Monday, December 26, 2016

Merry Christmas!

This holiday season has been amazing with meeting up old friends, enjoying family meals and beating the crazy Penang jams by chillaxing at home. 

My brother-in-law very kindly carted Red Kettle's fruit cake for me all the way from KL. Bubs and I have also been busy with holiday cookie baking.

Nothing says relaxation better than a good book (usually not a zombie fan but the Girl with all the Girls was one of those books that I couldn't put down), using Bub's artwork as a bookmark and a generous wedge of the above-mentioned fruit cake, which was truly delectable with generous fruit and nut chunks.

On Christmas morning, Bubs woke up in tears because Santa didn't leave him a thank you note for the cookies and milk he left out. I glared at Hubs, who had told me the night before that Bubs was too old to believe in Santa notes anymore. It took a lot of persuasion for Bubs to stay in the bedroom while I ran out at 7am to pen a thank you note in my best cursive and giftwrap something from Santa. 

Bubs also loved the box of Christmas crackers or "merry poppers" from my cousin Jean. I couldn't stop laughing at the look of shock and immediate recoil on their faces when Bubs and Hubs pulled their first cracker together with a loud SNAP. 

Friday, December 23, 2016

Xmas Festivities

December has been a whirlwind of celebrations and emotions for us. I'm still in denial that next week, Bubs will officially be a primary school kid already! Where did that chubby newborn that refused to sleep through the night go to?

Bub's Xmas Festival at school was a bittersweet one. He was so proud and eager to show us his speech, songs and dances, but at the same time, it was the last day of school so he wasn't looking forward to that either.

As usual, the parents were greeted with colourful Santa origami and crayon-coloured paper stars that each child made.

Thankfully the weather was clear and we were able to have morning tea outside. The children baked the butter cookies themselves earlier and this was Hub's favourite. The parents chatted together about the activities, primary schools, worries and traded cherished stories about what the children did playing together.

We were so proud of Bubs :) He performed beautifully even though there were a couple of times where his shoulders tensed up and you could see a determinedly stoic look on his face when he held back tears. Little confession: I was nearly in tears myself at this point, haha! Each child brought back a stocking stuffed to the brim with artwork and a tiny origami ornament.

To celebrate this transition from small boy school to big boy school, we revisited one of our favourite cafes: the Alley. Bubs was flipping through the reading selection at the side.

No place for a tree? This is an ingenious way to still add a festive touch.

The best cronuts and churros in town served with a generous scoop of home made ice cream and salted egg dip (RM18) which is slightly on the pricey side but soooo good and worth every single cent.

Glam Girl was generous in gifting Bubs a couple of tickets to the Gurney Paragon indoor playground. which he thoroughly enjoyed. The biggest hit was the ginormous slides that lead to a pit filled with gazillions of rainbow coloured balls. Bubs was so enthralled, he even dove straight into the balls and swam with them!

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Nutty for Granola

I used to eat the greasiest or sweetest things I could get my hands on for breakfast quite a while back. Think along the lines of nasi lemak drenched with squid sambal, curry flavoured instant noodles topped with a deep fried egg, sugary cereals with cold Milo ... mmm. Now that age (and an expanding waistline) is creeping up on me, breakfasts have simplified into sourdough, yoghurt and granola. I've developed a strong liking now for good granola topped with either a splash of milk or yoghurt. 

Amzin' Graze has an incredibly yummy range of granola and can be purchased online. I like that they're a small, local startup and incorporate Asian twists into their granolas, such as green tea, gula Melaka. Shipping to Penang was fast with the items packaged securely to minimise damage.

This is my favourite: the gingerbread granola that came with puffed barley and such a strong Christmassy scent that it flavoured the plain yoghurt. Bubs loved finding random pieces of candied ginger hidden amongst the granola.

If you prefer doing your shopping offline and looking for a quiet respite from the hustle and bustle of heavy traffic, Shia's Homemade Granola has a cafe in the middle of Georgetown, Penang. The menu is kept simple but no less wholesome and delicious with offerings like smoothie bowls, almond milk and

Popicles! This is the chocolate peanut butter one (RM6) made from almond milk and sprinkled with her signature crunchy granola. To be honest, I was hesitant about ordering this as I've a fear of sickly sweet almond scents like marzipan, but Shia's version was very light and fresh. I finished this down in no time.

The cafe is  slightly on the tiny side and fits only a couple of tables but don't let that deter you from visiting this cosy nook. There are also a handful of Penang themed souvenirs and tidbits from artisan food makers in addition to their own granolas available for sale.

Shia's Homemade Granola
+60 12-455 6769
No.1, India House, Church Street Ghaut, 10300 George Town, Malaysia

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Little Things in Life

We'd been kept incredibly busy the past few weeks with work, kindy and getting prepared for the new year ahead. These are a handful of stuff that kept us relatively sane. 

Bubs is really lucky to have cousins slightly older than him and generous in giving hand-me-downs in tip top condition. This dragon hoodie tee is one of his favourites.

I am in awe that Bubs made this (with the teacher's guidance): a strip of colourful fabric woven by himself on a mini loom, nestled in a paper origami box.

And this cute pirate treasure map he made one day at home when he was bored.

We got books and bookmarks for his kindy mates as a farewell present.

Plus this made me all teary-eyed: primary school uniform shopping! I can't believe that my baby is no longer tiny and will be stepping foot into Standard 1 next year. We've been busy stocking up on stationeries, lunch boxes and everything school related.

I've been consoling myself with these yummy bites that are so addictive, they carry a warning. The salted egg texture with bits of crispy curry leaves go perfectly with the potato/fish skin slices. These are crazily priced though (SGD16 per pack) and with the weak exchange rate at the moment, it's more of an indulgence than a routine stress reliever.

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Little Journeyman Cafe

I was practically salivating after seeing all the gorgeous photos of melting raclette taken at The Little Journeyman Cafe, so one fine day, I persuaded Hubs to take us there for a pre-dinner snack. It was a little tricky to find but thank goodness for Waze. 

It's tucked in a tiny lane, within the same meticulously restored heritage houses as the Musuem Hotel, offering simple but delicious quick eats such as pastas and small bites like toasts and fries.

The inside of the cafe is sleek, minimalist with only a few tables set up but thankfully, it offers air conditioning plus wifi. We were there pre-dinner so there wasn't too much of a crowd.

Bubs picked the matcha toast (RM5) and we added a scoop of alcohol-infused rum and raisin ice cream (RM5) on top of it. Hubs also had the salted caramel latte (RM13). Hubs peered doubtfully at the slab of bright green toast and helpfully pointed out that it looked like something out of Shrek.

The toast was an slice of white bread with a generous spread of matcha that Bubs thoroughly enjoyed. Hubs gave the excuse that alcohol spiked ice cream is bad for kids and quickly polished that off before Bubs could even have a try.

The star dish at the cafe was the raclette on crispy potatoes (RM25). There were also little chunks of bread, a handful of cherry tomatoes, mushrooms and some rocket tossed in balsamic. The highlight is the waiter slicing warm raclette cheese onto the dish in long, creamy tendrils. The 3 of us perked up at the sight of the golden mound and eagerly dug in. It did not disappoint us at all. The flavour of the cheese was rich and complemented the cubed spuds perfectly. The potatoes were a little soggy and not as crisp as I would have liked them to be though the cheese more than made up for it.

Little Journeyman Cafe
Phone Number: 016-2335097
Address: 66, Jalan A. S. Mansor, 10050, Penang.
Opening Hours: 11 am to 10 pm. Closed Sundays

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Outfits of the Week

One of the nicest things of living in Penang is that you can never run short of cool backdrops ;) And yes, my Cambridge Satchel has been one of my best buys this year. It's so versatile with a top handle plus a long shoulder strap as a cross body option. 

My cousin got me hooked onto scarves. Initially I was a little dubious but she convinced me to treat it as an alternative to a statement necklace. It took me ages to find a bright, silk one in Penang and I'm still learning how to knot it neatly.

This bright turquoise jersey wrap dress was a gift from Aussie Godma and I love how fast and easy it is to layer over a camisole.

Because ombre (especially in shades of my favourite blue) makes my heart beat a little faster.

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

All Prepared for Xmas

Bubs has been busy in a whirlwind of frenzied Xmas preparations. At school, he's hard at work rehearsing for their upcoming annual Xmas Festival. Bub's incredibly proud that he's performing but also sad that it's his last year at kindy, Hubs is warning both of us not to shed tears this time around!

Bubs is also hanging out a lot with his older cousin whom Bubs hero worships. Whenever I'm busy with work, Bubs hangs out with him and there's nothing the two of them like better than to be glued to electronic devices.

To stop his little Bubs brains from turning to mush, we've kickstarted Xmas card making. We did a fairly simple one this time around.

Bubs used blue watercolour paints on on thick art paper. He also sprinkled salt on for a speckled effect and left them out to dry before writing his Xmas messages inside.

He then glued felt shapes and glittery stars on them.

All ready for family and friends this year!

Bubs is also looking forward to the first of many play dates with his little chums before December comes to an end.

And also collecting treasure from his Lego Star Wars advent which was a Xmas present from his cousins :)

Monday, December 5, 2016

It's Beginning to Look a lot like Christmas

Bubs and I have been relentlessly nagging *ahem* reminding Hubs to take out the Xmas tree from storage since November. One fine morning, Hubs finally put up the tree amidst whoops of joy. We played Xmas songs, sang out loud the lyrics that we knew and hummed the ones that we didn't know.

We blew dust off the ornaments, recalled happy memories of each one.

"Look, Mummy, I made this gingerbread man from clay when I was small!"

"Awww, we made this felt snowman together!"

"Teacher made this paper crane one last Xmas for me!"

"Remember the time when you were tiny, you snuck out and unwrapped all of the little giftboxes ornaments on the tree?"

"Well, I wanted to see what was inside ..."

My heart filled with equal parts love and wistfulness, looking at my not-so-little-anymore boy as he scampered about, carefully picking the right spot for each ornament. His face is losing its baby-fat from his cheeks; they no longer wobble whenever he runs, his limbs becoming longer and leaner but that expression on his face is still the same. Giddy with excitement at the smallest things. Hopping and skipping about whenever he's delighted. Throwing his arms around me and planting kisses on my face. I wish I could freeze this moment forever.

Here's to the beginning of a lovely festive season :)
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