Sunday, June 30, 2013

Penang Street Festival

Food, arts and lots of fun ... that's the Penang Georgetown Festival in a nutshell. The usually quiet and sleepy streets came alive in the evening on a Saturday night with street performers, stalls hosting free games for children and a handicraft market hosted in a heritage temple.

First time stilt walkers attempting to balance themselves. These looked so much fun and if the line weren't so long, I'd have happily given this a try.

Hubs and Bubs watching percussionists. The streets were jam packed with people and thankfully the rains cleared the haze away.

Cat themed street art which is a part of the 101 Lost Kittens at Georgetown Festival to highlight the plight of strays.

There was a handmade market held in the grounds of the Hock Teik Cheng Sin Temple that started from evening until night.

We spotted this artist painting animals from the Chinese zodiac using what we thought were flat pieces of blades. He made it look so easy and deftly painted the animals out with a few colourful strokes.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

This & That: the Rainbow Connection

Wouldn't it be fun to throw a rainbow themed party? Just looking at all these cheerful colours is enough to put a smile on anyone's face.

First you'd need some amazing party invites ...

Serving sweet treats? Get inspired by these lucky rainbow jelly cups.

And the pièce de résistance has to be this delightfully simple yet charming rainbow topped cake.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Of Birthdays and Shopping

It was my Dad's birthday last week and we took him out for dinner. He hates being the centre of attention so he was warning us about no birthday cakes and no public singing. Being the dutiful daughter I am, I obeyed.

While unicorns pranced along the mall. A leprechaun distributed good coins. And Bubs ate green vegetables for dinner happily. Yeah right.

After dinner ended, the waiter brought out the croquembouche, I started singing Happy Birthday and clapped as loud as I could. Bubs happily chirped in and the the rest of my family sang along too. Dad looked soooo embarrassed and happy. Mission accomplished!

The croquembouche from Mon Delice Patisserie was out of this world fantastic. Everyone politely just had one at first, saying that they were too full from dinner, well everyone apart from Bubs was was most enthusiastically tucking into them. Then they started eating more, and more ... until there were only a couple left.

While walking around, we saw a life sized version of Sulley from Monsters Inc. I was curious to see if Bubs would find him cute or terrifying. Bubs was freaked out and refused to go near him unless we carried him and kept saying "monster has sharp teeth". LOL.

EL, my uni bestie, was back from Sydney for a visit and we managed to hang out together. It was just like old times and brought back lots of happy memories of skipping classes to go to the mall together. We had lunch together and caught up on a lot of gossip. Only she can make eating potato chips that seductive ;)

Needless to say, we went shopping happily. I can't count the number of times when we went home heavily laden with shopping bags and she'd furtively try to stash them into her college backpack so her mum wouldn't see that we did more shopping! The Aussie dollar conversion was in her favour so she did a lot of contribution for the local retail economy. Even more needless to say, she is such an enabler! She kept picking up lots of things that she swore would look good on me and we ended up getting the same top together in different colours. EL, I miss going shopping with you :( I need to save up for a trip to visit you there and do more extensive damage to my bank account.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Fashion Friday: the Cambridge Satchel Company

Look what my Mum got me from London - my very own Cambridge Satchel, yay! I've been lusting over one for the longest time ever. I requested for the 11" since I wanted something small and picking the colour was soooo hard. They're all so gorgeous and available in jewel hues - should I go with something classic like a chestnut brown? Something safe but unusual like a deep red or a rich blue? A trendy shade of metallic gold? In the end, I picked orange based on how it looked on other bloggers.

Mum called me from London in the middle of the night at the shop itself.

"You can't get orange, it's far too bright and glaring!" Since it was past midnight, I groggily agreed to light turquoise even though I'd no idea what colour it was.

I was a little afraid, to be honest, and was thinking of Mardi Gras shades.

When I finally got my hands on it, I heaved a sigh of relief. It's such a pretty colour, turns out that light turquoise to my Mum meant a pastel shade of Tiffany blue.

The buckles are fiddly and Hubs always laughs to see me scramble for them each time my mobile rings. Hmmph.

I love how structured it is and adds a schoolkid vibe (yes, I know it sounds deluded given that it's been decades since I last stepped into a school). The leather is stiff but I've heard reviews that it should soften down after a few wears.

It's been very versatile for me from pairing it with a girly, floral print dress.

To a tee and jeans - who'd have ever thought that baby blue and pale pink would go so happily together?

Monday, June 17, 2013

Cheeky Lil Bubs

Gradually without us noticing, Bubs's seems to have hit a speech milestone. He's talking in sentences and becoming more argumentative. Half the time, we don't know if we should be exasperated or laugh.

"What-a-heck?" Okay, this is totally my bad. He overheard me and he's been saying it every now and then just to push my buttons. Moral of the story: keep a poker face on each time he repeats "forbidden" words so he'll forget about it.

Bubs actually remembers all my nagging constant reminders (about teeth brushing and finishing your greens) and uses them in rebuttals.

Me: Enough ice cream for you now, young man. If you continue to eat anymore ice cream, all your teeth are going to fall out.
Bubs: No it won't, I just brushed my teeth!

Me: Let's go to the playground. you need to run around and exercise so you can grow tall.
Bubs: I don't want to go. I already ate veggies, I can grow tall now.

He's becoming an ace at negotiation.

Me: Bubs, come give Mummy a hug.
Bubs (busy stuffing his little mouth with a giant wedge of cake): Mummy, I eat my breakfast first, then I hug you. Understand?

And this now ... his being sarcastic is definitely a chip off the old block, that's for sure :)

Bubs bopped Hubs on the head with a toy and refused to apologise.

Me: Bubs, say sorry to Daddy. 

Bubs thought about it for a while and with a devilish grin, repeated word for word "sorry to Daddy" followed by more cheeky laughter at the confounded looks on our faces.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Fashion Friday: Floral Pants

Maybe it's the nanna in me but I've a penchant for florals in any form: flowy dresses, pencil skirts ... lately I've been drawn to floral pants but Hubs draws the line at that and says they remind him of pyjamas. I think they look really cute if worn in a skinny, straight cut with either a neutral tee or an eye catching florescent.



What do you think of floral pants? A trend that's going to fade away quickly or something that will last at least a few seasons?

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Coconut Palm Sugar

Decadence. That's the word that slips into my mind the moment this creamy and indulgent dessert hit my taste buds. I cannot believe that something as ridiculously yummy as this could be classified healthy.

After I was inspired by a cafe selling these, I tried making my own version of yogurt with gula melaka (coconut palm sugar) topped with jackfruit. A friend makes yogurt fresh for me every couple of weeks or so and it's a lot cheaper than store brought ones so unless she's too busy or skips a week, I've stopped buying commercial yogurts.

It was my first time using gula melaka and took a bit of trial and error to get it to the right consistency I wanted. Coconut palm sugar is made from the sap of coconut flower buds and is supposedly healthier than normal sugar as it's less refined. I don't want to get into a discussion on whether if it's low GI/better for you/etc but I am crazy over its divine, smoky caramelised taste.

Gula melaka is usually sold here in hardened blocks so to get it to a syrupy form, I heated up some water in a pot, added in the gula melaka and kept stirring it. It burns easily so I took it off the stove and continued stirring until all the bits melted.

Bubs's serving had a HUGE amount of jackfruit - his current fav
I drizzled quite a lot a bit of the gula melaka, layered it with yogurt, heaped fresh jackfruit on it, offered Bubs a spoon to tuck in.

The combination of flavours were out of this world, the burnt taste of gula melaka rounded out the sweetness of the jackfruit and when paired with the creamy, tangy yogurt ... wow. Bubs called it nangka (jackfruit) ice cream and licked his bowl clean.

We still had quite a bit of the gula melaka syrup left so I made sago (tapioca pearls) pudding to go with it. Again, a very simple dessert and though the jury is out on whether santan (coconut milk) is good for you, we thought a little bit of it would be fine.

Hubs and I described this as frogs eggs to Bubs who misheard us and called it "porks eggs".

Monday, June 10, 2013

Happy Father's Day at China House and Singapore House.

We had a tiny Father's Day celebration at China House, just the three of us, plates of cakes and an iced mocha - just the way Hubs likes it.

Since I forgot about getting him a pressie this year, Bubs and I came up with an impromptu one - a hastily sketched Happy Father's Day card on the table cover. Bubs was elated with the cup full of colourful crayon bits and doodled to his content.

We'd a slice of the tiramisu and ginger treacle cake. The tiramisu was slightly boozy though not too decadently rich and needless to say, Bubs was not allowed to eat this. I loved the ginger treacle cake, it was dense, mildly spiced and not too gingery.

We walked past the prettily decorated courtyard - I think they were having a small wedding there earlier.

We moseyed around the area and to our delight, found the doors of Sekeping Victoria open as they were hosting a small art exhibition as part of George Town Festival. Raw concrete walls, cement floors with chunks broken for trees to grow indoors, sofa sets made from wire ... this place has to be seen to be believed. Fairy Godma - now you know why I kept insisting that you drop by China House this weekend?


Look a little closer and you'll find these pieces of art are made from ordinary items found in Penang households. The giant red star are made from plastic dippers.

Singapore House is just a few doors away from the Victoria Street entrance of China House and it's a month long retail space featuring Singaporean multi-brand artisan retailers. We were attracted by the gorgeous paper blooms at entrance. Can you spot the metallic dino popping out from a giant flower?

I was enamoured with the wall covered by all the different and brightly hued flowers and how creative they were. Can you believe that the small, feathery flowers on the floor are made from badminton shuttlecocks?

Letter pressing by the Gentlemen's Press.

Singaporean indie literature at Books Actually.

If you wander up the tiny staircase, you'll find an art exhibition by the LASALLE College of the Arts. I don't know anything at all about art apart from the fact that these acrylic candy wrappers made me hungry.

While walking back to the car, we found a wall painted with these kitty cats. A fun end to a beautiful weekend. 

Singapore House
Proceeds from sales go to Langkawi animal shelter LASSIE.
Date: 8 June-7 July 2013
Opens: Thursday-Sunday, 12pm-9pm
Location: 179 Victoria Street, George Town, Penang, Malaysia - three doors away from China House

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Let's Go Fly a Kite

As part of the month long George Town Festival, there was a kite flying opening ceremony at the Esplanade. Bubs has been asking us to take him go play with kites for a while now so we thought it'd be the perfect opportunity for us to have some family fun time together.

It was a lovely day with the blue skies dotted by colourful kites flying high above us. There was a sea breeze and with the warm sun shinning down on us as we walked across the grass, I couldn't help but feel like a little kid again without a worry in the world. There was festive music playing, a drum circle going on, children running about with their fingers clasped tightly around the strings of their kites, adults launching the most massive kites I'd ever seen. 

We saw a group of stilt walkers and Bubs was terrified of them, he refused to move a single inch closer.

There were all kinds of kites, from paper kites from the kite making workshop, kites with attached bamboo flutes that played haunting melodies buoyed by the strong winds, kites the size of a small car, kites that had bright yellow tails fashioned to look like a giant sotong in the sky.

Lo and behold, a nonya kite :)

After watching everyone, young and old, with a kite, Bubs decided that he wanted one too. It took some walking around the giant field to find someone selling kites. We got a mini one, very simply constructed, and I was grumbling about having to pay RM5 for something that looked like we could have DIY-ed at home.

I changed my mind the moment I saw Bubs's eyes lit up when the first gust of wind propelled his little kite up high with its long tails trailing gracefully behind it. The sense of wonder, joy and excitement on his face as he laughed to see it fly. He had the biggest grin stuck on his face and he was skipping along the field. All of us took turns holding that kite and to feel the the string tugging against our fingers, the gentle bobbing of the kite, the hot sun upon our backs. I could feel my heart soaring higher than that kite.


Friday, June 7, 2013

Fashion Friday: Stripes and Sparkles

I'm loving the idea of mixing something casual and chic, like a striped tee with something fabulous as a intricate necklace. Looks like you no longer have to wait for a fancy party to rock your best jewels.

If you need help on finding the perfect statement necklace, etsy seller Bayila has a stunning collection.
The Anna Karenina has to be my favourite, it'll look drop dead glamourous from a little black dress to something casual as a gray marl tee and skinny jeans.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Busy Hands

Sneaky little ways to keep little hands busy for times when you need some peace and quiet to yourself.

Place a large bowl full of colourful wooden beads, small pebbles, alphabets, a spoon and a variety of smaller plastic bowls and watch him have fun with it. I didn't give him any instructions or guide him on what he was supposed to do with them so I was a little surprised he came up with stacking the sofa cushions, propping the bowls on them almost vertically and then placing all the little baubles in them. I held my breath thinking that the bowls would come crashing to the floor and he'd chuck a tantrum but amazingly they didn't and he had quite a bit of fun with them.  

Name me a kid that doesn't like splashing with water. This was really simple and he had a blast with this. I tossed him a bunch of bowls and utensils and let him do the "washing up".

When in doubt - just feed them. I was fascinated by how well he could eat corn on the cob and this kept him occupied for quite a good while.

Any other tips on how to keep a toddler occupied?
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