Aug 22, 2015

11 Of Pets And Pest

It has been my morning ritual to walk outside, admire the plants and breathe in fresh sun-blessed air.

Imagine my surprise at seeing several pak choy leaves with chomp marks one day - in both planter box!

"It couldn't be the snails. They're too little. Plus, buddies don't do this to each other!" I was miffed.

I squinted my eyes to look for my friends to see if any one of them had magically grown in size like Alice In Wonderland.

Then, I saw it. Camouflaged in plain sight. I left Mr. Grasshopper where it was. Perhaps it needed some food before it continued on its way. A high-rise apartment isn't exactly 'home' for a hopping free-spirited pest . A couple of days later, it disappeared as mysteriously as it arrived.

Vegetable Grasshopper on my White-Stemmed Pak Choy

I'm glad it wasn't my friends who did this. We have an understanding. I leave them some food and they party all night in this one corner. My pak choy vegetable is left to flourish in peace.

Meet Anna, Beth and Charlie. Dave is somewhere. It seemed fitting to name them since we've become close chatting buddies, even if the conversation is wholly one-sided. I can't tell them apart. I just know that these are my people and we love chilling in each other's company.

My Buddies Having A Feast

Aug 18, 2015

20 Magnum Ice Cream For Pleasure Seekers

Magnum puts me in a special place of wonderful. I think, "How luxurious the taste!" ♥

These are my three most pleasurable moments with Magnum.

When I brought my aunt to the Magnum Cafe at Mid Valley Megamall, Kuala Lumpur, it was an experience I couldn't forget. We got to choose our own topping. Pistachios, golden crunch pearls and rose petals were our pick. We sat down and savoured every bite of this gorgeous stick of ice cream. Oh, I cannot get it out of my mind how yummy this was.

My Magnum Creation- RM9.90

Magnum Cafe, Mid Valley Megamall

On one of the days my cousin (who flew in for a vacation) was here, I took her and my aunt shopping at 1Utama. We chanced upon a Magnum road show whilst walking about. It was an interesting event with many activities. Guess what we did? ...We headed for the photo booth because we're camera-loving people! 

From left : Me, Cousin, Aunt Having a Bit Of Fun

Finally, and this happened last week. I received a package by courier which contained a limited edition sweatshirt.  It was part of Magnum's Celebrate Chocolate Pleasure promotional campaign.

My blogger friend, Emily, had written about this on her blog. It was there that I read about an online 'Pleasure Hunt' to win exclusive pieces of wear by fashion designer, Dato' Farah Khan. The digital hunt was run using Google street view. It felt like I was actually walking the streets myself as I searched for the prize based on clues Magnum had posted Facebook and Instagram.

Lucky me spotted the Magnum logo, clicked on it and won this piece.

Magnum Pleasure Seekers

I don't eat ice cream all the time. It's something I savour when I need a pick-me-up or when I feel like celebrating something special. So far, Magnum's my favourite.

Do you have a favourite ice cream?

Aug 15, 2015

12 Rain, rain, come again!

How nice to play in the rain when it is without lightning and thunder. I used to do that!


I'll never forget the time when, in my early twenties, a senior citizen, with a twinkle in her eye said to me, "Let's do it." Next thing I knew, we had our yellow raincoats on and we pranced, and laughed under the pour of heavy rain. 

Two days ago, Kuala Lumpur was hit by a thunderstorm. My balcony was flooded with about an inch of rainwater. It brought back memories to when I was a kid. After heavy rain, the grassy field outside would be filled with huge puddles of water. I would make paper boats to play with.

I decided to see if I could remember how to make paper sampans. Except for the last couple of folds, I had almost gotten it all right. I had to turn to Youtube for help!

I think I folded it pretty well.

Paper Sampan

This is my favourite part - to see it float.

Floating Paper Sampan

What's your favourite memory of rain?

Aug 11, 2015

12 A Sunday At The KL City Grand Prix

VrooOoooom! That's how my weekend went. I spent it at a car racing event. Roaring engines give me an adrenaline rush. I fall into this dream state where I imagine I'm Speedy Gonzales. That's about it. Don't mistake me for a car enthusiast. I'm not ..not the kind who memorises car make and the deets on the drivers.

Lamborghini Super Trofeo Asia Series

The KL City Grand Prix had many Kuala Lumpurians who worked in the golden triangle grousing about the road blocks and traffic congestion. I guess the mood would have been better if we had efficient public transportation services. Whilst I sympathised with those who were affected, I was also secretly pleased that the race was this close to home. Haha.

We braved the LRT (Light Rain Transit) to get into the city. Sunday afternoon proved no different than other days. I had expected it to be less crowded. Packed in like sardines, I had one hand on the rail handle and the other on my bag - my eyes keeping a sharp lookout for pickpockets.

We got off at KLCC and walked out to find a good spot to watch the race. After half an hour of surveying, we settled under a bridge outside Wisma Cosway where it was shady. We, as in hubs and I.

Here is a short video of the race where the cars slowed to turn the corner.




Grandstand tickets are priced at RM350 for three days - steep!

Grandstand
The scene.

Hospitality Club

And how was your weekend?

Aug 5, 2015

18 Royal Floria Putrajaya Festival 2015


Every middle of the year, a little corner of Putrajaya is transformed into a garden paradise. Beautiful landscaping, creative planting, competitions, handicrafts, garden supplies, souvenirs, food and live performances bring the place alive with feelings of wonderment and excitement. One word describes Floria Putrajaya - 'happening!'

Visitors come from afar and the place is packed on weekends. The best time for a quiet walkabout would be to come on a week day.

Floria Putrajaya 2015

I paid a nominal price to enter the site. The stroll along the walkway took more time than I intended because it was hard not to stop and admire the flowers.

Flowers Along The Walkway

It was very thoughtful of festival organisers to leave name tags identifying the plants and flowers around.

Painted Nettle Name Tag

Interesting landscaping ideas fill every corner of the festival. Taman Kufi Perbadanan Putrajaya won the Outstanding Garden Award in the Special Garden category. This was one of my favourites.

Taman Kufi Perbadanan Putrajaya

I thought that Taman DiRaja Negeri Sembilan was quite beautiful too. It's neat and very local. My family has a similar gazebo built in our garden back in my hometown.

Taman DiRaja Negeri Sembilan

Other competitions such as the Dining Room Design, Innovative Wall Art and more were held indoors.

Venise Bee from Singapore won the Gold award for the Princess' Headwear category. This is her entry - Enigmatic Empress of the Gold Sands. A beautiful piece.

Venise Bee - Gold Award Princess' Headwear

With flowers come many shutterbugs. There was just so much to snap. This shutterbug was no different. Below are some pictures to give you an idea what this festival is all about.

1) Flowers to feast your eyes on.

Royal Floria Putrajaya 2015

2) Landscaping ideas.

A Landscape Design By Majlis Perbandaran Johor Bahru Tengah

3) Creative gardening.

A Design By MBPJ

4) A glimpse into the art of floral designing.

Designed By Rudy T. Mintarto (Indonesia)

5) Supplies that will excite any avid gardener.

Gardening Supplies At Royal Floria Putrajaya Festival 2015

That's that on my walkabout at our annual flower festival which ran from May 30 to June 7 this year. Are you marking your calendar to attend next year's? I am!

Jul 14, 2015

22 Bookfest Malaysia 2015


Me At The Entrance Holding My Pass
The internet age has often left me wondering if books, I mean the printed ones, will go the way of radio cassettes or VHS tapes.

But every time I go to a book fair, I am consoled by the crowded scene that shows 'maybe not in my lifetime'. It's amazing to see people dragging huge travel bags into the hall intending to bring home a good haul of books.

BookFest Malaysia by Popular Book Store is on from July 11 to 19 at KLCC. There's an entry fee of RM2.50. We paid for a pair of tickets and were given additional ones which can be used from the 14th onwards. This means that we can go again coming weekend, for free!

However, I think I've gotten enough books to last me until the next book fair. All of it, unashamedly, cookbooks. There's something about propping myself up on a bed of pillows and pouring through a ton of food pictures - akin to a day at a book spa. If there is such a spa.

Upon paying the tickets, we (I was here with the family) received a catalogue along with a discount voucher.

Receipt For Our Purchases and BookFest Catalogue

This is the scene at the English books corner (picture below). What attracted me was the offer to Buy 2 books for RM10 and the Buy 3 books at RM10 each! It's a great bargain even if there weren't many titles to choose from.

The great thing about this fest is really the huge collection of Chinese books that are on sale. I was impressed. If you love Chinese books, then this is one exhibition you wouldn't want to miss! 

BookFest Malaysia 2015

These are books my aunt and I got for ourselves. The hardcover copies of Rachel's Everyday only cost me RM5 each. I'm saving these for a giveaway.

The Books We Got!

I find Herbs and Pork Appetit to be a rather engaging read, having flipped through the books more than a couple of times now.

If you're into books, then make your way to this exhibition which is happening right now. There's a chance you may even meet your favourite author. Yup, there are workshops and forums. Plus a little something for stationery lovers.


Jul 7, 2015

20 Please Make Up My Room ... and nothing else!

My jaw dropped, and then I laughed! This Make-Up-My-Room hanging sign had me in stitches.

"Gosh, what was she doing down there?" It looked like a person on the bed was cringing in fear.

Please make up my room and nothing else!


I count this as one of the little things that made my stay at Prescott Hotel Kajang interesting and memorable.

Have you seen any cringe-worthy hanging door signs like these?

Jul 4, 2015

18 KL Big Kitchen Festival 2015 - Loved it, but GrRrr!



The KL Big Kitchen Festival, an initiative under the Kuala Lumpur tourism master plan, was launched in May at Dataran Merdeka. The event lasted three days. I was thrilled to know that it will be an annual affair, and am so excited that I cannot wait to see what they have in store next year!

The sun was bright and punishing on the Sunday morning I was there.

"Phew! Boy, I wished there were drink stalls scattered across the field," as I imagined sipping on a a cold Teh O drink. 

I loved the whole festival set-up. It was neat, dreamy with large white tents, and a lot of details going into the design of the area, both indoors and outdoors. There is an air of good clean fun.

Entrance to KL Big Kitchen and Entry Tickets

The activities they have planned will excite anyone who loves food. Cooking demos by celebrity chefs and workshops for those preferring a hands-on experience. Check out the programme below.

Cooking Demo

My favourite corner is the heritage corner. I marveled at the many traditional dishes that are losing presence to the convenience of modern cooking. It made me admire our ancestors - how they toiled to cook a delicious meal for the family. Here I am, armed with electrical appliances that does the work with one press of a button and yet you will still hear me grumble about how much work cooking involves!

I headed to the tent where there seemed to be more life. Yes, it was a surprisingly quiet food festival. Was I 10am too early?  It's quite unlike food-loving Malaysians not to flock here at all hours considering the full crowd we had at Floria Putrajaya. Maybe we are more the avid gardener than we thought.

KL Big Kitchen Festival - Tents and Outdoor Seating Areas

KL Big Kitchen Festival - From another angle

When I realised that the big open tent housed stalls that feature food from each state in Malaysia, I strode to the Sabah stall with pride. Pride which soon deflated at seeing two bleary eyed food assistants slouched on chairs.

My eyes skipped over the plate of 'Hinava', I raised my eyebrows and cursed inwardly at the organisers for appointing people who had no idea how spirited Sabahans were, to man the stall.

A "Bah, try this lah! YeeeEEee..eh!" would have been a great reflection. I'm just being funny!

State Specialties

Whilst I enjoyed my walkabout tremendously, I felt there was room for improvement in the following areas as well - from promoting the event, staffing and food variety.

Promotional efforts. With so many celebrity chefs on board, it seemed ridiculous (to me at least) that the crowd was not on record breaking levels. It was too low key. I cannot help but feel that more should have been done to advertise the festival.

Festival guides. There is a need for festival guides to make the place inviting. They could provide visitors with information on what's happening there and then. I had no idea what was going on in the heritage corner. It was quiet except for a few people. The food trucks were tucked away in mystery land. I felt like I was a spy stepping into a hush secret meeting every time I opened the door to the covered tent.

Food Variety. I shed tears at seeing the fruit stall. Really. I say bring the pasar malam fruit vendors in! And local delicacies? Nothing compared to our vibrant Ramadhan Bazaars.

The Manisan tent had so much possibilities.
Other than the putu bambu stall, I wish I had seen local treats like puteri mandi, badak berendam, kuih dangai, kuih akok and kuih jelurut, just to name a few. Perhaps I was early and the stalls have yet to roar. That said, should they not be ready by opening time? We have so much to offer when it comes to sweet snacks. 

KL Big Kitchen Festival - Inside the Tents

KL Big Kitchen Festival - Inside Another Tent

For me, the best part of the food festival was the cooking demos and workshops. It was well organised and most vibrant. Although I wasn't one of the participants, I felt the energy from their laughter and the chefs' genuine desire to share their knowledge with us. I may have missed the boat this year, but I'll be sure to sign up for the next one!


Jun 16, 2015

20 An Evening At Merdekarya

My cousin, Genie Wong (whom I call Gen), was here for an open mic session at Merdekarya. I whooped in joy when she asked to stay over at my place for several nights. With my aunt now staying with me, you can imagine how lively it was in my home! 

Here's a little about what an open mic session is. 

Wikipedia:
An open mic or open mike (derived from open microphone) is a live show where audience members may perform at the microphone. Usually, the performers sign up in advance for a time slot with the host or master of ceremonies.These events are typically focused on performance arts like poetry and the spoken word, music, and comedy.


Merdekarya , I gather, is a place that promotes independent Malaysian music and books.

It was our first time here. A dim lit hangout with artsy decor which I will describe as grunge. We arrived at 7.30pm.

As we enter (ground floor)

Up the staircase

The ambiance

The wall decor

Tipping is 'encouraged'

This place is a beacon of creativity. I adore the light covers at the balcony (pictured below) and I bet you can guess why! The crescent and the star makes it significantly Malaysian. Those are the symbols on our flag.   

Lights

The show started an hour-plus late. This didn't sit well with me, but I relaxed as soon as the first performer, Kee Vern Lai, went on stage. Then, Genie was up. She wooed us with her sultry voice and a few of her original songs. We clapped very loudly of course, with wide smiles on our faces. Family, you know.

The crowd started coming in at 10pm-ish. It's a great place but idle chatter and drinking just wasn't our thing so we left after the second act. Our late-night days are over. Between me and my bed, there is beauty sleep and that's hard to beat!

I'm leaving you with this video of my cousin's performance that night. Enjoy!



May 30, 2015

32 Updating My Garden With Colours

Phew! What an amazing couple of weeks. Lots of quality time spent with relatives who popped into the big city for various reasons from a shopping holiday to seeking medical treatment. Since they were staying over at my place, I was automatically assigned the role of guide and chauffeur.

In between hectic days, I squeezed in some me-time which involved redecorating a part of the apartment. I felt that the garden needed a pick-me-up. The purple mona lavender that used to move me seemed tired against the pale grey walls.

So, off I went to nursery Lot 61, Kota Damansara - aimed for three plants, drove home with six! Haha, I have to say. I dug out my cute Daiso pink hand trowel from the cabinet. With it and gloved hands, the garden was fixed up to accommodate the plants I just got. Although I rolled my eyes over the extra purchase, I was feeling very, very pleased! 

My Haul Of Plants From The Nursery - Chrysanthemums and Begonias

A number of my neighbours use the balcony as their laundry area. For me, it is a place of relaxation. No drying our clothes here!

The day we (hubby and I) signed the papers for this apartment, we had fantastic ideas about what we could do to decorate our new home. My guy was adamant that we should have a water fountain in the balcony. He built a low wall to create a pond. Things didn't quite work out and it became home for my flowers instead (picture below).
 
Re-potted (This was where the water feature was supposed to be.)

Blue Pea Flower (Green)

We have a rocking bench squeezed in the center of the area. It was an impromptu buy that happened years ago when we were getting a new dining table. After testing out several chairs and sofas for fun, we sat on this bench and fell in love with this comforting feeling of swinging back and forth. That's what curiosity got us - a new bench! 

Chili Plants, Spring Onion, Parsley, Ginger, Pak Choy, Fern

My money plant had to be trimmed off because it was crawling up too high. The leaves were so vibrant that I knew it'd be ridiculous to discard it. It sits on my table today in a blue smiling cup. Hah! What do you think of my leafy table arrangement?

Money Plant

Well, that ends my gardening adventure. A body, mind and soul revitalising activity. ♥ ♥

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

If you're into gardening, then you'll love Floria Putrajaya. The annual flower and garden festival begins today, until 7 June 2015. For details, visit their website or Facebook page : https://www.facebook.com/FloriaPutrajaya

I had an amazing time last year : Flower Power at Floria Putrajaya 2014


May 11, 2015

12 Hospital Kuala Lumpur

The story is ...that my aunt had run away. She did, really. She packed her bags, left home without telling a soul (except me) and flew to Kuala Lumpur to check into the hospital for surgery. This was March 15th. She has been staying with me ever since. By now, everyone knows.

I found it hilarious but understood the drastic move. She doesn't enjoy the dramatic less-than-comforting expressions that follow when it is known that someone is unwell. No one does. This happens a lot in our small town. You could say that it's a small community thing and word spreads fast, especially unfavourable ones.

"I heard you're in big trouble! " sobs one with deep downturned lips.

"The nurse leaked that you're in critical condition.. " cried another whilst wrinkling the forehead.

Here, on the other hand, there is less of this feeling of doom and gloom for my aunt! I take her out for little adventures every other day. So much to explore, so much to do!

She has been in and out of the hospital to prepare for the big day. Scans and tests have been done. The op is weeks away. It's the final leg. Are we excited? ...No. My aunt's having the jitters. I try not to let her focus on it too much. That's where crochet comes in - a project to occupy her thoughts, and mine.

During our period in the hospital, I took the time to roam the halls that has been a blessing to many.

This is a picture taken just outside the gynae ward on the 4th floor. The Popular Choice? I would think so. It's always full and the wait is long.

The Quiet Corridor of Hospital Kuala Lumpur

Before heading to the ward, we had to fill out some papers downstairs. As a retired government servant, my aunt was entitled to room and treatment for free. How lucky!

Registration

This hospital has seen better days, but the good news is that there are major upgrading works in progress and also new buildings being constructed. It's about time, I say!

Hospital Kuala Lumpur

I especially love the new carpark building. No steep drive up, airy with lots of parking space.

Hospital Kuala Lumpur Carpark

This is the 'first class, 2-bed' room that my aunt stayed in for a couple of days. It comes with an attached bathroom. There is an open shared sink with mirror in one corner. There is also a tall cabinet where patients can hang their clothes.

First class ward with 2 beds

First class ward with 2 beds plus 1 sink and two tall cabinets

The food is good and healthy. It's all about natural flavours and pretty much no seasoning. They did leave a sachet of salt, in case some find it too tasteless. I had to giggle at that.

Hospital Food

Visiting hours are from 12.30PM to 2PM and 4.30PM to 7.30PM. For weekends and public holidays, it's 12.30Pm to 7.30PM. A warning - security is strict about it !

Well, that's that on my visit to the general hospital. Just one of the many I have explored.     


 

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