Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Boosting the Retail Economy

I'd told myself after my earlier spree that I needed to Cut Back and just Quit Shopping.

Famous last words ;)

My Singaporean friend Stacey was such an enabler and it was just so hard to say no to her ... plus someone's gotta stimulate the retail economy since it's such a tough job *sigh*

I lost my last Fresh sugar lip treatment and as it has become a beauty essential, I needed a new one. Xmas is the best time of the year to get beauty products because of all the gift sets. I was thrilled to see a mini trio of sugar lip treatments all in shades that I'd never tried before at Sephora.

It's been a while since I stepped into Padini as I always thought they stocked just work wear but after seeing Stacey getting this very Massimo Dutti-sih navy top, I couldn't resist. The quality is phenomenal, it is thick fabric and has a caramel lining inside with zipper details at both ends of the 3/4 sleeves and the back of the top. It is slightly cropped so I need to to make sure I'm not exposing a muffin top when wearing this with low rise jeans.

We had an invitation for a Bollywood themed wedding so in addition to a saree, I thought these skinny gold H&M bangles would be perfect. This is just one set and I found it was enough to be used on both hands. I can see myself wearing these on weekends too, maybe not the whole stack at one go though.

Arm candy is always tricky for me. I've always liked it on other people but I've never had much luck at replicating the look myself until I saw Stacey picking them out at Padini. Mixing metals is something that divides the masses. I'm a Joiner in this case :D

This pair of Opera ankle strap open toed heels shall be officially my last shoe purchase for 2013. They kind of remind me of the Zara ones and they also come in my favourite shade of mint green but Stacey kept persuading me to go with these all black ones instead. I've been eschewing heels for a while since Bubs goes through a clingy phase where he insists on being carried but I couldn't say no to these. Plus every purchase of RM50 at Opera gives you a RM5 voucher which you can use on top of member cards for a 10% discount. Stacey, it's all your fault :p

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Whirlwind Tour of Penang

It's been at least 16 years since I last saw Stacey and Lynn. Whenever people asked how we met, it's a little hard to explain plus I always get incredulous looks. In a nutshell, we all won a trip of a lifetime to France when we were all teenagers and have kept in touch ever since. Amazing, isn't it? I swear I'm not making this up!

Stacey flew over from Singapore for Sabrina's wedding and since she had 36 hours to kill in Penang, I gamely volunteered to be her guide. Initially, Hubs scoffed that Stacey wouldn't be doing much shopping, after all, wouldn't the shopping in Singapore be much better? Let's just say that the amount of shopping that we did together requires a separate post by itself ;)

We picked her up from the Penang airport and went straight off for Balik Pulau laksa and these steamed delectables: gula melaka buns. I think Balik Pulau is probably the only place you can find these nowadays. Stacey was fascinated with the iced umpela drink - I was more fascinated with the fact that umpela or nutmeg drinks can't be found in Singapore, lol.

After a quick spot of shopping at Gurney Paragon (where she proceeded to buy the entire Padini store), we headed for Sabrina's wedding which had an amazing Bollywood theme. Here we are in my red saree and Stacey's hip white and silver chiffon saree. My cousin very kindly gave me her saree material and the tailor had to pre-sew it for me so I wouldn't need to tie it myself. I am really tempted to recycle it again for Chinese New Year, after all, it is bright red :)


The next morning, brunch was teochew chendul, more assam laksa and char koay teow at Penang Road. Since it was a scorcher of a day, we gladly paid extra for the chendul to be delivered inside the coffee shop.

We then went through some of the labyrinthine streets of Georgetown which in retrospect, probably isn't the wisest thing to do on a blazing hot afternoon. I think we both ended up with muggy headaches and I can feel more freckles popping out on my cheeks :(


No matter how many times I walk through these streets, I always pause at the wonder that is Georgetown, this beautiful melting pot of culture where old meets new.

We randomly went into a pre war houses converted into quirky stores selling all kinds of souvenirs. I can't remember the name of this 100 year old shop house in Armenian Street but it was quite an interesting place, stocking tongue in cheek mementos and what was cool about this shop was that it allowed you to (very carefully) go upstairs to have a look at how people used to live there, free of charge and no purchase required. Stacey pointed out these old school Japanese paper dolls where you could change their outfits with the fold on tabs. I've such happy memories of playing with these and loving them to bits because the dolls had such sparkly eyes and funky wardrobes.

No visit to Penang is complete without some cakes at China House. We met up with Lynn there and had a good girly chat. China House is known for its funky pieces of art and this sand sculpture of a Christmas tree was no exception, though I've to admit I made a certain 3 year old stand far away from it in case of accidents :p As always, trying to pick just one cake from the selection at China House was close to impossible. Plus I love going there to look at the unique selections to get baking inspiration.

The sun was slowly setting and it was the perfect time to visit the Chew jetty. We saw a couple of people relaxing at the edge with some paper and pencils, sketching the sunset while the ocean breeze gentle tugged at their hair.

We ended the whirlwind tour with dinner at Pulau Tikus market for lok lok and Stacey was whisked back to the airport clutching packets of putu mayung and putu piring firmly in her hand amidst admonitions not to exclaim too loudly that the prices for Penang food were as cheap as chips ;)

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Merry Xmas!

We're sticking to our tradition of getting additional ornaments each year for the tree with a heavy emphasis on affordable and non-breakable ones.This year, Fairy Godma got us some really good Ikea finds in the forms of fabric birds and bright red mushrooms. I know, everyone has been giving me grief about why am I hanging mushrooms on a Christmas tree but don't you think the spots of red make the tree look extra cheerful and festive? I also found red and gold glitter ribbon at Daiso and Hubs was roped in (pun intended) to garland the tree with that.

The pine cones were either pilfered borrowed from our neighbour's pine tree or from my parent's previous house's tree. It's funny when I was growing up in the old house, I never gave a second glance to the old pine tree growing outside but now that they've sold the place, I've been back to pick up the forlorn looking pine cones on the ground.

When Hubs and I first got together, he wanted to get me a Christmas present but I told him since neither of us celebrates Christmas, it's a meaningless sign of mass commercialism for us. I guess I've to eat my words now :) As Bubs is bigger, all that I want is to see the sense of joy and wonder on his face so this year, we relented and got him a present.

Come Christmas morning, Bubs gobbled down his breakfast cereal before hurriedly asking if he could open his presents. There were a few from family and friends and he felt each one, shook it a few times before ripping the wrapping off. Even cynical ol' me couldn't help but smile at how delighted he was. Merry Christmas to all and to all, a good night :) 

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Twas the Night Before Christmas

Bubs was less than pleased about having to share his precious stash of chocolate cookies with Santa and kicked up such a fuss. Can't wait to see the look on his face tomorrow when he sees all the pressies left under the tree :)

Wishing everyone a Merry Christmas and world peace to all.

Shopping the Year End Sales

I was priding myself on how good I was lately to avoid the shops. Until I thought how bad would it be to just step inside a shop or two to have a peek. After all, the sales assistants would be lonely if no one went in ... right?

Ooooh look here - the SALE signs hanging all over a couple of my favourite haunts. *deep breaths* be cool. I'll just have a little look inside then go out of the shop. Hmmm ... maybe it wouldn't hurt to just try on something on sale just for fun now, would it? Okay, I think I sort of went overboard here a little. On the bright side, at least I've my Chinese New Year clothes sorted out ;)


I hardly shop at Warehouse because most of their clothing are way out of my budget even though I'm a huge fan of their classic cuts and beautiful prints. I was elated to find this striped bodycon frock at the 50% off rack. I think the round necklace, tiny cap sleeves and knee-length make it conservative enough to wear to the office and the long, gold exposed zipper at the back adds a little Victoria Beckham touch to it.

Hubs and I do not see eye to eye over my fetish for vintage-y, floral prints. He described this pencil skirt as something that wouldn't be amiss on an old granny's sarong :( I still thought it was a good buy at the MNG sale and can't wait to wear this with a white tee and a glam necklace.

In my defense for this splurge at Dorothy Perkins, they were having a 15% off for any 2 items purchased and I also had a RM25 voucher so I happily waltzed out of the store with these. I got an black and white fan print top that had cheery spots of orange on it and a striped top that had some faux leather detailing. I plan to wear these with coloured denim for a fuss free days. Here's a guilty confession: see that inky frock in bonded lace? I have the same frock in navy and white and adore the tulip skirt so much, that I couldn't resist getting another one this year in a darker shade so it'd be more versatile.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Play at Home Activities Part 2

Remember when I mentioned that Hubs abhors bugs of any kind so he really frowns upon Bubs playing with messy stuff at home? I've finally found a sensorial activity that gets Hub's approval.

Tadaaaa - coloured salt. Cheap as ... well, salt and Hubs reasoned that since no insect in their right mind would feast on salt, it's a safe activity to play indoors.

It was so easy to make, I poured a pack of salt in a jar, asked Bubs to pick a colour, squeezed a few drops of food colouring into the salt. I scrunched the salt around with my hand to spread the colour evenly and wait for it to dry uncovered in a large tray. The more drops of colouring you use, the more vivid the colour of the salt will be and takes slightly longer to dry.

Bubs went crazy over this sensorial activity. We traced out letters with our fingers in the salt which was a good pre-writing exercise. I even found it soothing myself to just let my hands sift through the coloured salt.

I gave Bubs some seashells, matchbox cars and he had so much fun vroom-ing the cars over mini sand dunes. By adding some plastic cutlery and cupcake liners, he sat there intensely scooping the salt into cupcakes, carefully placing them into a muffin pan and pouring the salt over the buried cars repeatedly.

Imagination Tree has so many fantastic and easy ideas so I borrowed this straw blown painting activity.

All you need are diluted paints (can I wax lyrical about my love for Crayola again?) and a straw. I usually buy the cheapest drawing blocks I can find though I wished I'd purchased some thicker ones for this art activity. The watery paint was a bit too heavy for the paper and I'd to remind Bubs to be gentle as not to tear holes into it.

Bubs found it to be such a novel experience using his breath paint, instead of a paintbrush. Take a deep breath ... then pufffffffff! He experimented with short huffs and looooong, hard blows. There were dots of paint, splashes, streaks and beautiful trickles all over the paper.

Fairy Godma gave Bubs his very own Elmo CD player and my heart swells a little each time I see him run to get it out, pop a CD inside it and sit there listening contently to the music while nodding his head.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Bub's Bedroom: a Sneak Peek

Here's a little confession: we've been such slack parents that it took us 3 years to get Bub's bedroom ready. By the time it was ready, we've skipped past the nursery stage to the little kid room now.

Hubs painted all the walls himself (bless you, darling!). We tried letting Bubs pick a colour for his room but he kept changing his mind every 5 minutes. "Blue ... no, gween ... no, wait, I want owange ..., I want blue! Can I have a yellow woom pwease?" We ended up picking a mid sea blue which felt very tranquil.

Since Bubs has both eczema and sinusitis, we wanted his room to be very minimal and fuss free. As much as I love how rugs would soften up the look of a room, I didn't want a dust mite party there so the floor is bare tiles which makes it a lot easier to clean. Not a huge fan of build in wardrobes but we needed the storage space for all his toys. 

I really wanted a bunk bed but since there isn't an Ikea in Penang, Hubs baulked at the idea of paying the lorry to drive all the way out just to deliver a bed. In the end, we settled on a trundle bed which has a mini storage space on the headboard for him to keep all his little boy treasures. I can imagine the trundle bed coming in very handy for sleepovers.

This free template here was used for the Pacman garland and I liked the idea of books as moveable art so the Ikea Ribba ledge came in handy to display some well loved picture books. See that Very Hungry Caterpillar book? It belonged to me when I was not much older than Bubs and I'm thrilled to be able to share that with him now :) 

Bubs chilling out in his room :)

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Staying at Home

Now school holidays have started, I've been cooking up some stay/play-at-home activities in an effort to minimise screen time for Bubs and keep us all sane.

Remember this old gem? Potato stamping was what every school kid in the 80s did. Hubs carved the potato halves and Bubs picked his own colours.

In case you can't tell what these are: Hubs etched out a scary face and a turtle - long story. This kept him (Bubs, not Hubs) occupied for a while.

Bubs is also obsessed with play dough. Though I've tried making my own play dough, the texture is flaky and leaves little bits of crumbs all over the place which annoys Hubs to no end so Hubs doesn't mind shelling out dough (pun intended) for commercial play dough. I do get very anal about mixing colours so I usually let Bubs play with just 1 colour at a time until the whole jar just dries out.

Inspired by this blog post, we're also learning numbers by using play dough. I sketched out a tree and Bubs picked a number. He then rolled play dough into mini apples to go onto the tree and carefully counted the number of apples required.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Xmas Festival

Bub's school had a small Xmas party on the last day of school and parents were encouraged to bring a potluck dish each. No prizes for guessing who made gingerbread men ;) Though to make it more palatable to children, I used less molasses and followed the sugar amount in the recipe (I usually cut down on the sugar when baking for Bubs). I also added a small variety of shapes with a heart and star cookie cutter.

The teachers were so sweet, they had a hand sewn star baby felt ornament with personalised names on each one for all the children.

All the children were then invited to hang their stars on a tree in the garden. It was so simple yet so pretty. I loved the colourful effect!

There was some story telling, caroling and the older children did a dance around the tree, followed by snack time. One of the parents made a super cute Santa out of strawberries, banana slices and some chocolate sauce. This was a hit and quickly disappeared.

It was nice to chat with the teachers and I was pleasantly surprised when they mentioned that he is polite and easy going at school. I think they have yet to experience a full blown Bubs tantrum, lol. 

Friday, December 13, 2013

DIY Ornaments

I've been wanting to make salt dough ornaments with Bubs to hang on the tree but the various recipes that we've tried turned out very crumbly and living in a tropical country means that we're very paranoid of attracting all kinds of bugs to dried up dough. A friend came to the rescue by giving us some Daiso white clay.

It was a bit dry and crumbly so I sprinkled a bit of water, rolled it out and used Bub's play dough cutters to cut a couple of hearts and a gingerbread man, used a straw to carefully poke a hole at the top. I then left it out to dry overnight.

When it was dry, Bubs went to work right away with his paints and brush carefully by staying within the lines. I was a little taken aback at how neatly he completed his task without making too much of a mess.

We used glitter glue again to jazz up the ornaments. I think I've a fetish for glitter glue now ;) Hubs drew the features on the gingerbread man. We then threaded a red ribbon (recycled from Bub's birthday cake) through the hole and Bubs happily hung it on the tree.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...