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Monday, September 10, 2012

UK 2012 - Bicester, Milton Keynes & Bibury

A cottage in Bibury
After Wiltshire we drove to Milton Keynes to stay with my cousin for a couple of days. We stopped by Bicester on the way there. Unfortunately it was the Jubilee weekend so Bicester was absolutely packed. There was no parking so we had to park in an open car park and took a feeder bus to Bicester. It was actually very convenient. We didn't stay long though. It was raining and cold, so we had something to eat, then drove to Milton Keynes.




Trout sandwiches
Baked potato with trout



Trout fishcake

Milton Keynes is a very nice place to live, and has some great shops, but nothing much to do in terms of tour-isty things. So my cousin drove us to Bibury, about 2 hours drive from Milton Keynes. Bibury is absolutely beautiful. It has lots of quaint cottages (also under the national trust) and a trout farm which is very popular with local visitors and tourists. They have a cafe serving the trout they farm, so we had trout sandwich, trout fishcake and baked potato with trout. Everything was yummy, and Little H even finished off his fishcake. The farm itself is a nice place to spend the day with the family. You can buy fish food and feed the trout or you can buy fresh trout and barbecue there or catch your own trout which you also had to clean yourself.


Feeding the trout

Scenery at the farm
After the trout farm we took a walk around the village to have a look at the the cottages and the gardens. It was cloudy and a bit nippy, so we bundled up in the car and drove back to Milton Keynes after a couple of hours.

My cousin brought us to some really good restaurants while in Milton Keynes, one of them is Frankie and Bennys and American/Italian style restaurant which serve really good burgers. A must try if you happen to chance upon one of their restaurants.

We drove back to London the next day. We expected some delays due to the Jubilee weekend. But luckily for us there was not much traffic so we were in London within an hour. All in all, our first road trip to the country went really well. I must say it's mostly because the GPS was really good. We got to where we wanted to go without much problem. And we're looking forward to doing it again.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Ramadhan 2012

Selamat Menyambut Ramadhan to all the Muslims. We've finished the first week and my tummy is adjusting slowly. So far I've managed not too gorge and I've been quite disciplined about drinking enough water at night and at sahur. Although I do snack a little before I go to sleep, but I think I need the extra carbs and protein to help me sleep.

I've also started exercising a little so my body doesn't get too lazy. I usually start around 6.30pm for half an hour. Then a quick shower and I'm ready to break fast. Nothing too strenuous though, usually some yoga or a short jog or walk on the treadmill.

Food-wise, I'm trying to eat more vegetables and fruits. Not too easy if you see what my family eats for buka - rendang, masak lemak, steaks, satay and lot and lots of kuih. 
My family also has a relatively large sahur. We have sausages and eggs, beef cutlets, home-made cheeseburgers, pancakes with maple syrup and bananas.  I've also gotten into the habit of having a glass of low fat chocolate milk to up my protein intake. I don't have any photos of sahur since we're all so dead tired.



 

UK Trip 2012 - Urchfont, Wiltshire

Uphill Cottage from the back garden

View from our room - gorgeous!
Wiltshire is located to the west of London and it took us around two and a half hours to get there from Windsor. We took a leisurely drive since it was mostly on small country roads that we were unfamiliar with. The scenery was beautiful, it was all rolling green fields dotted with sheep. We passed a few villages with really nice, quaint cottages. My Uncle's family lives in a village called Urchfont, in Uphill Cottage, which was more than a 100 years old. We were given a small but very comfortable bedroom and attached bathroom. They had just renovated the cottage, so while the outside looks quite old, the inside was full of modern amenities. We also had very good food there, my aunt did most of the cooking, or maybe it was the country air making us extra hungry, I don't know. But we ate very well.





View from Salisbury Plain

They first place they took us to was the Salisbury Plain, a large chalk plateau, which has quite a bit of history of you want to Wiki it http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Salisbury_Plain, but now it's used as an army training area, and has trails for walks and mountain biking.


Oakrith Wood
Next my Uncle drove us to Oakrith Wood. It's a beautiful, very peaceful piece of woodland where the villagers fell trees and chop up wood for winter. I didn't think people did that anymore with gas heaters being cleaner and easier to maintain nowadays, but I was wrong. I did learn a few things though. Chopped wood can't be used immediately. It is left in the forest for almost a year to 'season', only then it's taken and used as firewood in winter. So they have a schedule and it's very community based where everyone pitches in and makes sure that only mature trees are felled and they are very strict about safety.
Lacock Village

Lacock Abbey
The next day we visited Lacock Abbey which is located in the village of Lacock. We were told the abbey was used to film a few scenes in the Harry Potter: The Chamber of Secrets. The village itself still looks like it's in the 13th century and is a TV and film location. It's very picturesque and being under the National Trust, the owners are not allowed to make any changes to their houses. So if you take away the cars, you might think you're in medieval times.

We stayed only for two nights in Uphill cottage, but there were many other things to do in the area. Bath and Stonehenge are just a short drive away. And being in the country, there are many activities such as walks, visits to museums, shopping and good ol' English food to try.




Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Meatpoint TTDI

Meatpoint is a new steak restaurant in Taman Tun Dr Ismail (TTDI) and I'm really happy that we've got a steak restaurant just walking distance from our house.

We went for dinner, there was quite a good crowd, at least four tables considering it was their first week. Their menu is limited (no desserts!) but it may be temporary. For now they have steaks, including wagyu, salmon, pastas, salads and drinks. I shared a ribeye steak with my mom, hubby also had ribeye, my brother had  a T-bone, while my sis-in-law had a tenderloin. My nieces shared a Spaghetti Bolognese.

They have a system whereby all the steaks and salmon are wrink-wrapped with the price and weight on it and placed in a chiller in the restaurant , you then choose your steak and sides. Each steak comes with a choice of salad or steamed or stir-fried veggies and either mashed potatoes or french fries. The steaks were cooked perfectly and my only complaint was that they used instant mashed potatoes. I prefer real potatoes, mashed with butter and milk, can't stand the powdered versions. I also tasted the kids' bolognese and it was very good, one of the best I've tasted.

It's located along Jalan Burhanuddin Helmi, Taman Tun Dr Ismail.

UK Trip 2012 - Legoland and Windsor

Legoland indoor pool area
 We rented a car for our road trip and Legoland, Windsor was our first stop. All I can say is that my son wished he lived there. We booked a pirate-themed room and it was gorgeous! Everything was decked out as if we were in a pirate ship. The best part about the room? There's a designated kids area with a bunk bed and a trundle bed so up to three kids and two adults can stay in one room. They even have a box of Lego for the kids to play with.
The Star Wars experience
 Since we arrived early and couldn't get our room yet, we spent most of the day in the theme park. The rides were appropriate for little ones, and had some more exciting rides for bigger kids. We kept to the more sedate ones. It was just too cold to to try rides which splashed water on us, but it looked like loads of fun though. They also had an amazing exhibition called the Star Wars experience where they built Lego models of memorable Star Wars scenes, I think I enjoyed that more than my son.


Resort entrance

Parents' bed
 
We had lunch in the park, but decided to go for dinner in Windsor town. We chose a fairly decent looking pub and I had a really nice and crispy Fish & Chip with Mushy Peas which I shared with my son, while hubby had a Salmon Fishcake, also quite nice.
The hotel is connected directly to the theme park

Room corridor











Children's bunk bed
In Windsor town
Enjoying the ride



My son also did quite a lot of shopping in the Lego shop here. He managed to save up quite a bit so I let him go a little crazy. I think he had a whole suitcase full of Lego which we had to lug back home.


Feeding the ducks and swans
After spending a very comfortable night at the hotel, again, we decided to just go to Windsor town for breakfast. The resort had a nice restaurant with a buffet, but it was slightly pricey and I don't fancy eating in a restaurant full of very, very loud, excitable children. We spent a few hours in Windsor town. We had breakfast then walked around a bit. We didn't go into Windsor castle but managed to catch the parade for the changing of the guards. Then went down to the river to feed the ducks and swans. After a toilet break we started our journey to Wiltshire, where my Uncle lives. It would take us around two hours. There were a couple of bad accidents on the highway so we took it slow.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

UK Trip 2012 - London



I recently went to the UK during my son's school holidays. This time around we took Qatar Airways. I liked their service and their food. They were friendly and kept feeding us, I think I've never felt so full on a plane before, they were very generous with the meals and luckily it also tasted good. We arrived quite late at night, but the next day we were off to the London Comic Convention. We loved it. They had games, sci-fi/movie/comic celebrities, comics, merchandise and lots and lots of people in all sorts of costumes. I could have just sat there and watched the people coming and going.

Cosplay @ London Comic Con

Lots of Stormtroopers around

London Comic Con
We already planned to meet up with our Sifu (who taught us Qi gong) who happened to be in London around the same time, and had dinner in Satay House. They absolutely loved it. I have to agree with them that Satay House's food is a lot better than even some restaurants in Malaysia. They were quite impressed with the quality of the food, I was just happy they enjoyed it. We also hosted some of hubby's friends there too.

As for me and hubby, we didn't want to eat too much Malaysian food, so we ate mostly at Pret A Manger, EAT, Jamie's Italian Kitchen, Carluccio's and even tried a Mexican Restaurant at Westfield London called Wahaca which had really good Fish Tacos and Beef Burritos.

Sea Bream @ Jamie's

Seafood Risotto @ Jamie's

Jamie's Italian Burger @ Jamie's
Suffice to say, I gained a bit of weight in my two weeks there. We even managed to try a new Malaysian restaurant called Pak Awie. Their presentation and menu is very impressive, but Satay House beats them hands down in terms of food quality. I know I'm biased, but I still feel Satay House food is way better. 


Crayfish & Avocado Salad @ Pret

Bruschetta @ Carluccio's
Malaysian food @ Pak Awie













It looks like all we did was eat, which is true, but we did get some shopping done which annoyed my son a little. But he managed to get plenty of toys, thanks to his grandparents and grand-aunts and uncles who gave him some pounds to spend.

We decided to spend the Jubilee weekend outside London, so we made plans to go to Legoland in Windsor, then visit my Uncle in Wiltshire, lastly we'd drop by and see my cousin in Milton Keynes. It's a bit much for one posting, so I'll continue in another post.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Train in KL, 16th June 2012

I've just come back from the UK and had a really great trip. Icing on the cake? Found out Train would be performing in KL on Saturday, 16th June 2012. Managed to get tickets for me and hubby last minute. It was held at KL Live. I've never been there before so didn't really know which areas had the best view of the stage. KL Live is split into two levels, with the stage being quite high. I got the tickets for the 'chill out zone' they call it. It was on the top level. It wasn't too bad as they had tiered standing areas (yeah, KL Live is standing only) so you wouldn't be blocked by anyone, unless they're exceptionally tall.

Train was awesome live. Pat Monahan sounds fantastic live, he's got a great voice, and he seemed like a pretty nice guy. They played all my favourite train songs from Virginia to Soul Sister and Drive By. Of course they saved the best for last, playing Drops of Jupiter towards the end. All the band members even signed a guitar and gave it to an audience member, that was really cool of them to do that.

Unfortunately the show was marred by a few things, mostly the slipshot way it was organised. Firstly, there were children there who were obviously below the age of seven. I think it's illegal since KL Live has a bar which serves alcohol. Also it's a little dangerous to bring little children where people might be dancing and/or even shoving each other for space. There was even a couple who brought two children and inconsiderately plonked them on the same platform as the light engineers, not only putting the kids near electrical wires and the spotlight, but also obstructing the view of people standing behind them.

My second beef with TuneTalk, whom were the organisers, were the number of spaces for their so-called VIP customers. This did not leave much space for the true fans. Not only was the front of the stage reserved for TuneTalk customers, they even took up space on the second level, which was not even stated in the concert details. I've been to quite a few concerts in Malaysis and overseas and to me, TuneTalk sponsored concerts are just one big marketing event, it's not a true concert for the fans.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Immunity Boost

Has it been that long? Time sure does fly. Unfortunately I've been dead tired looking after my hubby and son the past month or so. Little H had fever a few weeks ago and had to miss a few days of school. Hubby came down with chills and a bad cough about six weeks ago and has been trying to get rid of the cough for at least 5 weeks. I myself had two bouts of cough and cold, but was very fortunate that it lasted just a few days. We've been more careful about using antibiotics nowadays with all the antibiotic resistant bacteria/viruses that are now more prevalent.

I've started using olive leaf extract as sort of an antibiotic replacement. Some websites I've read says it's a good anti-viral/anti-bacterial, and so far it's worked for me. Though nothing beats a good nights sleep, of course. I don't force myself to work or work out anymore if I'm ill. I used to push myself thinking that only weaklings take to their bed, but now forget it. If I feel off, I lock my door, draw the curtains and try to get some rest. With the kids screaming and people calling up, it doesn't really help but even a 10 minute nap does help. Especially when you only get 6-7 hours a night, which I think most people do.

Another immunity booster that we use is Airborne, it's a mixture of vitamins and herbs which boost your immunity. You take it when you start feeling a bit off. You can read more about it here www.airbornehealth.com. It's only available in the United States and Canada, so if you have someone travelling to those places, perhaps you can ask them to bring back some to try.

We've also tried Echinacea, also a known immunity booster and recently Black Seed Oil, usually found in shops selling middle eastern items/products. I used it for cough and found it was quite effective. if you do want to try herbs and other alternative meds, do keep in mind - never, never overdose because most would not have any formal studies done on them, keep to the recommended dosages. Also try to read up as much as you can, especially on known side effects and contraindications.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Acme Bar & Coffee (ABC)


My brother-in-laws birthday is also in March. So, we were invited by his girlfriend for dinner at Acme Bar & Café (supposedly those in the know call it ABC) located at the Troika apartments near KLCC. The restaurant had very large windows giving it nice views across the street. We were sitting on the upper floor which gave our party a little privacy. The interiors were modern, with metal frames on the windows and wooden floors. The furniture was simple with cushioned chairs and wooden tables. Modern and classy, if I were to sum it up.

We arrived on time, but everyone else was running late, so we ordered a started first since I was starving. I ordered the Grilled Zucchini and Ricotta. I loved that dish. It was a little cold in the restaurant so the warm zucchini with a tomato sauce base with creamy ricotta on top really hit the spot. When everyone got there, they decided to order a few starters to share, so I tried the Lemongrass Shrimp Wontons, which was alright; the Salt Egg Yolk Chicken Strips, crispy and slightly spicy and the Grilled "Bacon" Wrapped Snails, which were wrapped in bacon and cooked with coco beans (looks like lentils to me) and a parsley garlic sauce and surprisingly very nice.

For mains I had the Roasted Dover Sole in a lemon butter sauce which they served with sautéed lettuce and artichokes. It was nice, but nothing mind-blowing. Hubby ordered the Beef Bourguignon, and it was superb. It’s basically a French style stew, with a red wine reduction, so we ordered some sourdough bread to go with it. The sauce was lovely and the beef was so tender it was falling off, making it easy to eat with the bread.

My brother-in-law ordered the Wagyu Burger in Man Tau bread. I didn’t taste it, but hubby did and he wasn’t too impressed with it. Everyone else ordered steaks, I had steak for lunch so didn’t want to overload on meat that day. No one had any complaints about the steak, but someone did send back her steak because it wasn’t cooked well enough. Other than that, no complaints.  

We had a Choc Chip Chocolate cake for the Birthday cake, so all of us had that for dessert and ordered coffee or tea. The cake was chocolat-y and crunchy, and had the most delicious crust. Unfortunately they sliced it too large, and I couldn’t finish it so it was a bit of a waste. But all in all, a nice evening out with good food and good company.



Thursday, March 15, 2012

Gobo Upstairs


It was my husband’s birthday last week, so I decided we should try Gobo Upstairs Lounge & Grill in Traders Hotel since I’ve read good reviews about it. There we were, all dressed up and ready to go and it starts pouring bucket-loads of rain. Alright, we thought it would die down, so we went ahead to town. Well, it started raining even more, and it started flooding in a few places. We even had to avoid a floating plastic road barrier. It was like we were sailing through KL. I was just really grateful that our car engine didn’t die on us. The amount of water we went through was just unbelievable.

Anyway, back to the subject at hand: birthday dinner. We reached the hotel in one piece, thank God. Proceeded to the sixth floor. Gobo Upstairs is a bar and grill, so expect steaks, ribs and such. However they were having a Taste New Zealand promotion for the whole month of May, where they served beef, lamb and seafood sourced from New Zealand. So we didn’t get to try the normal menu, instead they had a special set menu plus limited ala carte items.

We chose the ala carte option and started off with the Lamb Loin Salad and Clam Chowder. The lamb in the salad was perfectly done, it was tender, juicy and melts in your mouth, coupled with some salad greens and light dressing, it was a perfect start to the meal. The Clam Chowder was creamy, yet not too thick as to fill you up too much. I’m not a big fan of mussels, but the Green Lipped Mussels that they used in the chowder were really good and fresh. This soup was so appropriate on such a cold and rainy night.

For mains, hubby had the Grilled Tenderloin which he requested to be well-done. I would have preferred it medium-well, but even though it was cooked well-done and slightly crispy on the outside, it was still tender and juicy, with a really beefy flavour (since tenderloin doesn’t have a lot of fat).

I had the Grilled Sea Bream, which I was a little apprehensive about since some fish can too ‘fishy’ for me. But it was good, with a nice lemony buttery sauce, sautéed asparagus and fried potatoes.

For dessert we shared the Granny Smith Apple Strudel with Cinnamon Ice Cream and Vanilla Sauce. In my opinion, it’s just another Apple Strudel, but the addition of the Cinnamon Ice-cream made it a little more special.

Luckily, it had stopped pouring when we finished, but there was a slight drizzle, so we went back through the Duke Highway. The next morning, the papers were full of stories of flooding in town and the surrounding suburbs. I quickly got together some of my son’s old clothes and shoes for some kids that had lost most of their stuff in the floods. Hopefully all those people affected by the floods have received the necessary assistance needed.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Steaks


I’m hungry at the moment so I’m going to talk about food. Specifically, steaks. I sometimes have this craving for a really good steak almost every month, so we splurge a bit because you just can’t beat a well-cooked steak.

My number one restaurant for steaks has to be Las Vacas. They are butchers and restaurateurs. Good steaks at very reasonable prices. My only beef (pun intended) with them is that their Mont Kiara branch doesn’t serve dessert. I love their chocolate mousse dessert and I have to go to Kelana Jaya to get it. But other than that, I really have no complaints. I usually have a Black Angus ribeye medium well, but I also like the lamb cutlets and burgers. The steaks are usually served with garlic bread and salad. I’m also happy they’re serving roast potatoes as a side dish as well now, before this they only had french fries and garlic bread.

Another all-time favourite is Jake’s. We usually go to the restaurant in Damansara Heights. They have the best nachos and potato skins. No other restaurant comes close. Their steaks are excellent and always cooked perfectly and come with a salad, steamed vegetables, corn and baked potatoes or french fries. Another reason come here is their nut brittle, caramel-ly, rich, nutty, toffee-ish all at the same time. Your visit will not be complete without the nut brittle, trust me. Unfortunately, their prices have gone up the past few years, and a dinner for two will set you back around RM200+. So we usually go there only for special occasions like birthdays and anniversaries. It’s kind of noisy as the staff will sing Happy Birthday to customers who are celebrating and there’s at least one customer celebrating their birthday on any night of the week there, and you get a free brownie.

The most expensive steak restaurant we’ve been to has to be Prime in Le Meridien Kuala Lumpur. Luckily my brother-in-law paid. The steaks there are sourced from the best suppliers around the world. I had Argentinian beef and it really melts in your mouth. Definitely the most amazing steak I’ve tasted. But the steaks come by itself, any salad, potatoes, bread or other condiments have to be ordered separately. I’m used to my steaks coming with potatoes, salad and some corn even, but not here and this is where your bill goes higher and higher. It’s also not somewhere your kids can run around, it’s elegant and quiet. It’s nice for a romantic dinner.

If we’re eating at home, we’ll usually buy some steaks from the Las Vacas butcher and grill it ourselves. We’ll also make some baked potatoes, salad and steamed vegetables to complete the meal.
 





Friday, February 24, 2012

ME time!

I had such a wonderful day yesterday. I started the day with some yoga because I had gone for a walk in the park the day before and my muscles were a bit stiff. So after a good session my body felt so much better, all stretched and less stiff.

My mother agreed to fetch little H from school so I could meet my husband for lunch in KLCC. He was attending a course nearby at the convention centre. Since I was early I decided to browse Kinokuniya. I just absolutely love Kino. I could spend hours there, and I did just that. They have a good selection of books but I usually go there for their children's books and (I just discovered) they have lots of trashy romance novels too. I ended up getting some books for myself and little H.

Then it was lunch at the lounge in Mandarin Oriental. It costs a bomb to eat there but the food is good and I love the hot chocolate. Also we don't get to do it much, kind of a little treat for both of us. We spent about two hours just talking and taking our time over our meal. It was nice to spend the afternoon relaxing together.


Suffice to say, I went back home with a smile on my face

Potatoes


I’ve just finished 12 sessions of personal training which nearly killed me and guess what? I gained 2 kgs. Everyone says it’s muscle, hah! I think it’s my tummy. I’ve got terrible weakness for potatoes, you name it, I like it. Boiled, fried, roasted, mashed, chips, crisps and well, you get what I mean.

Potatoes are comfort food and nothing says comfort more than a hot baked potato, seasoned with salt, pepper and a little butter, sprinkled with cheddar cheese then topped with a dollop of sour cream. I remembered having a baked potato during winter on one of our visits to London when I was younger. It was from a little food van parked near a side road near Covent Garden. The potatoes were hot and steaming, and the butter and cheese were soft and melting nicely into the potato. So, so good on a cold winter day. I’ve tweaked my baked potato toppings so that it’s healthier. Nowaday I use mature cheddar so I won’t use so much to get the same flavour and I’ve swapped the sour cream with plain yogurt. I also like it topped with some Bolognese sauce and baked beans. It adds more protein so I can actually have it as a meal if I add some salad or steamed veg. 

I also make good mashed potatoes, as my son and nieces will attest. Forget the packet ones or the instant powders. You just need Russet potatoes, butter, salt, milk and a strong arm. Boil the potatoes in water with a little salt until soft. Then empty the water out into a bowl (I use it to add more liquid if the mash is too dry). Add butter and milk, then start mashing. I used to use a potato ricer, but I didn’t really like the texture. When I mash by hand, it brings out more of the starch which makes it softer and fluffier. I usually go by taste, but with one kilogram of potatoes, I tend to finish off a block of butter, 3 cups of milk, 2 teaspoons of salt and some of the potato water. It tastes soft, creamy but slightly lumpy (because it’s handmade), buttery and salty. Serve it hot with a protein like steaks, chicken or fish and a salad or steamed veggies. I also use it in my Shepherd’s Pie recipe.

Potatoes are a good source of vitamins, minerals and fibre, especially if you cook it with the skin on. But everything in moderation though and I am going for the healthier versions, roasted, baked or boiled instead of fried, but sometimes you just want to be naughty and tuck into a hot packet of McDonalds chips, which I do have once in a blue moon. I’ll just have to log on more hours on the rowing machine if I do.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Penang Trip 2012


Since hubby was off for City Day (1st Feb), I asked him to take Thursday and Friday off as well so we could take a trip to Penang. The last time we went was two years ago for a wedding and we didn’t get to see much of Penang. My aunt came along, though she flew. And my cousin and her family joined us a day later.

Hard Rock Hotel
This time we stayed at the Hard Rock Hotel (HRH) in Batu Ferringhi. The main reason was so little H could have some fun. We booked a hillview room (read: not much of a view). The room was modern and clean and had enough space for the three of us even after they put in an extra bed. Little H also loved the Li’l Rock Kids Club. It’s basically a place where parents can drop off their kids and they arrange activities like swimming, games, movies, dancing etc. Little H just went there to throw a ball around since he was too busy playing with his cousins and going out to actually take part in any activities.

HRH also has a really fun pool area for kids with 3 slides and lots of water spraying apparatus’. They even have an area with some sand so it feels like you’re on the beach or swimming in the sea. Even I had fun at the pool area. Hubby and I took turns playing with Little H while the other uses the gym. The gym workout was in anticipation of all the food we were going to eat, hopefully it helped.

We were quite pleased that we managed to try most of the food that we wanted to try. Thank God for GPS or we wouldn’t have found some of the places we wanted to get to. First we tried the Gurney Drive hawker centre. Lots of stalls selling all manner of hawker food. Tried the satay, asam laksa, char koay teow and some ikan bakar as well. Not too impressed with the food, but it was a good start. Overrated or perhaps we just didn’t go to the correct stall?

Bangkok Lane Mee Goreng
The next day we tried the Bangkok Lane Mee Goreng. It was one of the best mee goreng I’ve tasted. It’s cooked wetter than the normal mee goreng with lots of ‘sotong’ giving it a really distinctive flavour. I love mine with a squeeze of lime juice since I like it a little tangy. After that we brought my aunt to get her jeruk (fermented fruits) near Chowrasta Market. That night we decided to have seafood, so hubby’s relatives (Penangites) brought us to Teluk Tempoyak, all the way across the island near Bayan Lepas. It was a small, out-of-the-way food court selling fresh seafood by the sea. I chose grilled fish and prawns from one stall, then sweet and sour fish, steamed cockels and clams cooked with ginger from another stall. It’s more of a Malay style of cooking instead of Chinese style seafood. The food was cooked simply and served with steamed rice and sambal belacan. It was really some of the freshest seafood I’ve tasted. Even the kids enjoyed the food and wolfed down the ikan bakar and clams.

Tropical Spice Garden
The next day we went to the Tropical Spice Garden. It's eight acres of secondary jungle where you can "Explore over 500 varieties of tropical flora specially selected from all over the world. Divided into 3 designated trails, landscaped on natural jungle terrain, each trail offers sufficient interest for a 20-45 minute walk" (www.tropicalspicegarden.com). They also have a cooking school and gift shop. The kids thought it was a big adventure walking the trails and trying to find their way around using the map. Everyone ended up all hot and sweaty, so we headed for drinks at the Tree Monkey Restaurant there which had some very interesting food choices and drink concoctions. Since we were thinking of having char koay teow for lunch we decided to have some drinks and went off. We were looking for a halal char kuay teow stall but couldn’t find it. Since everyone was already starving we headed to Nando’s at Gurney Plaza.

Teochew Chendol
Asam Laksa
We were not too satisfied with lunch so off we went to look for the famous Teochew Chendol. Using Google Maps we managed to find the stall, which was off Penang Road in a small lane. We had Chendol and also Asam Laksa and Rojak Buah. It was a really good end to the day. After that, no one could have dinner so we just ordered pizza for the kids at HRH.

The next day was our last day so not much to do except have a nice leisurely breakfast, check out by noon and head back to KL. As usual we stopped at the Ulu Bernam R&R to get our fill of Tanjung Malim pau.

All in all, everyone had a really great time. Good hotel, good company and excellent food throughout the trip.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Not Guilty!

No, I haven't been up to no good, it's the title for the current Comedy Court show that I managed to catch on 6th February 2012. This was my first comedy show of 2012 and it was hilarious. I've seen them once last year and thought they were extremely funny (of course) and witty. Nothing was spared by Alan Perera and Indi Nadarajah, Chinese, Indians and Malays, NFC, corruption, politics and they even had us laughing out loud in their (rather crude) skit on the Obedient Wives Club.

I managed to catch their last show at PJLA, however they did mention extra shows later in February so if you're interested in laughing till there are tears in your eyes, check out www.pjla.com.my or comedycourt.com.my for their latest shows.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

New year, New Gym, New Workouts

I've signed up for 12 personal training sessions, and after 4 sessions, I think it was definitely worth the money. It seems I've got 32% body fat (not good) and my lower body is weaker than the top. My trainer has got me doing kickboxing, squats, ab work, TRX (really interesting) and loads of cardio which I hate but a necessity. After each training I feel like my legs are about to fall off, and yesterday my arms were shaking after a sparring session. 

It's torture, but just goes to show I haven't been pushing myself enough. I've seen 50-something women doing qigong/taichi, lifting weights, walking, running and they have ramrod straight backs and toned muscles. It's possible to keep our bones and muscles strong as we get older, but we've got to put in the work. There is no magic pill or slimming course that'll make us fit and healthy. We don't have to go for hours-long workouts, just consistent activity everyday. It's better than paying loads of money for cholesterol, diabetes, calcium and all sorts of pills for ailments which could have been prevented if only we looked after ourselves from a younger age.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

School Schedule 2012


It’s going into the second week of school and we’re getting used to the new schedule. Little H is only taking Mandarin, Taekwondo and Critical Thinking for his extracurricular classes. I really wanted him to continue with Enopi maths, unfortunately they’ve stopped it for some reason. So we’ve gone with the Critical Thinking. He’ll be in school until 3pm on Mondays and Tuesdays, and will have lunch there as well.
H loves his school lunches. It’s a different way of cooking as compared to the usual stuff we serve him. Bread and curry, noodles with fish balls, pasta and baked beans, he loves them all. If I mention I want to serve it at home, he won’t hear of it. It just tastes better in school, or rather eating with friends make everything tastes better. I've also moved up his dinner to 6.30pm (he usually has it at 5.30pm), that means he has to have a snack around 4pm. Then it's shower at 7pm, storytime and off to bed by 8pm.
This year is preparation year for entering Primary 1 next year, so it’s time to push him a little more. At the moment he doesn’t have a proper homework schedule. It’s more like if we don’t have anything else to do, we’ll do homework. We can’t do that anymore. Unfortunately, getting him to follow a proper schedule is going to result in a lot of tears. He turns on the tap very easily nowadays, and even throws tantrums. It’s difficult to tear him away from TV and toys. Even weaning him off the IPad after the holidays were excruciating, both for him and me. I’m not proud to say that I do scream at the kids, because sometimes it’s the only way to get them to do something. Other times I just resort to simple threats. IF I’m not too angry, I actually try to reason with them. That takes quite a while and a WHOLE LOAD of patience, because children do not listen to reason when they’re tired, angry, sad or even happy for that matter.

We’re planning a trip to Penang in early February, so I’m looking forward to that. In fact, we’ve planned quite a few holidays this year, so, yes, life is good :D

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Happy New Year!


Holidays are over and it’s back to the grind for the kids. As for the parents, it’s back to juggling schedules, driving to and fro school and activities and making sure they do their homework and pass their tests. Easy right? NOT!

I’ve only got one child plus two nieces to look out for and it’s still stressful. Hats off to those moms with more kids. It must be a logistical nightmare to keep everything in check. I can’t even keep track of Hakim’s toys.

This year (as with past years) I do want to be more organised. So far I’ve organised my file cabinet and shredded old documents to reduce the amount of paper I have in my files. I’ve discovered expired insurance policies from 2005, so it was time for some spring cleaning.

I’ve also been revamping my closet, getting rid or giving away old and un-used clothes. I have to accept that there are clothes that don’t fit me anymore (and never will) and some that just isn’t my style anymore. As I grow older, comfort and simplicity are the two most important aspects I look for in clothes. I cannot stand scratchy materials, materials that are too precious and/or over-tight clothes. I look for soft, easy-care materials that fall well on my body.  I go for simple styles since I’m mostly in jeans anyway. But I do spend a bit more on my T-shirts nowadays because I wear them every day and they need to look presentable.

I’m also changing up my fitness regime. I’ve decided to join a gym. As much as I love my current yoga and belly dancing classes, I’m spending way too much. So I’m ‘consolidating’ everything into one gym membership. I’m going to miss my teachers and friends, but it just makes more financial sense for me to join a gym at the moment.

I’ve got more plans in the pipeline for 2012, and am excited in carrying it all out. I’m praying for my enthusiasm and energy to last all the way through 2012 to see it all through. Wishing the same to everyone, Happy New Year!