Cream Suds Goats Milk Barber Shop Soap

Websitehttp://www.sweetcreamsuds.com

About the Company/Products: Conveniently from their website 🙂

Pure & Natural Goat Milk Soap Handmade in Crowell, Texas

Here at Sweet Cream Suds we make pure goat milk soap with 100% fresh goat milk from our own herd of Nubian dairy goats.

Each 4.5oz bar contains one and half ounces of creamy milk.

Each batch is handmade from scratch using the cold process method, which produces a mild and gentle bar of soap.

We use very high quality fragrance oils that are sulfate free. However, if you are  sensitive to fragrance, we do have fragrance free all natural soaps.

Ingedients include Fresh Goat Milk, Shea Butter, and Saponified Oils of Olive, Coconut, & Castor, pthalate free fragrance oils and some bars contain natural botanicals such as blueberry seeds, ground oatmeal, clay, or raw honey.

Paraben and Sulfate Free

This company is a one woman show, local business started in 2009 and photos of cute kids and goats on their website adds to their appeal in my eyes.

Ingredients: Fresh goats milk, Natural fats and saponified oils of olive, avocado,safflower and coconut, contains essential oils and fragrance. (This was written down from the wrapping on the soap).
Nothing I have problems with.

Notes of Italian Bergamot, Garden Basil, Oakmoss, Patchouli.

Barbers Shop Ingredients
Price: 6.50 USD

For USA, the price is comparable to lot of other organic/natural soaps but it is still considered expensive for 1 soap by most people considering how cheap the mass manufactured chemical versions are. For someone interested in natural cosmetics, I believe it is a good deal because soaps last you for a decent period of time.

Packaging: Simple paper around the soap. No plastic wrapping. Eco friendly. 

Sweet Cream Suds Barber Shop Soap
Smell: Lovely and awesome. Reminded uncle of his Grandma and home, so he got this soap but not before I managed to take pictures and try it twice for review 🙂

Feel: Rich, creamy feeling, not oily, not drying on skin, lathers very well (isn’t that a major complaint about natural soaps/shampoos? That they do not lather well). So feels great.

Overall: I love it but uncle loves it more, so he got to use it. I am glad we discovered this company by chance because of the gift and would love to try out the other flavors in the future.

Disclaimer: This review is entirely my own  and true opinion and was not sponsored by anybody including Sweet Cream Suds. It was a personal gift and not a gift for review purposes.
 

Edited to Add: This soap is really hard to obtain out of USA. Do take note that this is a one-woman store and  only small batches are made. Like many small scale US sellers,this store does not bother about international buyers  and I can’t get a response out of the shop when I am willing to pay for shipping. Also, a lot of the soaps are out of stock last time I checked. So a big minus for availability and service.