Monday, June 27, 2016

All About Bubs

A round up of all the activities that Bubs have been enjoying for the past couple of weeks. Still in denial that he's going to be in primary school next year, where did all those years of clinging tightly to me, slipping that once chubby hand of his into mine, that sweet lilting voice go to?

My Dad is hates drawing attention to himself - so it's definitely love for his grandson that allows him to get over this to let Bubs sing Happy Birthday loudly in a restaurant complete with candle blowing and cutting the cake.

These Magna Tiles have been one of our best buys. They are insanely heavy and the closest place that stocks them in a retail outlet is Singapore so I have been relying on the kindness of some folks to cart back a few sets of the 32 piece ones for us. Bubs got frustrated with them when he was much younger because these are more fiddly than Lego but when his fine motor skills got better, he liked them more.

Houses and vehicles for his dolls action figures. I love eavesdropping whenever he plays with his toys, he puts on different (but always gruff) voices for each character.

He likes sketching colourful robots and ninjas.

His school has a list of birthday children in its monthly newsletter so we make birthday cards for each of them to practise his handwriting.

Crafting with cupcake liners. Thank you, Google, for being filled with so many cool ideas for us to borrow.

I don't know why it's taken me so long to try this sensory activity. I got a few packets of Daiso's water beads for plants and since I didn't use up all of them, I handed over a tub to Bubs with strict instructions not to eat them, a bowl of shaving cream, a bowl of ice cubes and some scoops. He had so much fun with them! These bounce like crazy on the floor so be careful not to drop them, they also break if you step on them plus the clear ones are virtually invisible once they get mixed into a tub of water.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

New Toys

A handful of Bub's and my new toys :) 

My cousin Jean sent Bubs this very amazing robotic animal kit that made him deliriously happy. Since he's pretty adept with Lego, we left him to fixing it by himself ... which was mistake #1. Mistake # 2 was not keeping 6 x AAA batteries at home. Oppps.

It wasn't until Bubs completed the pterodactyl that Hubs realised the kit requires batteries. And to fit the batteries in, you need to semi-demolish the robotic animal. We were scrabbling about at 10pm trying to find enough AAA batteries that we stripped the cordless phone and air-con remote for to make the pterodactyl flap its wings.

Bubs absolutely loves this kit and is already trying out more models which are so cool with their colourful "skins". It's a great step towards fostering a love of tinkering and robotics.

I've set my sights on these MNG black pointed low heels for a while and the moment I saw them on sale, I immediately marched over to the cashier with them. They also come in a hot pink version that i deliberated over but decided that stains on the fabric would be hell to get off. 

Blush pink Miss Selfridge asymmetrical crop top and Melissa + Jason Wu flats. With all the crop tops that I've been getting lately, I kinda wish that 70s style high waist jeans will come back in season soon. These Melissa flats are a bit of a splurge for me (even though they were on sale at Zalora) but they are so comfy plus its jelly-like material means that Hubs I can wash stains off them easily. 

Taking another step deeper into aunty-hood, my lunch buddies and I have started keeping indoor gardens in small containers. Daiso water beads in lieu of soil for this pot of pennywort.

I've tried (and failed miserably) terrariums so I've shifted my attention to air plants which are fuss-free and look so cute in mini landscapes. I'm also trying my luck with succulents in a large pot and praying frantically that they don't die. For some reason, cacti are hardier and I can never seem to gauge the correct amount of water for succulents. 

Monday, June 20, 2016

Moody Cow Dessert Cafe

Given that I'm an ardent cake fan, it's taken me quite a long while to pop by Moody Cow Dessert Cafe simply because it's impossible to find parking around that area and come night time, the side roads are not well-lit. However, if you're willing to set those reservations aside, I'm going to introduce you to one of the best (and of course, arguably priciest) cake shop in Penang.

The cafe is tiny inside and only has a handful of tables. Apart from cakes, cookies and drinks, it also serves a small range of pasta dishes. True to its name, Moody Cow has a dark, theatrical feel with its stark red and green walls, an intricate chandelier and an exposed brickwork counter.

These buzzards guarding piles of RM20 cookies larger than my head are proof that this cafe makes bold statements with its food choices and decor. For some reason, the cookies are only for takeaway and not dine in. We were curious and took one back home to try - it was decent, rich and chocolaty though it didn't had the same wow factor as its cakes.

Caught in action wandering around the tiny cafe.

Hubs took a quick glance at the cake offerings in the chiller section and commented that they were cheap. I coughed discreetly and told him to take a closer look.

"The price is for 1 slice, Daddy, not the whole cake," Bubs pointed out helpfully.

Hub's eyes widened.

Think along the lines of RM38 for a slice of durian cheesecake, RM29 for chilli sprinkled cheesecake ... though I've to admit, the offerings are so varied and interesting - chicken floss cheesecake! - that it's hard to narrow it down to just 1 slice.

We settled on Shanghai Moon, RM22, for a large, decadent wedge of salted egg cheesecake. The flavours went beautifully, it wasn't too sweet and so rich that it took the 3 of us to polish it off (we just had dinner). All my misgivings about the heft price went flying out the door as we tucked into it.

Would we go back again? A resounding yes to try the other varieties!

Moody Cow Dessert Cafe 170, Transfer Road, 10050, Georgetown, Penang.
Business Hours: Daily 12:00pm to 12:00am (Closed on Mondays)
Contact No. : 012- 313 8865

Thursday, June 16, 2016

A Little Bit of This

When work gets hectic, one of the ways I find some quiet pockets of time is to just lie in bed and have a good read. It helps me to keep my sanity and I clutch at the pages, savouring the printed words like a lifesaver. This is just one of my many to-be-read piles from Big Bad Wolf and the recent Popular RM5 sale.

Uniqlo is fast becoming a guilty obsession for me and every Friday, my colleagues and I would hit the mall, scurrying through the limited offer sections. We recently discovered that we could fit into the Girls Relaco XL shorts and it's such a good bargain because it's RM10 cheaper than the adult's range. Not to mention, the Leo Lionni prints are too adorable for words and Bubs is jealous that now my PJs match his bedtime story books :D

And because my cousin, Jean, pointed out that I've been shirking away from outfits of the day posts, here are some of my choices for the past week.

These dusky pink Topshop skinny jeans have been surprisingly versatile and I've been wearing them for years back when coloured jeans were all in the rage. Pairing it with a soft gray pajama-style top, glittery silver sandals plus - if you look hard enough - tiny white tassel earrings.

I have a soft spot for cute prints and these Gap Kids summer tank dress had the cutest animal prints: elephants, giraffes, zebras. I figured since I was going full on whimsical mode, I might as well pop on my crazy black cat flats - also from - yes, you guessed it, Gap Kids. Hubs says he's praying very hard that one of these days, I'll bump into a little girl wearing the exact same dress as me, hmmmph!

I used to be a huge fan of Dorothy Perkins's jersey skater dresses until I realised that the skirt shrinks with repeated washes and becomes scandalously short. Jean hems hers shorter so it becomes a peplum top but I didn't want to shell out anymore money to alter them so I popped a Uniqlo skirt over it. The outer skirt gets more volume as the short skirt inside acts as a sort of a bustle to fluff it out. Plus, the Uniqlo skirt comes with pockets!

Sunday, June 12, 2016

The School Holidays

Bubs has been loving every single bit of his 2 week school break. I sometimes fret about Bubs being an only child and to reduce my mummy guilt, I try to arrange play dates with friends.

We were at the beach again with Siew and her family for a picnic on a lovely, scorching hot day. My jaw dropped when I saw that Siew prepared a lavish feast of chicken wings, stir fried noodles (Maggi to be exact, she knows my favourite), fresh fruits, a picnic blanket and even a gallon of fresh water to clean up afterwards.

The best part was that her hubby made kites from scratch for the kids to play with! Bubs was so thrilled to feel the kite tugging strongly at the string in the late afternoon sea breeze.


Eventually when Bubs and Jaz got tired with the kites, Hubs and Siew's hubby were the ones running along the shore with the kites soaring up against the azure blue sky. If you look close enough, you can spot  Sofia the First and Olaf the snowman on the kites.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles isn't a movie that ranks high on my to-watch list but given that Bub's cousin wanted to watch it and Bubs was begging us so hard to let them watch it together - I gave in. The two of them were unbelievably engrossed and quiet as church mice during the entire movie. In fact, Hubs complained that I was the annoying one that couldn't stop whispering, "Why am I watching this? Is the movie going to end soon?"

Bubs met up with his school bestie and the both of them spent 5 whole hours at the pool and playground outdoors. They were as brown as nuts at the end of the day and even more delighted when we suggested a rare lunch treat of McDs followed by sundae cones that they proudly lined up to buy themselves.

Bubs enjoys watching YouTube videos of kids playing with Kracie Popin' Cookin' sets so he was over the moon when Siew came over with the ice cream set. Jaz and Bubs were so excited and kept begging to be allowed to help out. Needless to say, our creations did not even look close to the ones on the box and although it was edible, it reminded me of that yucky fever medicine taste.

Since his school is closed for two weeks, my parents have been babysitting Bubs on weekdays and it's been a win-win situation for both. My parents adore spoiling doting on their grandchildren and Bubs, in turn, is overjoyed to be allowed uninterrupted access to screen time since *shrugs* it is, after all, school holidays ;)

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Shaving Cream Marbling

This has to be one of Bub's most favourite craft in a while, so much that we've done it a few times now. It's a fantastic sensory plus fun experience.

You'll need:
  • Watercolour paper (normal paper will get too soggy)
  • Shaving cream (again, Tesco's my favourite because of the price)
  • Liquid watercolours/food colouring
  • Ruler
  • Toothpick 

Start by squeezing shaving cream all over a tray or large dish.

Drop some of the watercolours into the shaving cream.

Use a toothpick to swirl them around. For some reason, it always reminds me of marbled cheesecake and I crave a slice or two at this point.

Carefully press the paper onto the coloured and swirled shaving cream.

Immediately scrape the shaving cream off the paper using a ruler.

You'll end up with a one of a kind marbled paper.

We used them as gift tags and bookmarks. It's coated slightly and drawing on them with markers is a bit difficult so we wrote lil notes on the back of them.

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Balik Kampung at Balik Pulau .

Balik Pulau is a relaxing drive for us as it takes us tthrough lush greenery, wooden kampung houses fringed with tall coconut trees and it's nice for us to be able to point out to Bubs this was how most of Penang was like decades ago before it slowly transformed into a concrete jungle. This is durian month so the traffic there was crazier than it usually is with makeshift durian stalls popping up at the sides and the suvsequent traffic jams.

We headed to Balik Kampung, an eatery that dishes out the famous hokkien mee and assam laksa that used to operate from someone's house over the weekends.

My jaw dropped when I saw the river that  separated Balik Kampung from the main road. You have to park your car at the side and then walk over a bridge to get over to the other side. Don't worry, it's a very solid bridge that is wide enough for motorbikes to cross though if it rains, your shoes might get muddy.

It was jam packed during lunch time and we were lucky enough to get a table. There are 3 separate vendors that operate here: hokkien mee & assam laksa (only available on weekends), a rice dish stall that serves up belacan fried rice and a drinks stall. Waiting time is minimal even though there were hordes of hungry diners and ceiling fans ensure a nice, steady breeze. There weren't any mosquitoes during the this time though I can foresee there I'd be a mossie buffet here come evening time.

Assam laksa amidst some prettily served drinks. Bub's choice was the butterfly pea flower and barley and he got a kick out of stirring the drink to get the blue mixed into the glass: "Look, it's indigo now!" We also tried the shanzha (hawthorn) and fresh nutmeg drinks, all iced to provide a respite in this humidity.

The assam laksa was pleasant and filled with noodles that had the thick, homemade consistency which is getting harder to find these days. The broth was mildly spicy, sour and topped with hefty chunks of fish and julienned fresh veggies.

The hokkien mee was decent though it wasn't as heavily spiced as we would have liked. The portion was decent and pouring in the chilli paste is a must to add some kick to the soup.

Luckily Balik Kampung offers a non spicy dish so we didn't have to pack lunch for Bubs. Hubs had his leftovers and enjoyed the fragrant belacan fried rice that had little sides of fresh mango strips, diced egg omelette, crispy anchovies, pork slices, fresh onions, a small wedge of lime and the most amazing sambal that made this dish a winner.

Balik Kampung has a wide, spacious, kampung-like compound at the back where children can enjoy mini (though paid) activities like riding a bike, paddling a boat and catching fish.

The boat ride was in a giant, concrete pond shaded with some netting so it's still enjoyable under the hot sun. Shoes must be removed before being allowed in the plastic, hand propelled boats.

Ok, I admit that it felt a bit like animal cruelty to me but Bubs begged so hard that Hubs gave in. You pay RM1 to rent a net for 20 minutes so you can catch some fish in a small man-made pond. You have to let the fish go so basically, you're paying for the fun of trying to catch the fish in the net before releasing them. We spotted a couple of dead fish floating at the side ...

Bubs had so much fun! He was running along the sides, trying to swoop the fish in his billowy net but ended up scaring most of them away. Hubs had to show him that fishing was all about patience. Do note that there are mosquitoes at the back garden so if you intend to hang around here for a while, it's best to apply some repellent.

Opening hours: 10:30am – 5:10pm (Weekends only)
Phone: 013-323 7777
Address: 278 MK D, Kuala Jalan Baharu, 11000 Balik Pulau, Pulau Pinang
If you're using Waze to go, just search for "Balik Kampung, Balik Pulau".
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