Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Bangkok: Part I

I'd to go to Bangkok for a work trip so figured that I could sneak in Hubs and Bubs into my luggage for a couple of nights ;) Even though we were there for 4 days, I'd meetings for half the time so we didn't get a lot of time to really go around for sight seeing so whenever we had little pockets of time, these were mainly spent at malls.  

We stayed at the Anantara Sathorn and it was such a relaxing stay right in the middle of the bustling city. 

Bubs was more than fascinated with the huge TV that played the Cartoon Network 24x7 right in front of the king sized bed and happily plonked himself there for most of our stay.

We'd a full day before work started so we tried to cram everything we wanted to do on that day. We took the BTS to most of the places to avoid taking taxis - we almost always ended up with unscrupulous drivers that refused to use the meter (I guess the fatigued looks while lugging Bubs around gave away the fact that we were desperate). 

First up was dessert at Mr Jones' Orphanage at Siam Central. The name conjures up images of oppressed children dressed in black moping around. The truth couldn't be any further ...


It was like having afternoon tea in a whimsical toyshop. Stuffed bears were perched across beams,  giant cogs and a train track stretched across the cafe; we couldn't stop staring in wonder. Be warned though that the wooden booths are slightly cramped and daddy long legs Hubs had to sit at an awkward angle. 

The cakes were reminiscent of the ones at China House and displayed so invitingly, Bubs found it impossible to pick just one. 

We narrowed down our choices to a Cookie Monster cupcake (who could say no to such a cutie?) and a wedge of sinful chocolate cake covered with M&Ms and Kit Kats. 

To ensure that all of us finished these on a sugar high, we topped it off with a chocolate peanut butter milkshake.

We walked around in a daze, onward to our next destination: Terminal 21. Each floor has a different country's theme. The food court had a San Francisco vibe going on.

One of our goals for Bangkok was to eat as many coconut ice creams as we could. Unfortunately, they were out of coconut flavoured ice cream so this was plain ol' vanilla :(

Hubs was elated he managed to find decent short sleeved shirts at 2 for 700 Thai Baht at the British floor.

He rejected my help to pick more shirts for him ;)

Dinner was at Mix (Terminal 21, 5th floor right at the opposite end of the food court) , a Thai fusion restaurant that Suyin highly recommended. It was a little pricey and portions are smaller but at this point, we were bone tired so we wanted a nice and quiet place to just relax for a while.

The squid ink pasta with fresh scallops was served with a yummy dollop of tomato based sauce and fresh basil sprig.

We ended our day by meeting our 2nd goal: mango sticky rice daily *slurps* The ones in Bangkok have a sprinkling of crunchy lentils that we just can't get enough of.

Monday, October 27, 2014

What We're Reading Now: Bubs and Me

A roundup of the books that we currently have on our nightstand.

After I was enthralled by Persepolis, I couldn't believe my eyes when I saw a hard cover version of Embroideries by Marjane Satrapi at Popular at only RM16.90.

It makes for a nice, light read taking you through the love lives of Marjane Satrapi's grandmother's friends during an afternoon tea in their parlour.

I have been nom-ing on cheeseburgers at McDonald's weekly for these little gems. These are such a steal! The Magic School Bus and DK Watch Me Grow books retail for around RM30 at bookshops but the tiny versions are included with each Happy Meal.

The photography and layout for the DK Watch Me Grow books are stunning.

I was thrilled to find this version of Madlenka at Borders in Chinese and at 20% off to boot. It tells the story of Madlenka who's excited about losing her milk tooth and runs around the block to tell her neighbours of different backgrounds (Italian, German, French, etc).

I like that each neighbour greets her in their native tongue (Bonjour, Guten tag), the variations of her name in each language (Madeleine, Magda)  and the little whimsical sketches representative of each culture. What makes this copy doubly interesting is the Chinese text which took me a while to figure it out.

Bubs was particularly entranced with the window cut outs.

Even Hubs went wow when he saw how gorgeous the detailed illustrations were. These are literally mini works of cultural art.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Chicken in Milk

When I chanced upon this recipe, my first thought was gross, chicken in milk? Blerggghh.
Then curiousity got the better of me, I started googling for reviews and all of the stellar blog posts convinced me to give this a try.

Jamie Oliver's recipe for Chicken in Milk below:


  • 1.5 kg higher-welfare chicken
  • sea salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • olive oil
  • ½ stick cinnamon
  • 1 good handful fresh sage, leaves picked
  • zest of 2 lemons
  • 10 cloves garlic, skin left on
  • 565 ml milk

    Preheat the oven to 190°C/375°F/gas 5, and find a snug-fitting pot for the chicken. Season it generously all over, and fry it in a little olive oil, turning the chicken to get an even colour all over, until golden. Remove from the heat, put the chicken on a plate, and throw away the oil left in the pot. This will leave you with tasty sticky goodness at the bottom of the pan which will give you a lovely caramel flavour later on.

    Put your chicken back in the pot with the rest of the ingredients, and cook in the preheated oven for 1½ hours. Baste with the cooking juice when you remember. The lemon zest will sort of split the milk, making a sauce which is absolutely fantastic.

    To serve, pull the meat off the bones and divide it onto your plates. Spoon over plenty of juice and the little curds. Serve with wilted spinach or greens and some mashed potato.   

A couple of tips and tricks that I used based on reviews:
  • If you don't have cinnamon at home, you can skip it. Won't make a huge difference
  • Add in rosemary and thyme (as in the herbs, not the MAC eye kohl) 
  • The original recipe did not specify if the chicken was to be covered so I covered the pan with tin foil and then roasted it un-covered at the last 15 mins for a crispier chook. 

The first time I made it, I'd to hide the milk from Hubs who would have refused to even touch it as he has an aversion to what he terms as weird recipes. I only confessed to the milk when both Hubs and Bubs polished their plates clean. 

Bon appetit!

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Family Day

As Bubs had a great time at our workplace's Family Day last year, we decided to drop by again this year. Unfortunately the haze was sooo bad this time around *boo hiss* and we'd to skip the 2km walk.

Bubs eagerly went for the go karts ... until we realised that he didn't know how to pedal. We tried showing him how to move his legs round in circles but I think it was a little too challenging for him so he gave this up pretty quickly.

I gave Hubs a piece of my mind when he initially wanted Bubs to go on the horse ride all by himself. Men!

Somebody was thrilled to bits with this Batman painting. He pouted a little because he wanted a full face painting like a mask so I cheered him up by asking him, does Bruce Wayne go around telling everyone his secret identity? Wide-eyed and struck by the realisation, he shook his head.

And ... what I thought was the best part of the day, though Bubs might beg to differ ...

A life sized walking dinosaur complete with pre-recorded roaring sounds. To say that Bubs freaked out would be an understatement.

He screamed his little lungs out, scrunched up his face and cried incessantly.

Bubs: Mummmmy, I don't want the dinosaur to eat me!
Me: Don't be silly. The dinosaur's tummy is already full from all of the children it ate earlier.
Bubs *wails louder*

Hubs thinks that this qualifies me for Mum of the Year :)

Friday, October 17, 2014

3 Things

My week in things that made me smile and wished that happy little moments like this lasted forever :)

I usually eschew McDonald's gimmicky toys, especially if you have to pay extra for them (shouldn't these be free with Happy Meals?!) but Siew and I were drawn to these like moths to a candle flame. We got Mr. Happy and Little Miss Giggles because they were so darn cute and I justified these purchases as educational aids because Bubs have some of the books and I can't wait to see the look on his face when he gets to hold these tiny stuffed toys while reading!

This pretty ink splattered skirt on loan from my cousin Jean who has been so generous with her wardrobe. So soft and comfy, it's almost like wearing pajamas to the office.

My own Mr. Happy made his very own bun at kindy complete with a crayon painted paper bag that he was oh so proud of. He told me that he filled the dough with raisins and seeds and shaped it like a ball.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

The Thinker of Tender Thoughts

Image credit

Ever since Mum gave Bubs a copy of the Giving Tree, I was struck at the irony of how complex messages and subtle story lines can be found within such simple, line drawings.

I found this work of art by Shel Silverstein to be equally thought provoking and slightly sad. It resonates with me because I would love for Bubs to forever be filled with the same zest and enjoy life to its fullest into adulthood. I've been attending a series of classes at work and all of the trainers have stressed upon how important creativity is and how children often lose their exuberance as they get older. This is partly the reason why Hubs and I are sticking to our guns that Bubs attends a play school rather than a "proper one" (as my parents have repeatedly and kindly urged). 

There has been so much debate recently about the quality of education, especially in Asia, that we are placing far too much (academic) pressure on children, expecting them to regurgitate verbatim. I still shudder with dread recalling how our primary school teachers made us memorise whole essays, right down to the punctuation, just so we can write the perfect one to "score in exams", never mind how ludicrous it must be for the examiner to mark 30 identical essays.

 Never, ever ignore the inner child in you and that sense of curiousity and wonder that you had.

Conformity is overrated, Bubs.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Lasagne Cupcakes

Whilst Hubs loves lasagne, he hates making it for Bubs and me because we each have our own requirements. I hate mince on mine, Bubs insists on peas and Hubs crams as much vegetables as he can into each layer. At one point, we were splitting the loaf pan into 3 different sections and complained when each offending item crossed over. This post was genius and so popular, it has been on repeat at our home.

Yes, people, instead of a single lasagne, bake them in cupcake or muffin trays so you get to customise them. Garfield would have been so proud :)

You could substitute them lasagne sheets with spring roll wrappers. Cut them into circles or leave them as squares, it doesn't really matter. I personally like them as squares because the leftover edges at the sides get really crispy.

A very relieved Hubs layering the fillings for us. Bring on the cheese, babyyyyy!

I love the smaller portions as they somehow feel less heavy and you can easily freeze leftovers or bring them to the office.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014


I've been up to my eyeballs with assignments and whenever the going gets tough, I snack compulsively. For the past weeks, these have been on my desk:

If you can look past its unfortunate name, Glico's Collon biscuits are super yummy. I remember my Dad getting these for me way back when I was a kid so I was ecstatic to still see these stocked at Jusco. Since I'm a huge fan of anything green tea flavoured, I pounced on these. These are, unfortunately again, tube shaped but its dubious look belies its taste. These are crispy and filled with a fluffy icing inside. I couldn't stop at just one until I realised I polished off the entire box in a single sitting.

Penangites call these tart fruit "umpela" but Hubs calls me sadistic for eating these. They are extremely sour, think mouth puckering-ly strong that even Bubs refuses to go near these. My Mum has a small tree and regularly cuts them for me. There are probably 101 ways to eat these, my manager told me to pickle them in a sugar water concoction, my bestie loves them with a dash of light soy sauce ... I enjoy them sliced with a salt and chilli dip.  

What about you - what do you snack on?

Friday, October 3, 2014

Our Reading Journey

Bubs is attending a play school so the kiasu mum in me worries incessantly about his learning to read. Here's a snapshot of our reading journey so far with Bubs:

Phonics is a relatively new discovery for me so Hubs and I are learning along with Bubs. We try to keep letters fun for him by mixing the mediums. So far Bubs loves messing around with magnetic letters and shaving cream in the shower too.

My aunt has been a huge help and support in our teaching Bubs how to read. One of the best bits of advice she gave us was to use Bob Books. I'd never heard of these before but bought them eagerly and after the first book, I can see why they are more intuitive for children to learn to read. You start out with the easier set of phonics, eg: M, A, T and are able to play around with the letters until you realise - voila - you're reading a sentence by yourself!

We're on Set 1 and these looks pretty promising. We don't read these daily, maybe every couple of days. Bubs is currently stuck at the U sound so we've been repeating the pages. The only gripe I have is that I wish the fonts were in a more consistent typeset instead of a handwritten style because Bubs sometimes find the letters confusing.

This is an even more kiasu experiment from my end. My mum taught me how to read using Peter and Jane - which in hindsight, seems to be focusing on word repetition so I decided to see how Bubs would fare with it, given that some of the words are a little tricky to sound out using phonics for a beginning reader, eg: likes, here, shop.

 Bubs seems very taken with the vintage illustrations and enjoys reading a few pages here and there. I suspect he memorises the words instead of sounding them out (as he would with Bob books) so I'm keen to see if I write out the words Peter, Jane on paper and without opening the book ... would he be able to read them?

Enough of messing around with Bubs :)

Now onto my favourite time of the day: the bedtime storybook ritual. I particularly love picture books that stretch the imagination and have fabulous illustrations (this is Tony Ross's I'm Coming to Get You). We haven't tackled Grimm's fairy tales because I find them a tad too gruesome yet for Bubs - how do you explain why Hansel and Gretel's parents abandoned them in the middle of the forest?

I don't touch on the learning to read part during this time, it's more of a story telling, ask questions about the story, admire the interesting pictures kind of thing. Now and then, I'll maybe point at a word that he knows how to read and ask him what it says, to boost his confidence and to bridge the link between his learning to read books and picture books.
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