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, 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.