Oct 31, 2015

10 Haze, Haze, Stay Away!

Three days ago, my Facebook newsfeed was filled with pictures of beautiful skies over Kuala Lumpur. I was engrossed with work and my eyes were glued to the PC. I hadn't noticed that the haze had cleared until a ray of sunlight crept up to my face.

I looked away from my screen, disturbed by the warm light, only to be greeted with a clear view of apartment buildings nearby, blue skies and vibrant greenery . This was the moment I'd been waiting for and clearly, I wasn't the only one who'd grabbed her camera that day to treasure the miracle in pictures. We have been stuck with the haze for so long that fresh air seemed a rare thing to experience. I am now keeping my fingers crossed that this will last.

This is the very blue sky that I had snapped that very afternoon.

As opposed to this smog-filled picture that I had shared with my Facebook friends in mid September.

The rainy evening sky on the same day the haze left us. I could finally see the sunset.

And finally, a picture of a thunderstorm coming up, taken the evening before.

How nice it feels to breathe fresh air again!

Oct 27, 2015

12 An Interest In Comping

Besides blogging, my other love is comping. I'm casual where both are concerned, as in not leaning to doing it so frequently that it consumes my days. For me, these are great ways to exercise the mind and a good way of spending my internet time.

..the practice of entering competitions, especially those promoting consumer products.
~ Google definition

Participating is a wonderful way to show support for a brand we like. I do it also in appreciation of the people who took the time to organise contests, which is no easy task considering there's a lot to do behind the scenes. It's not possible to reward every fan, of course. Therefore, prizes are limited and in being fair to all, contests are a great way of determining who gets the reward.

I am funnily gripped by this feeling of, "Oh, why isn't anyone interested in joining this giveaway? That's so unsporting of us." , when there's low participation. I find my concern hilarious. I guess I'm soft-hearted over things I enjoy doing. Haha that. So, I make it a point to join contests that my blog friends organise - those open for Malaysians to participate.

There is only one thing that holds me back - If I have already won! Then, I would refrain from submitting an entry for awhile because it just doesn't feel right to do so. Plus I don't participate in contests for the sake of getting a freebie. I wouldn't join a giveaway run by Nicotine Anonymous to win a nicotine patch - that would be taking from those who need help, assuming I won. Looks like there's two things that keep me from submitting an entry.

Occasionally, for my effort, I am blessed with prizes. I was happy to receive this package (pictured below) last week. It was won from an international giveaway run by Shirley of Luxury Haven. I have yet to try the product and samples. I'm aiming to finish the ones I'm currently on before I do!

It's arrived!

It is always exciting to receive good stuff.


However, all is not roses in the comping world. These are some of the things I've seen :

1) Giveaway scams - Be wary if the prizes are too many and too wonderful to be true. Check the source of the giveaway -  who is running it, contact details and so forth. For Facebook giveaways, the first tell tale sign would be a suspicious email address and no further information. Why would you give your details or add a 'like' to a page that's out to use you to further their gains without being truthful about who they are and what they want it for?

2) There will be cheaters. Yes, that person who steals your slogan, copies brilliantly written sentences off the net or use other people's photos. There are also people who create hundreds of fake accounts to vote for themselves in voting contests. Take the time to report them, with proof, via the right channel. Reputable organisers will disqualify the parties concerned.

This is a trustworthy site to follow for contest updates (Malaysia only), if anyone's keen : eMenang (https://www.facebook.com/emenangdotcom). Sharing is caring - that's what I'm doing!

I'm curious - what's your favourite thing to do online?

Oct 24, 2015

20 A Sunday At Port Dickson

It's a picnic!

Picnics were a big part of my childhood life on Labuan island where I was born. As I sat, looking out into the night sky, on the garden bench in my balcony, and began reminiscing about the good 'ol days, I realised that in my fifteen years of living in the city, I've only ever been to a picnic ..once. That's just sad, I thought to myself.

So, in a moment of I've-got-to-right-this-situation-pronto!, I approached the husband with an idea of going to the beach in the morning. He looked at me as though I'd gone bonkers, but humoured me with a yes just the same after I seduced him with a steaming cup of chocolate malt drink.

And that, my blogging friends, is how this outing came about.

Port Dickson Beach

We spent our Sunday at a beach in Port Dickson, having one of the best days of our lives. The place was alive with barbecues and campers. We sat ourselves down under the shade of this coconut tree.

Coconut Tree

We chatted about life in general.

Together Forever

We did a bit of people-watching.


We ate ... a huge curry bun, which I wrote about in detail on my other blog.

Grabbing Some Picnic Food

We headed home a couple of hours later, and took a snooze right after a well-needed shower. The evening was spent watching movies into the night. That's what I call a wonderful weekend. ♥

Oct 20, 2015

20 Dapao : Pork Leg Mee Hoon Soup, My Thai Cuisine

I've made it a habit to cook dinner every day, except on Sundays. My other half and I would gallivant the town in search of food, things to do and places to visit on this non-cooking day. You could say it's our 'us' time.

We stumbled upon this pork leg mee hoon (rice vermicelli) soup stall whilst looking for a chicken rice vendor, in an area that is listed on Wikimapia as 'Kawasan Lapang' along Batu 3, Jalan Ipoh. Don't laugh now. I have just edited the map to include this newly discovered food stall for your convenience!

A little about this dapao (takeaway) gem. The pork broth is flavourful, evidence that it has been on the stove for hours. The meat is tender - falling off the bones is another way I would describe it. It was indeed delicious.

Check out the ingredients : Tender pork meat, fish ball, fish cakes, a whole egg, preserved vegetables and the customary garnishing using flat leaf parsley. 

Pork Leg Rice Noodles
A mildly-sour chilli condiment is included with the dapao.

Pork Leg Rice Noodles + Chilli

This is the friendly lady who attended to our order.

My Thai Cuisine at Jalan Tiong

I felt it was worth the RM7 considering the slightly bigger portion and how much I enjoyed each slurp.

Location : Jalan Tiong ( http://wikimapia.org/33921799/My-Thai-Cuisine ) - Off Jalan Sultan Azlan Shah (formerly Batu 3, Jalan Ipoh). Between a row of food stalls next to the shoplot that houses the famous Kedai Kopi Mee Bon (a Dim Sum restaurant).


Besides this blog, I also write at sweethomechefs.blogspot.com . It's where I share meals I whip up for dinner. Please follow me there if you're keen to read about my cooking journey. I will be delighted by your support! 

Oct 16, 2015

8 On Keeping Mum ..s

I've been waiting for these yellow mums to bloom for close to eight months.

In the beginning, I pinched away the unopened buds because they were dying off on the stems. I stopped doing it when it didn't seem to end - one bud after another! Exhausting, I say.

Earlier in the week however, I was excited to see some yellow petals peeking out. A good sign, I thought! But four-five days in, it stayed selfishly in a cocoon shape.

As I stared at the buds again this morning, I frowned at this little buddy which seemed to be giving me the finger. Gasp!

Yellow Mums

Well, I am not perturbed! I will continue to wait patiently.

Just living is not enough, said the butterfly, one must have sunshine, freedom, and a little flower.
~ Hans Christian Andersen 

Oct 13, 2015

20 Dapao : Ilham Nasi Kukus, Mutiara Damansara

It was boasted on the flyer - Sambal belacan yang 'hot & kicking' pasti akan membuat anda berpeluh! (Chilli so spicy that you will surely sweat!)

That's precisely how it went down with me as I tucked into my nasi kukus (steamed rice) that came packed with a large piece of spiced fried chicken, pineapple and anchovies on the side. My rice was flooded with plain curry gravy and a shrimp paste chilli condiment that had quite a bit of seeds in it.
Nasi Kukus with Pineapple and Anchovies

Besides RM6, this nasi kukus adventure cost me many tissues and several sips of chilled water. I would have thrown in the towel had it not tasted oh-so-marvelous. I knew I was punishing myself, really. My tongue was burning. Funnily, all I could think of was, "Yum, yum, yum!". I couldn't stop myself!

Have you ever been in a situation where you go, "I can't do this anymore! " , but strive on anyway? Yep, exactly how I felt. If only this can-do spirit extended to the gym..sigh!

Spicy Sambal Belacan and Curry Gravy

I rate this as one of the best meals I'd ever dapao-ed home, even if beads of sweat had rolled down the sides of my slightly flushed cheeks.

Is there a Nasi Kukus stall which you frequent, that you would describe as 'ada kick' (got kick)?  Do share the details with me here because I'm always game for good food, and will hunt it down if I were in the area!

Dapao = takeaway.

Ilham Nasi Kukus, Mutiara Damansara 
Address : No.7,jalan PJU 7/16,Mutiara Damansara, Petaling Jaya, Malaysia.
Open Mon-Sun: 11:30-22:00

Oct 6, 2015

17 Blackmores Collagen - High Strength!

Life begins at 4 ...no. Life begins the moment I step out of bed, everyday! I choose to embrace every stage of my existence in this world! That's my mantra. ;) Have you got one?

As I progress into middle-age, several words have seen fit to meddle with my mind and magnify themselves - brown spots, crow's feet, fine lines, supplements, sugar-free, cholesterol-free, low-fat, low-sodium, anti-aging, collagen, firming, moisturising! I could go on.

Eyeing the hand cream that is lying in my IKEA weaved basket, I rub at my dry skin and walk over in a huff, telling myself, "It's good for me!". I began applying the cream. That's how I am with beauty care ever since I left my white-collar job at an IT firm.

However, I've been making little changes to include self-care as part of my daily routine, and not treat it as a chore that needs to be done only when I feel it's needed.

I think I'm doing a pretty good job with daily applications of some sort of face and body cream, plus scrubs and a hair-thingy once a week. Do you remember the names of half the products you use? It was less complicated than I used to remember. A face cream was just 'Face Cream'. Now, there's Revitalift Laser x3,  UV whitening, active cellular restoration, bio-restorative day creams ..? I'm LOL-ing as I type these out.

Anyway, I'm going out of topic.

As we get older, it's only natural that we think about taking better care of ourselves. So, I guess all these words that have made their way into my life is only there because I'm making a conscious effort to be healthier.

When I saw Blackmores Collagen 10,000mg, I knew I had to try it! Collagen is known for skin rejuvenation. As we grow older, we produce less collagen. Women my age take collagen supplements for overall wellness and to keep their skin looking young.

Blackmores Collagen - High Strength!

This is it - my glass of chilled fish collagen. Cheers!

"Gahhh..!! That is fishy! " I shuddered as I took another sip. Yep, that's how I finished it. It's a whole lot fishier than I expected although it's masked with apple juice. I rank this drink as - 'challenging'.


My thoughts: I can't say for sure if it's the placebo effect on play, but I think my skin feels better after taking this.

There's a saying - If it's hard to swallow, it must be good for you. Lol!

Oct 2, 2015

8 Visiting SPCA, Selangor (The New Eco-Animal Shelter)

A friend asked for a ride to SPCA (Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals), to get her cats neutered. I readily agreed because I was excited to see the new facility!

To get an idea what the old SPCA looks like and what the plans for the RM3mil eco-animal shelter are, click here and here. I gathered from a couple of news portals that the new facility is expected to house 450 animals, about a hundred more than it could before. It has been open for public visits since July, but is clearly still a work-in-progress.

SPCA is well known for helping abused and abandoned furry friends, and they are always striving to go further. Their new facility, although not perfect, is a good start to something wonderful!

Here are some pictures I took of the place:

Welcome To The Spanking New SPCA, Selangor

This, I believe, is where animal lovers will be taught how to handle their pets.

Education Centre

The buildings at the back (pictured below) are where stray dogs will be housed short-term. Part of the roof is covered with canvas, which looks to be temporary. As I mentioned earlier, work-in-progress!   

SPCA makes hard decisions to euthanise strays that do not find homes due to limited space. They are striving to be a no-kill centre with this eco-friendly shelter, but I wonder if there are enough kennels for that to happen. I'm guessing that it will take awhile longer to realise this dream.

An Overview Of The Dog Kennel Buldings

In honest, I'm not getting a good vibe about the kennels. Compared to the old ones, it is of gloomy hopelessness. However, I'm keeping an open mind until the roof is properly in place. Perhaps there's a transparent piece in between the roof tiles for a little light to shine in.

Dog Kennels

This compound is called the 'Adventure Park'. It's an exercise area for the furry friends. A very fun place to be with small balls for them to play with and a wire tunnel for them to run through. Imagine if a group of gardeners volunteered to spruce this place up. 'Happening' would be the word!

Adventure Park

I was looking forward to seeing the 'cat studios and cat mansion with hybrid cage/aviary design' , but couldn't find anything close to this description. It's probably still under construction. I did, however, find a fluorescent-lit room housing some cats.

Cat Confinement

'Rainwater recycling and natural groundwater usage' is one of the highlights of SPCA's new centre. It's a brilliant initiative that deserves praise. I regret not asking someone to show me how it looked/works.

This (pictured below) could be where they hope to recycle rainwater. At the moment, there is only murky water. The same goes for the other pool I saw at the corner.

The Murky Water Pool

No prizes for guessing what this place is for! Food preparation, of course.

Well, that's that on my walkabout at SPCA.

Before I end, here's a little advice from my gf,  who's a true-blue furry friend lover :

1) Neuter your pets.
This reduces the number of strays and stops you from pleading for people to 'help take in the puppies or kittens' because you can't handle that many of them. Your guess is as good as mine as to what may happen, if no one steps forward.

2) Adopt, don't buy.
Yep, if you want to get a dog or a cat, drop by an animal shelter to adopt one. Don't support inhumane puppy mills. Plus, you'd be saving a life.


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