Sunday, March 31, 2013

Happy Easter Weekend

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Hope everyone is having a happy Easter weekend :) I'm taking advantage of the fact that it's a public holiday in most of my work counterpart's countries so my work inbox would be less hectic than usual.

I'm astounded by how pretty these pastel eggs are and if that doesn't catch your attention, then the fact that they are filled with cake, yes, you read that right, cake! Complete with a coloured "yolk" as part of its filling. Wouldn't these be a beautiful and literally fun filled surprise for someone?

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Weekend in Peek-tures

It's a bit late in the middle of the week to post weekend snapshots but looking back, this is making me more keen than ever for the upcoming weekend to start asap!

The Big Bad Wolf book sale hit Penang again and it was epic! There were more varieties, a bigger hall space and that translated to an even larger crowd. Large print paper backs were priced from RM8 and I was thrilled to spot a copy of Alexander McCall Smith's The Saturday Big Tent Wedding which I have been scouring local bookshops around for ages. I usually don't indulge in cook books (Hubs's words of wisdom - why buy when you can get free inspiration online) but Nigella Lawson books were selling from RM20 to RM30 so I ended up with a couple of copies.

Remember I mentioned that I sometimes stalk the kids department for cheap and cutesy clothing in my size? People, I have stooped to a new low. I was following a guy friend shopping at TopMan and stumbled upon a row of bargain buy priced shorts for guys. These were nicely tailored, fully lined, had a funky print and size 28 in men's sizing was a nice fit on me. It's not micro tiny, has a boyish cut so I snapped one up :D

J, my college friend, got married and she has to be the most sporting bride - for their first dance, they did Oppa Gangnum style complete in a full length ball gown! I also had fun meeting up with an old college mate which I haven't seen in at least two decades (gosh, that makes me sound ancient).

Bubs found the trishaw outside the ballroom fascinating.

Oppa Gangnum style.

Hubs was such a good sport about looking after Bubs most of the time so I could chat with friends all night long :)

Monday, March 25, 2013

Beating the Monday Blues: Matteo and the Marmots

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These pictures of eight year old Matteo Walch warming up to wild marmots in the Austrian Alps never fail to make me go awwwwww :)

Friday, March 22, 2013

Fashion Friday: Coloured Jeans

I'm not sure if candy coloured jeans is a trend that will be here to stay but it's growing onto me and I've become addicted to all the pretty colours there are out there. I like how it adds a bright splash of colour.

Royal blue is the easiest colour for those that are keen to kick start their coloured jeans collection. I love this pair from Zara as it's a decent fit and the colour is so versatile. Paired this with a coral peplum top and bright orange heels.

I contrasted these Topshop rose pink skinny jeans with a loose blue shirt that had rolled up sleeve tabs and since my workplace has a looser definition of business casual, I managed to get away with this as an office outfit ;)

Aussie Godma got me this pair of lavender jeans and though I was worried that I might end up channeling Barney, I kinda like how it goes with a striped top, pearl necklace and ballet flats. Hubs and I were on a movie date and seeing that it was Oz, I wore these gold glitter ballet flats, too bad I don't have any ruby red shoes!

If I wasn't on a shopping ban, I'd be happily getting a few more pairs of mint and Tiffany blue ;) What do you think about coloured jeans - are they still a trend?

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

15 Min Dinner: Puff Pastry Pizza

At times when we're rushed for time, run out of food and don't want to resort to takeaway, we come up with puff pastry pizza.

It's one of the easiest things to whip up and oh so yummy.

My favourite toppings are cherry tomatoes, garlic, some rosemary and thyme grown on our balcony. And of course cheese, heaps of it ... mmmmm ... Bubs is picky and he only eats peas and cheese on his.

All ready to pop into the oven. You can easily guess which is Bub's pizza and which is ours ;)

After 10 - 15 minutes in the oven and sprinkled with some chilli flakes, ta-daaaaa, dinner is served :D It is lovely when served fresh from the oven, all crispy and flaky. Leftovers are great to be brought to the office for breakkie.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Beating the Monday Blues: Styrofoam Houses

Spotted a row of tiny little houses at a co-worker's cubicle and they brightened up my Monday a lot. He hand carved these himself from Styrofoam, crooked ladder, picket fences and all. I don't know why but that nursery rhyme about the crooked man who lived in a little crooked house :)

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Have a Wonderful Weekend

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The weekend's nearly half over but I'm cherishing every little bit of it. It was a brutal work week so I'm trying to unwind and relax as much as possible. I've a couple of new books, a tub of green tea ice cream and crisp new bedsheets to keep me company ... and of course the place is filled with the bubbly giggles of Bubs and Hubs glued to his laptop screen.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Going Zonkers over Zoku

When Mum called to ask if Bubs wanted a Zoku Quick Pop Maker, I said yes without a moment's hesitation and promised that I'd make plenty of popsicles for myself Bubs.

"You've to use sugar in it, otherwise it won't freeze wan ah!" Mum warned because she knew I've a very low-sugar tolerance policy when it comes to Bubs and sweet treats.

"Don't worry, I promise!" I said, crossing my fingers. 

Zoku is a very funky looking and what I call a *insert snooty tone here* high class popsicle maker. A friend asked what was the difference between this pricey little gadget and the RM5 versions from Daiso? This baby can make Popsicles in as little as 7 minutes, without batteries or electricity!

How does it work? It's a sturdy container (that comes in a rainbow assortment of colours) with non-stick cast aluminum well for the popsicle mold and some kind of liquid chemical inside it. When I took it out of the box, I shook it gently and could hear it sploshing around. You need to chuck the Zoku base in the freezer for a minimum of 24 hours.

I tried a combination of Milo, milk and extra Milo powder
 After that, get ready your popsicle fillings, which can range from simple lemonade to more adventurous combinations. Take out the base from the freezer - it should feel rock solid with no liquids splashing around inside. Insert the Zoku sticks in, then carefully pour your juice/chocolate milk/basically anything sweet inside it. Wait for about 7 - 9 minutes. Use the Zoku Super Tool to carefully remove the stick out along with your popsicle.

Voila! Your very own home made popsicle. You could go wild and do pretty popsicles like lemon slices and mint leaves on the outside or striped popsicles, eg: layering different flavours together, kind of like a kek lapis but in an ice cream form.

Some tips:
  •  Mum was both right and wrong about the sugar. You need some form of sugar for it to work but it doesn't have to be the white powdered kind; honey and molasses work well too. Banking on the theory that most fruits have natural sugar, I tried using freshly juiced green apples undiluted and crossed my fingers - it worked!
  • Do not pour past the fill line or you will have a tough time removing the sticks.
  • The more liquid-y the filling, the less splatters and mess you'll get. I'm considering getting eyedroppers/turkey baster to minimise the spills. 
  • Be very gentle when removing the popsicles - the sticks are apparently easy to snap
  • You don't need to wash the base between each use, the popsicles really do come out cleanly with minimal mess. If you need to wash them, wait for them to be completely thawed and then dry thoroughly before re-freezing the base.
We're having so much fun with it that I even asked Mum to get me some spare sticks so we could make more and just store them in the freezer for a quick, icy snack.

 You should have seen the elation on Bub's face when I offered him ice cream for breakfast. He gave me a are-you-kidding-me look :D I didn't bothering explaining that it was just frozen apple juice on a stick.

This would make a perfect housewarming gift for anyone!

Monday, March 11, 2013

Weekend Acquisitions

So remember my shopping ban? Well ... I kinda broke it a little over the weekend, but in my defense, these were all really good deals - you can see Hubs rolling his eyes over here now.

I first bought these Vincci heels in black and loved them so much because they are comfy, have a metal heel and little pleats so I ended up buying another pair in pale mint. There's a rebate now where you get RM10 off applied directly to the purchase price for anything above RM50, so these were a bargain.

I'm a huge fan of Archie comics so when MAC released its Archie's Girls collection, I couldn't resist getting something. Since it's so hard to pick between girl-next-door Betty and poor-little-rich-girl Veronica, I went with the MAC Pearlmatte Face Powder in Flatter Me, a soft coral highlighter with Archie, Betty and Veronica on the cover. The only way MAC can possibly top this would be to come out with a Jughead (my personal favourite) collection!

I was lemming for another red lipstick and since a friend was flying back from the US, she got me this beauty - NARS sheer lipstick in Manhunt. The colour is as striking as its name; it is a glossy watermelon red that is wearable daily and also you can layer it on for a stronger look.

We went to Baby Zac's full moon party and can I tell you how amazing was the cake and dessert table? It was at a hotel's buffet lunch so there were lots of yummy food options.

Hubs and Bubs went nuts at the roti canai stall, especially over the roti tissue which was sooo good when drizzled with condensed milk, mmmmmm ...

Did everyone else had a great weekend?

Friday, March 8, 2013

Fashion Friday: the Bib Necklace

When it comes to accessories, I'm sorely lacking in that department. I've a bunch of simple stuff that I usually turn to, such as an initial necklace, a silver charm bracelet, my much loved faux pearl (fearls?) strand, stud earrings ... I've always wanted something slightly more dramatic that would add a little extra to my outfits but reluctant to splurge on accessories.

Until I fell head over heels with this bib necklace from Dipped Row. They're a trio of fashion loving Malaysians and pride themselves on providing affordable luxury. I was blown away by the service provided too - I'd issues with the logistics provider that damaged the necklace. Dipped Row not only replaced it for me free of charge (without even waiting for me to send back the broken necklace), they also added in a freebie which made my day :D

I like how the bib necklace in a pastel shade of lavender dresses up casual outfits like a plain tee and jeans. Plus it's perfectly proportioned for shorties petites like me and not too over the top.

Paired with a striped t-shirt dress. I can see this practically going with nearly every piece of my wardrobe :) 

Would you wear a statement necklace? Or do you prefer something more discreet?

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Wallpaper Love

I adore a wall full of print and have a penchant for wallpapers in the home. However, it's not really practical here, due to cost, maintenance and *quelle horreur!* the potential temptation for mischievous little hands to help colour in the patterns, treating it as a gigantic colouring book ;)

Feast your eyes on these beauties:

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This is too adorable for words! I'd spend hours tracing out the branches and cherries with my fingertip.

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Such a whimsical print and the metallic hues make it so elegant. I think it makes such a nice contrast to the colourful books on display and simplicity of the sign, prints and vase.

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Intimidated by busy prints, why not keep it to a small nook for a greater impact? This goes perfectly with the white wardrobe and wooden flooring.

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Given that I won't be wallpapering our walls anytime soon, I'm really considering getting some decals instead. These Love Mae wall decals are lovely and can be reused over and over again.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Ipoh Road Trip

With a team of food lovers, our department's team building is always food centric. We headed down south to Ipoh last week to sample some of its finest delicacies and since our manager grew up there, he was roped in to be our local tour guide ;)

We started super duper early - 5.30am to be exact so we could be on the North South expressway with minimal traffic jam. I did my makeup half asleep guided with only a tiny night light to avoid waking up Hubs and Bubs and I realised that I couldn't even see what colour or how heavy I'd applied my makeup!

Our first stop was a dim sum breakfast at a quiet shop. We were starving by then after the long drive and couldn't stop devouring little steamed baskets of goodies.

To stretch our legs and burn off calories from breakfast, our boss drove us to Sam Poh Tong. I think I might have been there decades ago with my family so I wasn't expecting much ... until I saw those gorgeous limestone caves against a backdrop of lush greenary. I don't know if it was the morning chill, the peaceful still waters of the pond occasionally broken with schools of carp swimming gracefully or the tiny drops of water slowly making its path down from the mountains - I just drank in all the sights hungrily and savoured deep breaths of the fresh air.

Don't miss the outdoor tortoise pen at the back while you are there. It is housed in a quiet garden straight at the back that just radiated tranquility to me, though it had mixed feedback from my colleagues, some said they just felt slightly eerie there. Tortoise and fish food are available for sale at the front entrance and I found the tortoise area to be clean and quite well kept.

A must do in Ipoh: Funny Mountain tau foo fah. Priced at RM1 for a a bowl of the softest and smoothest soybean curd, there were lines of people patiently waiting for their fix. I may or may not had more than just a bowl *shifty looking eyes* Colleagues actually brought along tiffin carriers just to tah pao bowlfuls of it back to Penang. It was seriously that amazing.

You can't go to Ipoh without stopping to buy some freshly baked pastries. My colleague found this tiny little store that still makes them the traditional way and the uncle that owned the store was so warm and welcoming to us. When I first tried to take a photo, he stopped me and said something in Cantonese which my colleagues translated for me: please wait, I'll be bringing out a full batch of pastries for you so it'll look much better in your photo. That was so nice of him! :) Plus they don't follow you around the shop urging you to buy, they just let the aroma of their goodies do all the persuading. I couldn't resist getting a big box of their famous kaya puffs which were deliciously flaky. If anyone's interested, here are the contact details:
Sin Eng Heong 05-2439659
No. 64 - 66, Jalan Mustapha Al-Bakri, Jalan Clare, 30300 Ipoh,

Lunchtime was at a coffee shop that serves a decent beansprout chicken rice, another famous Ipoh dish. If you look closely at the photo, you'll see that Ipoh beansprouts are plumper than those grown in other states and they have a nice crunch to it. My manager told us it's because of the famed almost-magical qualities of Ipoh water, apparently even the girls in Ipoh are prettier because of the quality of the water ;)

Our detour before we headed back to Penang was the Gunung Lang Recreational Park. Initially, I wasn't that keen on rambling about in a park right under the hot sun after so much food. I was whining that I'd be sitting comfortably under the shade of a huge tree while the rest of them can do what they wanted there. I'd to eat my words when we reached there.

Feast your eyes on these beauties. More majestic limestone rocks with tiny little paths sluiced through by water droplets, I'm told there's an artificial fountain turned on everywhere now and then. A deep green lake with quiet waters and lots of fishes that you could again buy fish food to feed them with. And the beautiful, unspoiled greenery everywhere. For a moment, I just stood at the jetty and feasted my eyes on how perfect nature can be, it was almost like balm for a jaded soul :) There were little boats to ferry people across the lake to a tiny island but unfortunately, it was closed for lunch.

We then headed back to Penang heavily laden with biscuits, pomelos and salt baked chickens. Ipoh, thanks for showing me that there is more to this grand old dame. I'll definitely be back :)
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