Oct 30, 2013

8 Labuan : Layang-Layangan - Just the beach!

Layang-layangan beach, one of my favourite hangouts .... until I moved to the city. Clean, serene, with long stretches of sand ~ the perfect picnic spot? Yeap!

I've not been here for almost a decade. My trips home have always been packed with meeting the relatives, plus an unimaginable amount of time on feasting. I am not kidding when I say that it begins with an early breakfast and goes on until dinner!

So this is a very treasured 30-minute stop just to snap some shots and breathe in the beach air.

Evening beach stroll

A gloomy evening that brought the drizzle.

Sea, sky ..oh, where are you, sun?

Lots of these holes on the sand with small crabs scuttling in and out.
Ahoy! Is anyone in there?! ..

Crab hole

Small wooden boats or sampan, as we call it, tied to a pole near the shore.

The fisherman rests his boats (do you see it? there..in the distance)

Night picnickers setting up the barbeque fire.

A different kind of night life

We passed this resort-like place on our way home. Fancy fencing...

Love the coconut trees view

That's my short beach adventure. We made our way to a local cake stall nearby for late tea (almost dinner, really) after that.


Oct 25, 2013

8 Breakfast And A New Pan

Breakfast is important. Everyone knows that but mornings and me? We shake hands and that's as much love as we have for each other. No hugs! Brunch is more my thing.

The only food that  goes into me first thing in the morning is a hot cup of chocolate malt.

Chocolate Malt

Occasionally, I have eggs and baked beans...

Eggs and Baked Beans

But only because I have a fancy new pan to try out < --- "motivation"

Nah, this post is nothing about breakfast. I really, reallyYy wanted to show off the latest addition to my kitchen. Do you like it? Haha. Don't be mean now.

New Pan ~ RM9.90 from Tesco

 

Oct 22, 2013

12 The Revamped Garden

This is it ~ the unveiling of my new gardening initiative.

I've been very low key about it. The jitters, you know - a confidence sucker. If plant murder is a crime, I would have been convicted many times in the past. But my new garden is three weeks old now and it's flourishing.

I'm really quite proud of myself, thanks to huge encouragement from gardening enthusiasts in the My Nice Garden Chat  Facebook group.

Small Balcony Garden
(Colourful Coleus - Potted plants on bamboo poles, Mona Lavender - Purple flowers below)

For ideas, I scoured the nurseries along Sungai Buloh, finally settling on a crisscrossed bamboo stand which can be stretched wide to fit perfectly between walls.

The idea is to hang potted plants up to save on floor space.  

Excitement ~ keyword of the day, of which without, there would be no spark of passion and no fruition to dreams. 

These colourful leafy plants (shown below) are called coleus. I've read that it needs good drainage, moist soil and lots of sunlight. It is also advisable to clip off the flowers because it overworks the plant leaving the leaves less vibrant.

I'm quite curious to see how it goes if I keep the flowers.

I hope you have nine lives Mr. Plant because I intend to learn things the hard way. In the meantime, there are new shoots popping out and the plants have grown taller. I wonder if I should just add more pots and replant those...

Coleus
I have no idea what this pretty pink flowering plant is called ........yet. I water this the most using a spray bottle, almost to a point of addiction. It flowers non-stop and I'm completely mesmerised by it. I'm enthusiastic to see many new shoots growing out.

I'll get back to you, pretty Miss
This is aptly named the Purple Shamrock. I've had this before - kept it in a shady corner for years before the hanging coconut husk pot which was holding the plant gave way. I'm still keeping the coconut husk because I love it so much. It has holes at the bottom. Everytime I water the plant, soil flows through too. I fixed that with a couple of pebbles. Hah!

This was one of the plants that never died on me although I paid very little attention to it. I water it once in awhile. It's no surprise why I like it. So I thought to myself, "Why not again?"

I'm planting it in a different corner this time and in a pot weaved out of branches. It is now exposed to late afternoon sun for a couple of hours everyday. My fingers have been crossed for three weeks now. It has kinda spread out beautifully.

Purple Shamrock

I end my plant post with a quote :

Stretching his hand up to reach the stars, too often man forgets the flowers at his feet.
~ Jeremy Bentham

Oct 16, 2013

8 The Messy Garden

My plot of green. ...before the revamp.

I woke up one morning and asked myself, "Is THIS really the best you can do about it?", while rolling eyes at the little jungle I had nurtured before me.

This is where I spend most evenings watching the sunset. It's also our corner for "romantic dinners". I wonder how Man feels about having his meals on a balcony surrounded by a mishmash of plants that seemed happy to grow where they please.

A state of before!

I've had these impossible-to-die-off  plants for years. It is watered often < ----  sums up my gardening duties.

However, a new me has emerged since fateful morning of green-lightenment. I set out to re-do, with a goal to maintain and change what I plant once in awhile.

I spent a couple of hours just removing roots... arghhhHh!

Roots everywhere!

More and more roots...*sigh* ..is there no end?

Finally! Mixed and layered the soil. I could not resist the bit of layering because I've watched too many documentaries showing earth in layers of soil and rock. Silly me.

Brown soil at the bottom, pebbles mixed in and organic black soil on top

This potted plant is now indoors. Funny thing about it? It appeared out of nowhere. I've had this pot with a cactus growing in it for years. This spread of green popped out of hibernation one fine day of sunshine and dominated the pot. I've had to pull the poor cactus out in the end.

Potted greens on a melange of rocks collected from Port Dickson beach

This money plant is going out to a friend.

Money plant

My new garden is almost three weeks old now. It's alive with colours and much bushier. I'm pretty sure it's because I pay so much attention to it now ~ plant fertilizers, trimming, the constant water-spray...uh, oh..is this grinning person overdoing it? ....oh, but I am so drawn to my now not-entirely-green corner that it's hard not to check for weeds, on moisture and all!

Picture..next week! There's just too many photos for me to put up in one blog post.

Oct 10, 2013

6 Johor : Chillaxing at Kota Tinggi Waterfall

Our trip to southern Johor was planned ages ago. Flight tickets were purchased the year before courtesy of Air Asia's cheap fare promotion. Three girls - shopping, eating, sight-seeing ..bliss.

We took a casual drive to Kota Tinggi Waterfall on one of the days. It was the weekend. The place was bustling with picnicking people. Young men were carrying tube floats up the slightly hilled road.

Kota Tinggi Waterfall
Tainted by cloudy water and suspicious cleanliness, it was clearly not one of the best waterfalls I have been to. Lack of maintenance, less than attractive surroundings along the river and a toilet that screamed 'enter at own risk!'. I can't help but feel that more could have been done to preserve, I believe, a once beautiful location.

Kota Tinggi Waterfall
 Anyway, we were only here to chill, chat and eat rambutans. This is our bag of Vitamin C.

Rambutans
We amused ourselves watching kids float down the water slide. There were waves of hello and picture posing. I felt inclined to snap a few photos for them. There was no stopping the warm feeling that washed over me.

Top end of the slide
Bottom end of the slide
An hour plus and many jokes later, we left for our next destination. Tata, Kota Tinggi Waterfall. The place may not have been perfect but the company was.

Goodbye


Oct 7, 2013

4 Penang : A Tour Of Fort Cornwallis

A walk back in time ~ that's how it felt like. Jen and I made our way to Fort Cornwallis from Queen's Street. It was a short ten minutes away. I've been here several times but never tire of each visit.

The Entrance to Fort Cornwallis

Fort Cornwallis was built in 1786 by Sir Francis Light. Today, it is a neatly kept tourist haunt for history buffs.

RM2 per entry

A quaint little chapel sits inside the grounds of the fort. I love the simplicity of the structure but wished it could have been refurbished for a fresher feel. 

Imagine wild flowers adorning the sides of the building. You walk into a brightly lit room decorated with paintings of olden day everyday activities to give you an idea what went on in the past. A pew here and there for tourists to sit and reflect, and little baskets of roses to air the room naturally with lovely scents. A little air-conditioning. How's that for imagination.

As one of the oldest buildings in Penang, it is highly unappreciated for its value.

The Neglected Chapel

These cubicles were originally barracks to soldiers in artillery before being converted into prison cells. Now, it is a history gallery.

Shelter For The Brave

The History of Fort Cornwallis

Another unique structure that stands in the fort is the gunpowder magazine, a bunker that I find fairly exciting to enter because it makes me feel like I'm about to discover long lost hidden treasure. It's a good spot for a photo snap, especially if you stand by the window while a friend takes a pic of you from the outside.

I believe this bunker has been decorated with replicas of olden day weaponry before. It is bare now. Aah..but I am just being a typical tourist.

Into Lower Ground

Nippon paint, anyone?

My favourite part of the fort are the cannons that is stationed along the wall, facing the sea. The scenic view lures me.

Below is a photo of the beautiful Seri Rambai cannon, a gift from the Dutch to the Sultan of Johor. There is something magical about this cannon. It is said that women who find it hard to conceive will be blessed with child if they place flowers on the barrel of the cannon. Others say you have to place it inside the cannon. How true? We'll have to ask those who actually did it.

Seri Rambai Cannon

Close-up Of A Carving On The Cannon

Oct 1, 2013

4 Creative! Clothes Hook with Sticker Notes

Brilliant. I was so excited when I saw these stickers above the clothes hook in the fitting room.

You'd think I could have arranged it in the same manner even without the sticker signs but I'm going to tell you honestly that I wouldn't have. This is me. I'll be carrying 5 blouses into the fitting room. Try one on, love it to bits and hang it on one side. I'll try another, get excited and hang it on the same hook. Then.. wonder what made me love the first one. I'll try the first blouse again ...starts thinking about budget, cash or credit card, did I bring the store card for points, is it 'no plastic' day, do I really need this, is it flattering, what shall I cook for dinner today ...

By the time I reach for my fifth blouse, I'd be having second thoughts about everything and wonder what clothes organised in the left meant and why I had some on the right. This (below) will help me remember!

Definitely!
 

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