Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Cozy in the Rocket Cafe, Penang

The proprietors of Amelie Cafe (which has since closed) are back in business with their new offering, Cozy in the Rocket. How does it compare? If Amelie Cafe was the shy little sibling with ribbons in her long plaits, Cozy in the Rocket is the chic older sis with a bohemian air.

This is not your usual heritage house styled cafe. Gone are the celing fans spinning lazily above and dingy, cramped tables. The inside of Cozy in the Rocket is large, spacious even with its cement-finished floor and exposed brickwork walls. A cool blast of air con greets you as you enter and thankfully, there are 2 separate sections: smoking (indoors) and non smoking in a charming garden patio next door. Fresh blooms in glass jars add a touch of whimsy to the place.

If I'm not mistaken, I think the owners did most of the artwork themselves. Can you spot the cool tongue in cheek triptych above?

The huge bar with colourful enamel tin mugs hanging above. Drinks, small bites and dolci (sweets) menu are chalked on the blackboard behind the polished cement counter. Mains are on a separate blackboard.

The garden with some tables outside is easily accessible from within the cafe. It's quite a cheerful little place.

I found the use of a vintage enamel mug as a cutlery holder really cute though I wondered where they found those F&N glass tumblers which were still in good condition? The mocha was deliciously rich though Hubs wished there was a larger serving of it - it was that good!

On to the food - their pastas are freshly made by hand, which is a rarity in Penang and range from around RM21 - RM25 with a choice of spaghetti or gnocchi. Hubs picked the aglio olio with German sausage. He thought the dish was nice though nothing special, the spicy German sausages added a spicy kick. On the other hand, I adored the mushroom and truffle oil gnocchi which was served in a decadent, white cream sauce. It was the ultimate comfort food. It's a little on the pricey side given the size of the portions but bear in mind that you are paying for fresh pasta and quality ingredients.

Happiness in a glass - well, its real name is chocolate hazelnut ricotta pudding but to merely label it delicious is an understatement. Topped with toasted hazelnuts, it was delicately flavoured and had generous shards of chocolate hidden within it. We were scrapping off the very last bits of this yummy-licious dessert and deciding who gets to have the last mouthful - naturally Bubs won of course :p

Cozy in the Rocket
Address: 262 & 264, Lebuh Pantai, George Town, Penang.
Tel: +6012 496 7838
Opening hours: 10am-5pm
Closes on every Monday

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Full Moon & Moon Sand

Glam Girl celebrated one month of mummy-hood by throwing baby Jacob a full moon celebration. It was a low key dinner at her mum's place where a bunch of colleagues and high school pals showed up. Had so much fun chatting with them, just like old times :)

I'm impressed at how Glam Girl's mum cooked up a storm. Look at all those delectable Nonya styled goodies! The chicken curry was absolutely stellar - rich, creamy and strongly spiced with generous chunks of potato and tender pieces of chicken. Both her mum and I used bread to mop up the remains of the curry, mmmmm ...

Bubs polished off his plate - no complaints from him either :D Glam Girl had a pack of balloons on hand and all kids wanted their own. Kids + getting to pick their choice of balloon colours & size = win-win situation.

The cake with a super cute "Yey we made it!" message probably sums up how every parent feels after their baby has hit the one month milestone. Wish I'd thought of this cake back then!

I was browsing around online and found an very interesting toy - moon sand, it promises to be completely squishable, moldable and doesn't dry out. Unfortunately, I couldn't find a local retailer for this and though the closest is in Singapore, I don't think my Mum would be happy if I asked her to cart back a few kilos of sand in her luggage for me.

In the end, I used a simple DIY recipe here. It's basically 8 cups of flour and 1 cup of baby oil - you could half the recipe if you just want a small batch to start out with first.

The original moon sand promised to be completely mess free but I still wasn't taking any chances and popped him into a small inflatable pool on our balcony to contain as much mess as possible. Bubs had so much fun! I gave him a bunch of bowls, spoons and some small toys. He squished, he squashed, he did everything short of eating it :D

Friday, February 22, 2013

Fashion Friday: Dressing Like a Parisian

I stumbled upon Caitlin McGauley's blog and was charmed by all the beautiful, watercolour illustrations.

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I fell head over heels with this quirky guide on how to style like a Parisian and hopefully achieve some of that je ne sais quoi chic *hearts* I'm finding #4 (pearl necklace + tee), #9 (pencil skirt + ballet flats) and #10 (jeans + gem encrusted sandals) particularly inspiring.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

The Daily Dose, Penang

The Daily Dose is a rustic cafe housed in a sleepy 1920s rose pink corner shoplot between the bustling streets of Carnarvon Street and Chulia Street. To make it a whole lot easier for Penangites to find it, let me just tell you that it's a couple of doors down from the popular Tek Sen restaurant. 

The interior is a wedge of haven from the heat and traffic outside. Colourful paintings, mismatched wooden furnishings and embroidered pennants add an arty vibe to the tiny cafe that offers Mediterranean styled salads, sandwiches, drinks and desserts. There is also an extensive wine menu (chalked on the blackboard, of course). No MSG and mayo are used here.

We initially wanted to order 3 sandwiches but the waiter talked us out of it, saying that it would be too filling so we settled on the Grilled Cheese and Cubano sandwiches. It'd be nice if the sandwiches had a little side serving of salad or a sprinkle of chips but we've no complaints about the quality of them. Think of it as a more homemade and funky version of O Briens. I was surprised that Bubs aka Master No-Veggie-Please ate the Grilled Cheese with gusto, considering that it had onions and rocket in it. I enjoyed stealing bites from Hubs's Cubano which had a nice tang in its pickles, mustard and ham. 

I was still feeling peckish and had a cup of the Aztec posole soup. It came served with a slice of lime and topped with fresh coriander and shredded purple cabbage. Spicy and sour, it reminded me of a Mexican tom yum, lol, but with roast pork chunks and beans. 

Bubs gave a 2 thumbs up (though it looks as though he's clenching his fists!) for the Mexican ice lolly. They ran out of watermelon so he had mango and ginger. He generously let me have a few licks and I liked how refreshing the mango was and the ginger added a very subtle spiciness to it.

A CNY new dress, the Dorothy Perkins multi floral prom dress - in my defense, I'd a cash voucher for it plus loved how it looked on my cousin who's also a huge DP fan.

With free wifi, polite and friendly wait staff, it was tempting to spend the whole afternoon lazing there - apart from the fact that there was a couple smoking at the table next to us :( There are tables provided outside on the shady veranda, I didn't liked it that they had to light up indoors.

Address: 8C, Lebuh Carnarvon, George Town, Penang.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Clarisonic Mia: a Review

I've been using the Clarisonic Mia for a month plus now and ......... it's a keeper for me!

It has a hefty price tag but I can honestly say it's pretty worth it. True to what Hubs mentioned, it feels like I'm using an electric toothbrush on my face, but a high speed oscillating bigger version that gently massages and yet makes your skin feels squeaky clean. It comes with a cool magnetic charger that I spent quite some time snapping it on and off repeatedly *tee hee* I'm easily amused like that ;)

Mine is the original Clarisonic Mia, not the Mia 2. The major differences between the Mia and the new Mia 2 would be that Mia 2 has a choice of 2 speeds and a beep to remind you to move on to the next part of your skin - which again, sounds a lot like an electric toothbrush! 

I don't have sensitive skin and wanted to get the normal brush head but the sales associate talked me out of it, saying that they generally only recommend the normal brush head for men so I went with the sensitive skin brush head. My skin type used to be normal until after I stopped breastfeeding a couple of months back and that was when all hell broke loose. I started getting angry red blemishes that take ages to subside - the term "pizza face" is a bit of an understatement here :( I'm letting it be for a while and crossing my fingers hoping that there wouldn't be much acne scarring.

From all of the reviews I've read - it's best to use it with a foaming cleanser and not to overuse the Clarisonic Mia. Some people use it once a day, some use it on alternate days, others complain about breakouts. I decided not to further tax my skin and used it every 2 days with the Sukin Foaming Facial Cleanser. I like how it doesn't aggravate my acne and my skin feels smoother - either that or my hand is still feeling the aftereffects of the powerful oscillation and is tricked into thinking that my face is softer :P   

After each use, I rinse it, remove the brush head and let both dry out of the bathroom. I found a handy hint online: turn the Clarisonic on again after using it and let it scrub into a towel for a few minutes, this will help remove all the water in it. While my skin is still damp, I follow up with a couple of drops of Melvita Argan Oil or Trilogy Rosehip Oil.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Fashion Friday: CNY Outfits

A quick breakdown of all my CNY outfits that I've been hoarding since last year.

I was umm-ing about the Dorothy Perkins lace pencil dress for the longest time. The last time I tried it on, it was too tight on me but one size larger swamped me. The solution? Luckily it was offered in the petite range so I took 2 sizes up from what I usually wear plus it was on 50% off. How could I possibly say no? ;) It's a deep hunter green in real life but comes up as teal blue in photos. It's all sold out now but this is pretty similar. The lace is so soft though I'm terrified to bits about snagging it.

Grey ruffle sleeve tee and Topshop Leigh jeans in pink. Aussie Godma initially asked me to get her a pair since it was sold out in Sydney. I wasn't too keen on it but after months of staring at it in my wardrobe while it patiently awaited her return, I grew to covet it. I still wasn't keen on the price tag - it seemed a bit too much to pay at full price for coloured jeans which I'm sure will go out of fashion (or has it already gone out?). Again, the shopping gods took pity on me. Topshop had it on sale at 50% off. Yay!

Dorothy Perkins coral bonded lace panelled top and a blue skirt. You'd think that after scoring so many pieces during sales, I could patiently wait for this to be discounted ... nah! I'm enamoured by the bright, fun colour and the bonded lace. It's exactly the same pattern and fabric as the previous Dorothy Perkins dress I've gotten. 

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

DIY Valentine's Gift

For the extra special person in your life that has nearly everything and you can't think of anything else to gift, why not consider making them customised vouchers? The last time I made Hubs some vouchers, I made it out for things that he'd enjoy, eg: a back massage, 60 minutes of computer gaming time free from any nagging/whining, an escape pass from doing the dishes ... Of course I was sneaky enough to add in terms and conditions such as booking period of 24 hours in advance required, the management reserves the right to amend the vouchers without any prior notice ;)

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I love how Quiet Like Horses designed a really fancy Build A Fun Day custom order form and even has a free printable for you to come up with your own version. You could include fun activities like playing paintball, going to the movies, etc. 

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If you'd like to make even more special, A Beautiful Mess has a DIY tutorial on making your own rustic looking clipboard (that you can use to attach your Build A Fun Day form) from wood. Wouldn't it be fun to then use the clipboards to display photos of that fun day out together?

Monday, February 11, 2013

Gong Xi Fa Chai!

Happy Chinese New Year, folks!

We've been snacking on lots of these. Bubs is still trying to decide if he likes mandarins or not which is surprising to me as he usually loves sweet fruits, though we once caught him sneakily sinking his teeth into an entire mandarin, peel and all, and trying to slurp the "soup" (Bubs talk for juice) out.

And also handing out lots of these. 

Have you been eating your body weight in steamboat goodies? Hubs's family loves steamboats and could eat them for all 15 days of Chinese New Year! I devoured all kinds of fresh mushrooms but Hubs is a dumpling kinda guy. Bubs will gulp down bowls full of rice if we top them with tofu and fish for him - we also sneakily shred veggies for the steamboat in his food for him.

This was me on Chinese New Year's eve - I very wisely chose a peplum stretchy top so I could eat a lot and hide my tummy ;)

We headed to my parents' house for reunion lunch.

Reunion dinner was at Hubs's parents' place. Bubs was really stoked to have lunch and dinner at both grandparents' houses and soaked in all the attention from them.

On the first day of CNY, my parents had an open house for relatives. I'm wore the the teal and fuchsia cheongsam that Aussie Godma and I got together online. It was a snug fit - a sign that I should stop grazing on CNY snacks!

All the yummy food - check out the roti jala and chicken curry Mum made. These are always a crowd pleaser and Bubs kept asking for more of them.

Bubs was pleased as punch in his Elmo tee, since it was bright red, I figured it'd be cute for him to wear it. Baby V looked so cute in her cheongsam! The two cousins were so shy around each other though.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Fashion Friday: Floral Perfection

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Statement necklace + floral skirt = perfection! 

Love that pared down makeup by just focusing on the winged eyeliner and how the ruby red platform pumps complements the necklace. 

I must get a statement necklace stop shopping. 

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Shopping with Aussie Godma & Baby V's 1st Baby

Aussie Godma came back to Penang for Chinese New Year and was jet legged but I dragged her out for some bonding with Bubs and retail therapy. Can you believe that even though she only had a couple of hours sleep literally, she still washed and peeled lychees and cherries and hand fed Bubs in the car? Both his Godmas spoil him royally!

I broke my shopping ban because it was difficult to hold onto your wallet when you're shopping with what I call an "enabler". Somehow when I'm shopping with gal pals, I just end up splurging because girl friends will always tell you that it looks good on you and you should just get it ;) Shopping with Hubs, on the other hand, is an exercise in guilt. "Do you really need another pair of heels?"

Darn right I do!

My shopping loot: Dorothy Perkins bonded lace paneled top in coral. Couldn't resist an orange pair of strappy heels (it also comes in Tiffany blue, sighhhhh ...) and black slips ons (I was dithering over this or mint). The mid heel height is perfect for an entire day in the office or hitting the mall for hours.

It's scary how Aussie Godma and me both have such similar tastes in fashion. We picked up that exact Dorothy Perkins coral top and ended up buying one each. We also bought the same slip ons!

One of the goodies she carted for me from down under. T2 Take Me To Australia boxed set collection of loose leaf tea - Daintree, Melbourne Breakfast and Aussie Breakfast. A not so subtle hint to make a return trip back, huh? ;) The gorgeous mint green and sunshine yellow box with intricate cut outs and a yellow, beaded tassel just makes me smile each time I see it.

It was Baby V's 1st birthday party in the evening so we headed over with Uncle M. Can I tell you that Uncle M makes the best babysitter? I told him to keep an eye on Bubs who was in the playground while I was chatting to people. When I turned around, both Uncle M and Bubs were on the little cubby house together. Why? Uncle M was scared his nephew might fall from it and hurt himself so he tagged along behind just to make sure, LOL.

Loved the party decorations and the beautifully crafted fondant cake. Happy birthday, little V!

Monday, February 4, 2013

Beating the Monday Blues: a Chipmunk & his Teddy Bear

Just a few more days to Chinese New Year and for those that aren't celebrating it, a nice long weekend! If that isn't enough to cheer you up, then these pictures of a chipmunk cuddling a teddy bear might do the trick :D

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The little furry visitor (the chipmunk, not the teddy bear) is a frequent visitor at photographer Betsy Seeton's home and stumbled upon the stuffed toy she left outside her home for him.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

February is Going to be a Month of ...

Birthday pressies for people: Bub's cousin's first birthday, Fairy Godma's and Aussie Godma's too. Well, technically Aussie Godma's birthday isn't until a couple of months later but she'll be in Penang so it'll be an early one for her. Hubs is amazed with how much I've improved my present wrapping skills (self made paper pom poms and all, can't help but brag a little here, tee hee) considering that I used  newspaper to wrap gifts for him last time ;)

I've a confession to make. I'm a bit of a klepto whenever I'm at my Dad's house. I'm the type that will raid his fridge for food to steal, help myself to things like boxes of tissue paper, etc ... heck, I even steal plastic bags from him to carry away my loot ;) Look what I've pinched this time; a potted ket lah (calamansi) tree! Hubs had a hard time carting this one up to our place, it was sooo heavy while Bubs was dancing around and shouting "oranges!"

Peanut candy:  a friend's mum makes these wonderful gems that are dangerously addictive. They've just the right touch of sugar, the peanuts are still fresh and I love how crunchy they are when you bite into them, like little pieces of happiness melting in your mouth. Hubs and I can't stop popping into the kitchen to munch on these. I refuse to let Bubs eat these because I don't want him hooked onto candy (ironic, isn't it - coming from me?) so I scare him off by telling him that these are spicy.
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