Thursday, August 30, 2012

More Peplum Love at Topshop

I'm enamoured with all of Topshop's peplums this season but still haven't bought one yet. Didn't like the cut of some, loved another one but it had a wonky zipper ... I'm starting to sound like Goldilock's bears.

More peplum lovin' at Topshop ...

I love this Rib Peplum Top and had to size up because there wasn't much stretch to it and the tiny zip back didn't help much. It was a bit of a struggle pulling it down over me and then another problem trying to wriggle out from it. The fit and colour are really cute and I'm still considering getting it.

The colour of this Red Textured Peplum Skirt was what attracted me to it and the flippy little peplum. However it was unlined and the fabric felt a little thin to me so I walked out of Topshop empty handed.
This Black Lace Peplum Skirt is calling out my name - even more so because the lace is a dead ringer for that Zara tulip lace dress and would be a lot easier to wear for more casual occasions. Can't wait for this to arrive in stores!

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Shattered Lenses, Elmo Cookies and World Breastfeeding Week

Sometimes I think I'm just a few steps away from becoming like my parents. You know when you were a kid, you'd snicker at them looking around for their glasses everywhere when it was just right in front of them?

Last night I turned the lights off ready for bed, recalling that I was looking for something but couldn't quite remember what it was ... until I heard the snapping and crunching of that something. With a sinking feeling, I turned on the lights and found what I was looking for.

My glasses :( I completely shattered the right lens though thankfully the frame is still intact.

So while waiting for the lens to be replaced and not wanting to wear contacts at home, I'm squinting at the laptop screen. I've heard that Monet painted the way he did because of his failing eyesight. I think, however, my manager would be less than impressed if I were to submit a report full of wonky Excel numbers in for him to review.

Look what I found at Cold Storage! Elmo crackers (though Bubs calls them cooookies) - they were a huge hit with him and he was so pleased at going "elmooo" "big birdddd" whenever he ate one. They had a few other varieties of Sesame Street snacks so I might stop by and get some for him.

The Adventist Hospital is a strong advocate of breastfeeding and they have the nicest lactation consultants. 2 years ago, Hubs and I were at our wits end - we'd just brought Bubs back and even though he was latching on directly, he wasn't pooping and we weren't sure if he was even getting any milk down at all. We drove to the Adventist Hospital and even though we weren't patients there, the lactation consultant was amazing. She guided us patiently, listened to all our worries even though I was a basket case at that point and gave lots of useful tips.

So when they organised the annual World Breastfeeding Week recently, Hubs, Bubs and I were more than happy to show up to extend our support. There were so many families with young children and also stalls dedicated to babywearing, breast pumps, breastfeeding peer groups. I totally loved the buzz there!

Monday, August 27, 2012

Red Bean, Green Bean, One Bean, Two Beans

I've always wanted to create my own sensory bin for Bubs after seeing so many nice ones around but wasn't too keen on the mess that would be left - think grains of rice/pasta/beans all over the living room, not to mention the sacrilege to an Asian (aiya, what a waste of food!)

I decided to start out small and in a contained space since Bubs is developing his motor skills.

Voila! The tiny inflatable pool that we got from Toys R Us was perfect for this purpose.

I filled a bowl with a combination of red and green beans (adzuki and mung beans if you want to get all technical). I put smaller bowls, plates, spoons and Bubs, of course, all together in the inflatable pool with strict instructions that the beans were to stay inside the pool.

He had so much fun! He was running his hands through the beans, grabbing fistfuls of beans, transferring them from one bowl to another.

He used spoons, smaller bowls to scoop them up and even fed some to Cookie Monster ;) At the end of the session, none of the beans were left inside any bowls at all!

We'd a tough time trying to convince him to stop playing so we could clean up the pool. After all that, we didn't waste a single bean as we washed them (thoroughly!) and cooked them into red/green bean soup for dessert that day.

Beating Monday Blues: Humans of New York

Reptile Invader (Central Park)Cold-blooded, sharp-toothed, flesh-munching reptiles spotted in Central Park.
The Perfect Fit (East Village)Appropriately, his name was Dandy Wellington.
The Moment (C-Train)This photo was taken around midnight on a Brooklyn-bound C Train. The son was sprawled out on his father’s lap, sleeping. The father was cradling the boy’s head in his hands. It was a pretty touching scene, and I wanted to photograph it, but I was very tired myself and I wasn’t sure how much I’d [...]

How eye catching and thought provoking are these photos captured of everyday life in New York on Humans of New York? The captions are super cute!

Friday, August 24, 2012

Fashion Friday: Lust for Lace

I sometimes think that I've fashion OCD.

Take this Dorothy Perkins blush/ink bonded lace dress. I walked into the store, saw it, tried it on and decided that I HAVE to have it.

Never mind that I already have a similar Zara tulip lace dress. The differences between them are Absolutely Critical:
  • The Zara frock is thicker, dry clean only and meant for special occasions. It's sleeveless, skims over your waist and adds a more rounded tulip shape at the hips
  • The Dorothy Perkins version is clearly blue, blue, blue, unlined, has little gathers and pleats at the waist, a more pencil cut and best of all, machine washable which means I can wear it anytime I feel like it - what's not to love!
Speaking of my love for more lace at Dorothy Perkins, I'm obsessed over these 2 dresses but decided that I've done enough damage to my wallet.

This raspberry lace pencil dress comes in a few different colours - tres chic and understated sexy.

Vava-voom black and blush lace dress guaranteed to add Jessica Rabbit like curves.

Is anyone as obsessed as lace as me?

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Indulgence Ipoh

It took a lot of convincing on my part to get Hubs to drive to Indulgence in Ipoh all the way from Taiping. While planning our trip, Hubs asked what did I want to eat in Taiping. Our conversation went a little like this:

Hubs: Let's Google & see what food Taiping is famous for.
Me: Indulgence in Ipoh.
Hubs: That's like a bloody hour's drive away!
Me: Indulgence in Ipoh.
Hubs: How about that famous chicken and beansprout rice place in Ipoh then?
Me: Indulgence!

Looking like something the cat dragged in after our zoo trip

 So no prizes for guessing where we ended up driving to after our lil trip to the Taiping Zoo ;) Thankfully Bubs fell asleep through the hour's drive. This marks our 3rd trip to Indulgence and for someone that hates long distance driving with a passion, it's a lot saying that the 2 hour drive from Penang to Ipoh is worth it just to be able to dine there.

Indulgence is both a restaurant and beautiful boutique hotel located in a quiet, unassuming white bungalow. Proprietress extraordinaire and culinary magician, Julie Song, is very much hands on and can often be seen bustling around in the kitchen. I've seen customers asking to speak to the chef and she comes out to explain and make recommendations from her menu, charming, understated and humble, exactly what Indulgence is all about.

The brilliantly creative and sheer genius of the dishes offered in the ever changing menu is what makes us returning customers. Think choices like ricotta pancakes stuffed with fresh figs, open lasagne with blueberries, sardines and drizzled with truffle oil, where else can you find such gems?

Huge fan of the splashes of blue, white and greens throughout the eating area with an eclectic mix of furniture and bric brac. For a place that serve fine dining quality, we found the wait staff to be really friendly, down to earth and not a single bit snooty unlike other establishments we've been to.

The front portion is dedicated towards bring-home-gourmet-goodies such as imported paella mix, fresh cherries for sale at RM12 per 100gm, arborio rice and of course, delectables produced by Indulgence, such as lemon curd, oven dried tomatoes and hibiscus pesto. Ready made desserts ranging from lamingtons, macarons, tiramisu, creme brulee, canele, are also on display if you need to further tempt your taste buds. This place is a dieter's nightmare!

The food is nothing short of fantastic. Complimentary bread and butter are served before the main courses arrive. We ordered the lamb and onion pizza (RM39) and the wait staff was kind enough to request the kitchen to separate out the chilli flakes because Bubs can't handle anything too spicy. We also had a portion of the lamb, chestnut, bean and parmesan pasta (RM39) .

Indulgence serves an amazing array of dolci (desserts) and this where I've to stress, the sweets from the menu are purely works of art - they cost as much as mains and forget about portion sizes, this petite creations are meant to delight your senses (camera and wallet too). Hubs nearly had a heart attack when he saw the prices and the portions served ;)

Unforgiving (RM39) is a choux "tree" served with small scoops of gelato, strawberries, blueberries, and for an added touch of whimsy, sprinkled with edible flowers dusted with icing sugar. Hubs and Bubs refused to even touch the flowers so I ate all of them, muahaha. In case you were wondering, they did not taste a single bit floral at all, more of a green, leafy fresh taste.

Imagine (RM32) - I wanted to break out into the John Lennon classic, is small crepe pieces with a centre of fresh pear chunks, chestnut chocolate puree and topped with fresh figs. The chestnut chocolate sounded a bit odd but I was surprised at how the chestnuts add an almost smokey taste and its richness cut down the sweetness of the chocolate.

Bub's hand in the background waiting impatiently for me to snap the photo so he can pounce on dessert
Since Bubs and I have an insatiable sweet tooth, we ordered MORE desserts from the ready made ones on display. Trust me, it was soooo hard to narrow our choices down to just 2 tiny morsels - a single berry macaron and a canele. The macaron (RM6.50) was out of this world, just the right amount of tartness and sweetness balanced with filled with a light cream centre studded with fresh blueberries. Canele is a French dessert (RM6.50), I was really excited to find it served at Indulgence - I love the caramelised, thick crust and the simple custard filling in it - the flavour reminded me a bit like apom, clean, simple eggs, milk and sugar with a touch of vanilla.

Can't wait for more trips to Indulgence Ipoh *hearts*

Indulgence Restaurant and Living
14, Jalan Raja Di Hilir, 30350 Ipoh, Perak, Malaysia.
Tel No : 605-255 7051

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Let's Go to the Zoo

There are lots of things to do and the chicken is finger licking good ... Each time I think of the zoo, that old school Kentucky Fried Chicken (none of that new fangled KFC abbreviation) jingle plays in my mind. Hubs and I haven't been to the zoo in ages and since Bubs is recognising some animals, we thought it'd be fun for him to see some exotic ones. The closest zoo here is the Taiping Zoo, the oldest one in Malaysia, and is about an hour's drive away.

Patience is not one of Bub's virtues and I was tempted to ply him with alcohol so he'd pass out we fully charged his iPod for him to keep him occupied in the backseat. We had a 10 minute stop at a rest area for him to stretch his little legs and to get a quick breakfast before continuing the drive. Surprisingly, Bubs was contented and didn't kick up a fuss throughout the drive until we reached Taiping Zoo. After carefully rubbing sunblock all over ourselves (which turned out to be a good decision because there were uncovered areas where the sun was really strong) and stepping past the gates: we were there!

There was a strong, heady scent of musk mingled with wet leaves throughout the zoo, if you're unfamiliar to animals, your nose would be wrinkling up at the smell. The grounds were huge with a lot of winding, sun dappled paths and scattered around were tall, leafy trees that provided shady areas visitors seeking a brief respite. We spotted a small group of monkeys wandering around and picking up trash from the bins. It felt a little surreal. 

Long, arduous walks call for serious measures. In addition to liberal dosing of sunblock, we came prepared with appropriate footwear: Crocs for Bubs and me and Tevas for Hubs. Adel told us that the pathways were wide and stroller-friendly so we brought along Bub's stroller which we used probably less than 10 times since we first got it. 

Bubs seemed more excited with his stroller (which he hardly gets to sit in since most of the places we go to in Penang are un-stroller friendly) and clambered up and down in it. He said "stroller" repeatedly and even got out to help us push it around for a while. Who knew all it took to keep him happy was a simple trip with his stroller ;) At steep paths going downhill, we'd warn "Bubs, hold tight" and he'd immediately grip the sides until we descended.

It was a really good walk though we sweated buckets from the stifling heat. We spotted some of Bub's more distant relations, LOL.

The zebras had a curious barking laugh that made him jump. For some reason, I kept thinking of the poor zebra in the book Life of Pi and half expected to see a hyena close by.

An hour of walking non stop and dodging the ever present trams made us all fatigued and we stopped for a very much welcomed ice cream break. Everyone else had the same idea and Hubs had to queue for some time to pay for the ice cream - you could make a fortune there selling icy cool treats! Bubs had the time of his life pushing the empty stroller about in his snazzy orange Crocs in between greedy mouthfuls of ice cream.

 After a short rest, we trudged on. This giraffe was decidedly the most friendly of all the animals we saw. It came close by to us and stuck its head over the fence, watching us curiously with its long, lash fringed eyes. A visitor offered his palm up to the giraffe and hurriedly pulled away when a long strand of giraffe saliva dribbled out. Bubs started feeling hungry as it was close to his lunch time and we gave him biscuits. 

By the time we reached the elephants which signaled the end of the zoo, we were exhausted, sweat drenched and hungry as the cafe was closed and there was no food to be found around apart from potato chips and fizzy drinks. It was a good thing we packed a hot lunch in a Thermos for Bubs and after feeding him, we wet a small towel with water and cleaned him a little. In hindsight,I should have brought a spare change of clothes :( 

Anyhow, Bubs fell asleep the moment Hubs started driving towards our next destination for lunch ...

Monday, August 20, 2012

The Mummy Uniform

I often find myself in a fashion rut during weekends - stilettos are out of the question when chasing after an active toddler and tiny clutches can't fit a packet of wet wipes in. I've been dressing down to just tees, jeans and flats on Saturdays and Sundays and have been meaning to try something a little different.

I started with red lips. Forget time consuming smokey eyes or blending blush when you're in a hurry. A classic red lip is as simple as smudging a bold crimson lippie with your fingertip onto your lip and instantly perks you up.

Ditching the usual tee and jeans for the day, I picked this Topshop Cap Sleeve Flippy Tunic which is perfect for a shortie like me and easy to move about in. It's incredibly fitted and tired of having to suck my tummy in, I just went a size up. The indigo blue and round neck can look a little severe so I added a white beaded necklace - a change from my usual mummy uniform.

And Bub's reaction?

Oh mummmmy, you're so vain!

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Happy Hari Raya Aidilfitri!

Wishing everyone a Happy Hari Raya Aidilfitri and remember to drive safe :)

I've been waiting forever for the long weekend ... it's been a heck of week at work recently and even though everyday I promised myself I'd leave the notebook untouched after work, I find myself turning it on, telling Hubs and Bubs "just 10 minutes only to check my mails" and before I know it, a couple of hours have whizzed past by. Planning to recharge my batteries by catching up on sleep, so far I've been having the same nap time as Bubs and I've missed those deliciously long afternoon naps. 

Friday, August 17, 2012

We Like Leafy Herbs

Lately, the plant section at Jusco has been my most frequented place - I've been addicted to buying potted herbs for our tiny balcony. I've had great luck with rosemary, aloe vera, lemongrass but have killed a couple of basil, thyme and oregano.

There is something so satisfying about growing your own edible herbs - watching them get bushier, greener and the delicious scent wafting through the air whenever we step out onto the balcony. I can't seem to find natural compost or worm castings here to use as fertiliser so I've been making do with adding leftover tea, cooked pasta water, rice water and even water from soaking beans to them.The downside is that I don't use pesticides so they get attacked by all kinds of insects :(

Is it me or am I just a basil killer? This is my n-th pot of basil.
Lavender and Thyme.
Rosemary is incredibly resilient *knocks on wood* I've forgotten to water it countless times

The best part of growing herbs is just going out with a pair of scissors and snipping them whenever you need some for cooking.The flavour of fresh herbs are so intense and not to mention, so much cheaper than buying cut herbs from the veggie section.

Many a time, this pizza recipe has been our go to emergency dinner for times we can't be bothered to cook anything more time consuming. Get a sheet of frozen puff pastry, a dab of tomato paste, add some sliced mushrooms and chopped garlic, smother with cheese and the secret ingredient: fresh herbs. Guaranteed instant yumminess!

Monday, August 13, 2012

Toddler Stuff: 21 Months

Dear Bubs,

   Have I ever told you how much I adore your cheeky grin or how your happy giggles sound like bubbles whenever you do something that you know you're not supposed to do? When sent to the naughty corner, you play peekaboo with the curtains in a way that makes it so hard to keep a stern look on my face even though you've misbehaved. You've recently gotten into the habit of pinching people hard and scrunching up your face with all your might as you grip - ouch! You don't like it a single bit when we make you apologise, you'd cry until tears wet your little face, you'd say mai over and over again but after we insist firmly, you'd then hug the person you've hurt, patting them and saying in a very apologetic voice "sah-ree" (sorry)

  You've recently discovered the fun and wonder of arts and craft. We've kept it simple to paints, crayons and playdough for the time being. The messier and the more colourful they are, the better you like it. Is this the part where I tell you that Crayola is well worth the money simply because it's washable on all surfaces? You can now recognise most of the colours apart from white, black, pink and brown (mainly because I can't figure out any Sesame Street muppets that are these colours - anyone care to help me out here?)

 Daddy and I suspect that you learned most of the alphabet by playing with your iPod touch. It started when I was trying to teach you some letters by going through an alphabet book that Grandma got you. We've gotten to ABCs. The next day when we were playing with your Cookie Monster Play Dough alphabet set, you were suddenly picking out letters that we've never taught you, like E, F, H, I, X, Y, Z ... From then onwards, whenever you see letters, be it from books, advertisements outside, even words printed on our T-shirts, you'll puzzle out the letters and shout it out loud proudly. I feel a little guilty that you are learning this from screen time instead of from a book with Daddy and I.

  You've started recognising cartoons like Tom & Jerry (you call them cat and mouse), Bugs Bunny (you'd say rabbit) Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck (duck duck to you) and Goofy. Again, more mummy guilt for letting you watch cartoons at such a young age but secretly, a part of me feels happy and nostalgic by watching them with you. The purist in me loves the old, watercolour painted classics that I watched as a kid. Your attention span to the television isn't too great (is that a blessing in disguise?) and you'd get bored easily before wandering away to play on your scooter or other toys.

  You get fascinated with the simplest household chores. One of your favourite things to do is to vacuum even though the handle goes all the way up to your shoulder. You'd often trail behind Daddy, helping him push the vacuum cleaner behind him. Let's hope you can continue doing this well into your teens ;)

  Weirdly enough, your favourite food right now are peas and legumes Anything round, tiny and brightly coloured, you'd devour them. You love helping me make red bean soup by swirling the little beans with your hands, tossing them up and down. Considering the fact that Daddy and I both hate mushy peas, we find it amazing that you finished a bag of frozen peas in a month as you always insist on us adding peas to your food. It's probably a phase but a good one as you don't seem very keen on most of your veggies, especially leafy ones.

Love you lots, baby darling, you're growing up to quickly,
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