Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Food and Fun with Aussie Godma

Bubs was a very lucky little kid with back to back visits from both Godmas. This round, Aussie Godma was back from Sydney and we managed to squeeze in a quick visit. Hubs was an absolute God sent for babysitting Bubs for a couple of hours while Aussie Godma and I did what we do best: girly shopping and catching up on gossip ;)

Aussie Godma rocking in electric blue jeans, stripes and her identical Zara sequin clutch. I laughed when I saw her because I was wearing a striped dress too. When we were shopping, we both picked out similar clothing and once, we showed each other exactly the same dress but in different colours. We're fashion twins, I tell you!

She has a thing for Pandora bracelets. Bubs gave her a gift box Pandora bead (in lieu of the real thing wrapped up in a blue box and a white bow) for her birthday this year.

Aussie Godma had a craving for all food local and we were too lazy to walk out to the food court at Gurney so we went to the next best place: Old Town Kopitiam. The drinks we had were sooo yummy: fizzy rose and rose bandung cincau (milky rose drink with grass jelly).

I am in lurrrve with this Topshop peplum dress. The dark navy blue material is slightly thicker than their earlier range of peplum scuba dresses and the peplum at the waist hid my full tummy and added a very generous curve. The only reason why we both didn't walk away with a piece each was the zip :( The thicker material meant that the zip got stuck at the peplum each time we tried to zip/unzip it. We checked out the other sizes on the rack and the sales assistant told us that it was a complaint with everyone that tried it on, the online review also mentioned this. Topshop - fix the zipper and I guarantee you, it will fly off the shelves!

Hubs and Bubs then met up with us at Straits Quay since Aussie Godma hasn't been there before. The balloon stall at the weekend flea market was a huge hit with most of the kids we saw holding on to a large inflated angry bird.

Dinner was at Nonya Breeze which served a really good range of authentic Nonya dishes - tasted almost like the ones my Mum makes, especially the perut ikan. I highly recommend the kerabu bee hoon as well. The waitresses were all decked in Nonya kebayas and sarongs too!

Aussie Godma and Bubs looking at the yachts - eying which one they could steal to sail around the world. Bubs was showing us how he could slide his head between the rails and I was so scared it'd get stuck there.

Aussie Godma came prepared with a huge haul of goodies for Bubs and I. Since she couldn't find the gold sequined Zara clutch that we both wanted, she got me this fabulous metallic gold threaded clutch instead. Can't wait to style it up!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

The Weirdest Food Things

Hubs says that sometimes I eat the weirdest things, like blue cheese, stinky petai and another of my quirks he can't understand is that I love chewing on chicken soft bones while at KFC. 

So I was over the moon when I found Sukhothai in Penang carrying this ...

People, I present to you: deep fried chicken soft bones, I kid you not, it's an actual dish! Popcorn sized, crunchy on the outside and chewy on the inside, this is a must have. Hubs complained that it was weird but yet, couldn't stop snacking on it.

And since we're talking about odd chicken parts, Sukhothai does a mean chicken feet kerabu salad. Trust me, it might sound gross but it has to be tried to be believed. Be warned that their version is immensely spicy and you'd need glasses of ice water after this fiery salad.

Last but not least: Lindt dark chocolate with a touch of sea salt. I know, it's mind boggling, dark chocolate with sea salt but the tiny grains of salt actually provides a nice contrast to the smooth and rich chocolate.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Favourite Books

Being a bookworm, I've always hoped that Bubs would have a love for reading and apart from buying books for myself, I can't stop wandering into the children's section at bookstores just to see what's available.

I've been reading to him nearly every day, sometimes during meal times, sometimes before bed. He doesn't have the patience for me to read it out word for word or longer stories like The Gruffalo so we mainly talk about the pictures, I ask him questions and sometimes we act out the stories together.

These are a few of his favourite books:

The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle. This copy is super special because it was mine as a kid :) It's all worn and tatty, some of the pages have been ripped but lovingly Scotch-taped back. The fun bits are of course the days of the week with the food that the caterpillar has munched holes into (I like sticking his fingers through the holes while they are still tiny) and sweet tooth Bubs loves pointing out the ice cream cone and cake.

Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown. The simple; slightly repetitive text and beautiful drawings makes this book a huge hit with Bubs. He enjoys spotting objects in the drawing (where's the comb? where's the fire?") and makes us re-read it over and over again.

Harry and the Bucketful of Dinosaurs by Ian Whybrow and Adrian Reynolds. The story and illustrations are both charming. I initially thought the book would be a bit too long for him but was surprised that it struck a chord with him. Endosaurus ;)

Moo Baa La La La by Sandra Boynton. Bubs giggles whenever we make the animal sounds together and I think his favourite line in the book is No No.

Lift the Flaps: Any children's collections wouldn't be complete with a couple of this gems. Bubs gets all excited whenever he lifts the flaps and spots things under it. He can be rough at times and ends up ripping off the entire flap but it's nothing a bit of double sided tape can't fix.

Where is Baby's Belly Button by Karen Katz. Super useful to teach toddlers about parts of your body and the drawings are so colourful and bright.

Where's Spot by Eric Hill. This is such a classic, I remember reading them in kindergarten and Bubs always gets a big cuddle and kiss at the end of the book when he finally finds Spot.

Friday, July 20, 2012


I recently found old black and white photographs at my parents' house and was so fascinated by them. There were the entire wedding album of my parents, photos that my Dad sent back home (he was studying in Melbourne back then), photos of my Mum and relatives back in the 60s. I asked my Dad heaps of questions!

This is my Dad at their old house during their wedding. My Grandma is on his right and my Great Grandma is on his left - aren't they wearing the most glamorous Nonya kebayas and sarongs with beaded slippers?

My parents at their wedding reception. Love all the details - back then they mainly used orchids as wedding flowers, Mum wore a lacey long sleeved dress (no strapess dresses!) and Dad in his suit, white shirt and skinny black tie.

I found candid photos of them during their courtship days - don't they look so young and happy?

When my Dad was studying abroad, he used to send back photos for Grandma. Everything about the photos fascinate me, including the fact that ball point pens weren't even invented and fountain pens were used to scribble at the back of the photos.

And check out this photo of Mum - doesn't she look totally rad with sky high platforms, bell bottoms and gigantic sunnies on a badass bike? She grew up on a rubber estate and bike ridding was a self taught skill. She only stopped after she fell off the bike because of her platforms!

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Fairy Godma's Visit

Fairy Godma dropped by for a very short visit in town. It's always a treat to see her even though Bubs takes like forever to warm up to her each time he sees her.

I whipped up Nigella's chocolate hot pots for her. She spent close to an hour persuading Bubs to come sit with us but he wouldn't budge and clung to Hubs's legs. After a while, we gave up and enjoyed the chocolate with a nice chat.

We finally had success when Fairy Godma and I took Bubs down to the playground. Fairy Godma was super patient with all of Bub's demands for bao bao (to be carried), for countless picking him up and lifting him on the slides, the swings, the seesaws, the bouncy animals ... At the end of it, he was slipping his little hand into hers as they walked together ;)

Fairy Godma didn't come empty handed. She had a giant parcel for Bubs's birthday which I promised not to unwrap until September. She also passed me a bunch of belated birthday pressies for me, yay!

A They Cook & Draw cookbook, crystallised ginger (yum!) and Ikea lemon ginger biscuits. I LOVE the cookbook, the illustrations and recipes range from incredibly detailed to whimsical and fun. The eye candy features recipes from around the world (Beijing Eggs, anyone?) and hilariously named ones too (Top Model Salad). I'm now hooked onto the website

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Summer Weekends

Don't you just love long, lazy weekends where the weather is so crisp and clear, it makes you want to eat lots of seasonal fruits, ice cream and hang out with a play buddy?

Our fridge is filled with fruits and we've been having them as snacks. The sugar apricots at Jusco were sooo sweet but bizarrely, Bubs, who takes to any kind of fruit, dislikes them. He loves his apochee (Bubs talk for strawberry) though. 

Couldn't resist some ice cream when we walked past the kiosk. Loved the double chocolate and dark chocolate gelato but thought the Nutella was too sweet. It was a bit of a mistake to let Bubs have some ice cream past 9pm, he went hyper with all the sugar and didn't go to bed til close to midnight that night :(

Chun was back from Sydney and his sister's son, Jon, is a year older than Bubs so we headed to her condo for some play time.

The view of the sea and the breeze were amazing. Jon has a huge toy collection so we pretty much left them to their own devices. Jon was so sunny and helpful, he kept walking around to share his toys with us while Bubs was shy.

After an hour, Jon and Bubs were getting antsy so we went down to the playground where they both ran around, exploring and playing. Nothing like a playground, fresh air and wide open spaces to get kids to break the ice ;)

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Japanese Inventions and Little Bits of Happiness

Call me domesticated (or auntie as my Baby Brother likes to put it) if you like but there's something fascinating about walking past racks of Japanese household items. The Japanese have invented solutions for every domestic conundrum possible. Hubs kept pulling out boxes, going "can you believe they came up with this?"

Take this for example. What do you do if you run out of space in your shoe closet? Buy additional stackers so you can now stack your shoes one on top of the other.

Is it a poncho? Is it a towel? Whatever it is, you'll never have wet hair hanging around your shoulders again.

Microfibre pads for you to wear on your hands and dry your pets after a bath. I was wondering who'd actually buy these until I spotted a pair at my Dad's house.

And just when you think there's nothing else a household needs, think again! Microfibre cloth sandals for you to wear and walk around the house so it cleans the floor at the same time. I was sorely tempted to get these and tie them around Bubs feet but Hubs said NO :(

How cute are these baby full moon cupcakes that my colleague brought to work? I couldn't resist the fondant and nibbled at it bit by bit until I was horrified I'd actually finished the entire fondant on the cupcake. My teammates were staring at me with fascination as I was eating the fondant because they found it too sickly sweet.

We've been having quite a few dinners together with my family. Dad loves to tease Bubs to no end and says toddlers are the best age to play with.

Dad looked mystified at the "funny flower" in his Chinese tea and kept asking us to remove it from the cup even though we told him it adds to the taste. No idea if it does or not, we just found it amusing to get him drinking something so girly ;)

I love my colourful prints and can never seem to leave Dorothy Perkins empty handed. I walked in with resolve like steel but my knees went weak when I saw this blue paisley top and the ribbon tie back.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

What We Do at the Beach

Hubs, Bubs and I had the most glorious time at Parkroyal. We fell asleep in bed, lulled by the soothing roar of the ocean. 

We woke up to this beautiful sight in the morning. Everything was fresh and washed clean by the storm during the night.

We had a yummy breakfast buffet and I wore a dress so I could eat til my heart's content and not having to worry about my jeans being too tight. Bubs ate his body weight in pancakes with maple syrup and baked beans for brekkie.

The Water Babies were in the swimming pool at every opportunity they could grab. We were incredibly lucky that the past few weeks of nasty weather and haze cleared up *fingers crossed*

And when they weren't at the pool, this was where they were at. Sand, sun and surf ... what more could a toddler ask for? ;)

They were very productive and had a kind of synergy together. Hubs would painstakingly gather water from the sea, wet the sand to build sandcastles ... and Bubs would bash them up with his little plastic spade in less than a few minutes.

Bubs discovered a liking for eating sand right off his palms. I was terrified that he'd get some kind of intestinal worm infection. He ignored my warnings to stop so instead of the Naughty Corner, Hubs dug him a Naughty Hole.

This time around, Bubs decided he was scared of the sea and would run away each time he saw a wave coming.

Friday, July 13, 2012

The Ex Files: A Wedding

Go Google "ex's wedding" and you'll find a range of articles, from news that Shakira might be attending her ex's wedding (they dated for over a decade) to the dos and don'ts of wedding etiquette when it comes to including exes on the guest lit. So .... I got a lot of arched eyebrows from friends when I mentioned that I was looking forward to attending X's wedding.

X and I parted ways years ago, it was heartbreaking at that time but we still kept in touch and we've many mutual friends. Hubs and I invited him and his then-girlfriend-now-wife to our wedding years ago and recently when X told me that they were getting married, I relentlessly pressed him into inviting not just me, but Hubs and Bubs too. Shameless should have been my middle name ;)

The wedding was held at the Parkroyal which was a bit far away from our place and since we didn't want to go through the hassle of fighting Saturday night jams with a cranky toddler in tow, we just booked a night there. Our sea view room was amazing, you could hear the roar of the ocean from the room. Parkroyal has some of the nicest gardens filled with ferns, tropical flowers and massive trees. Our friend Sue got married by that huge, moss covered tree a couple of years back in a beautiful ceremony.

Prerequisites for a fun night: sparkly clutch and shoes, the best company I can ever ask for and a couple of toddlers running free. I heart these Witchery Casey shoes so much, I've had them for years and can remember taking an hour long bus ride just to get the last pair in my size. I even wanted to wear them for my wedding until Hubs talked me out of it. I frocked up in this Zara lace tulip lace dress.

My college buddies: EL, Sue and Chun. EL, Sue and I all got married in the same year and our toddlers are around the same age. Chun is the hands down the nicest guy in college! Many a chilly winter night, he'd brave the rain/strong gusts/cold just to go to our apartment and bring us a $5 Domino pizza.

EL's daughter, Little H, and Bubs were soooo cute together! She'd go over and try to unbutton his shirt or rest her head on his chest. Sometimes Bubs would run towards her with his arms wide open and she'd retreat backwards. They spent most of the dinner sitting together with Little H feeding Bubs imaginary food on a spoon and Bubs obediently swallowing each mouthful. Now why isn't he always this cooperative during meal times? ;)

A group shot with the happily wedded couple. I loved the bride's gown 101%, the lace was divine and it fitted her beautifully.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Toddler Stuff

Dear Bubs,

   Everyday you astound me with how much you growing and learning. It seems like just in a blink of an eye (if you exclude all the crying, sleepless nights during infancy), you have changed so much from a squirmy little baby to a happy, curious and stubborn (don't believe Daddy whenever he says you inherited this from me) toddler.

   You're learning colours (kah-lar as you like to pronounce it). The cutest thing is that you know the colour but being a HUGE Sesame Street fan, you call the colour based on the name of the muppet. If you see something blue, you say Geh-gor (Grover), for red, you go Ah-mo (Elmo), yellow is Bird (Big Bird? Bert?), orange is Ernie and green is Ah-car (Oscar).

   You tend to be possessive over belongings and not a huge fan of sharing, it's something that we're working on trying to guide you and you get insanely jealous if you see me or Daddy carrying other people's babies.

  Your favourite toy of the moment is the Micro Kick scooter that Grandpa and Daddy got for you - best investment ever. You were initially scared of it because you fell off the toddler seat a few times, shouting "pom pom ahhhh (fell down)" but it took you a few months before you figured out how to coordinate your legs to push the scooter while seated.

  To encourage you to ride on it, we showed you clips of Elmo riding a bicycle and now each time you sit on the scooter, you call it your ah-gu-gal (bicycle). I guess we'll call it a scooter when you get taller and we can convert the seat to the T bar. You like to put the weirdest things under the seat of the scooter, eg: a spoon, Elmo and most recently a ball. You get extremely cross and throw a tantrum if the wheels get caught at corners and you don't know how to steer it out (again, you didn't learn impatience from me no matter what Daddy says).

  If you hurt yourself, you demand me to put krim ah (cream/lotion) on the spot that hurts. A placebo works just as well when I don't bring out any cream along with me, I've rubbed lip balm on before and it makes you happy. Sometimes I kiss the boo boo and you laugh. In fact now when Daddy or I hurt myself, you come over and kiss the injured spot for us - a toddler's kiss does cure everything :)

Love you lots, baby darling,

Sunday, July 8, 2012

3 Combination Chicken at Jalan Tengah

The 3 Combination Chicken at Jalan Tengah is a hidden gem here in Penang. While most of the famous chicken rice stalls are located in town, this is tucked away in a quiet coffee shop all the way at Bayan Lepas and is popular with locals and office staff closeby during lunch time. It's a strictly no frills kinda coffee shop without air conditioning but it's quite clean if you don't mind the occasional fly or two buzzing around and some customers might smoke, especially if they're sitting outside.

The owner was a little camera shy and deftly swerved out while still chopping the chicken when he saw me snapping this photo. Hubs say it'd be my fault if he lost a finger :(

I could wax lyrical about the chicken rice all day long. There are 2 choices of chicken: steamed or roasted. My pick is always the steamed chicken as it's more tender and juicy. I'm a huge fan of the classic 3 combination: steamed chicken, crispy roast pork belly (siew bak) and barbequed pork (char siew) and it's a must have to eat this with a generous topping of spring onions, sliced cucumbers and additional gravy. You also get a generous bowl of soup of the day which varies from cabbage to black bean soups.

And the iced coffee! I'm not usually a coffee drinker but I make an exception for this as it's one of the best I've had at a kopitiam, thick and incredibly rich. I get a real buzz if I were to gulp this down on an empty stomach.

If you need further convincing that you should go out of your way to try eating at the coffee shop, the neighboring stall makes a really mean assam fish. The soup is slightly similar to assam laksa and adds a nice kick.

After an incredibly satisfying meal, make sure you leave room for egg tarts at Amigo Bakery which is a 3 minute drive away. Don't be fooled by the fluorescent green of the custard filling, these egg tarts are meant to be savored slowly for every single bite of their sweet creaminess.

Friday, July 6, 2012

The Ultraman Party

I was trying to explain what Ultraman is to an Australian and he was confused. I think I didn't do a good job because I totally didn't get the idea of Ultraman as a child - I was more into Jem, She-Ra and good ol' Barbie ;) My Baby Brother, on the other hand, was bonkers about Ultraman when he was growing up and would watch the tapes over and over again.

Nat, my friend Kelly's 3 year old, absolutely loves Ultraman and gets his dad to tells him Ultraman stories. For his birthday, his parents threw him an Ultraman themed party!

Every little boy's dream come true - Ultraman cupcakes AND goodie bags. Can I tell you how good the frosting on the cupcakes were? Not that I ate the entire frosting, which would be realllllly sugary and terrible for me, right? *shifty eyes*

Will you just take a look at how insanely cute the baby Ultraman cake is?

If you need further proof, look at all the kids were crowding around it, taking sneak peeks and trying to get as close as possible to it without the grownups warning them about smudging the cream frosting.

The big kids brought along their big toys to play with. Hi Hubs!

Balloons and little kids are always a win-win situation. The helium filled balloons kept getting stuck in the air vents and I was tired of having to jump to pull it down for Bubs so I just tied the string around his belt loop. He was so annoyed by it and kept trying to pull it off him but my knot was pretty tight so he went around everywhere with a balloon floating on top of him ;)

The birthday boy cutting his cake. All the kids were having so much fun with the balloons, each other and hyped up on sugar. Me thinks if you could harness all their energy, you would probably be able to power up a generator for a small town.

Happy Birthday Nathan! Thanks so much for having us and Bubs definitely had the time of his life there.

A Mid Week Dinner Date

Usually the first thing I want to do after work on week days is to head home and just chill. I realised that I was getting stuck in a rut and what we needed was a mid week dinner date! Even though technically Bub would be tagging along with us on our date but given that he's a pretty easy going companion and shows enthusiasm over everything ("Bus! *claps* "Stairs!" *more clapping*), it would still be a fun date ;)

The idea was for us to go to Mum-In-law's place, pick up Bubs and have dinner at a place where the food is toddler friendly and passes my neurotic health freak mummy standards.

It was pouring cats, dogs, wombats and other creatures by the time we left the office. The rain was so heavy with gusts of strong wind that our umbrella was useless. 

Which was probably the wrong day to wear a white cotton skirt with china blue print. When we were walking across the car park against the pelting rain, I took a look down at my skirt and holy cripes! The whole thing was not only just soaked through, it was transparent. I couldn't wait to get into the car.

As usual, whenever there is a storm in Penang, all the roads become congested and Hubs gets all grumpy. It took us a while before we got to O'Briens which has just opened opposite Queensbay. I love a good sandwich and was previously raving about O'Briens when we were in KL so I was ecstatic when they finally opened a branch here.

 The gourmet sandwiches aren't exactly cheap (around RM15 for a plate) but there are a myriad of fresh ingredients ranging from varieties of cheese, pesto, sun dried tomatoes and even ciabatta bread. I think the foodie in me was in gourmet heaven trying to narrow down a choice.

We had the swiss tuna melt, sun dried tomatoes ciabatta and a Peach Blush smoothie (RM12). In case you're wondering, those are Bubs's fingers as he grabbed the potato crisps and stuffed them into his mouth before I shouted a horrified nooooo. We ended up eating the rest of the crisps to stop him from pinching any more.

The sandwiches were really good and since we'd to share them with a picky toddler that decided he didn't like them at first, only to demand "more!" when they were all gone, we ordered more ;) I think the manager was surprised with our ginormous appetites when he asked us if we wanted to takeaway the additional sandwiches and we said no thanks.

The club sandwich and chicken cheddar shambo (the bread is supposed to be in the shape of an Irish shamrock) were delish though Bubs made sure his sandwich was lettuce free.

For their opening launch in Penang, a few of their popular sandwiches are priced at RM10 for a limited period of time. Hubs was shaking his head, astounded that we spent RM52 on just sandwiches but they were pretty yummy. Free wifi is available :)
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