Girls Meet New Twin Cousins

Our girls finally met their new twin cousins on 21 December 2017. They were beaming with joy.  So was I.   I have been yearning to cuddle my new niece and nephew since day 1 they were born prematurely at 32 weeks on 1 Sept 2017.

The girls could not resist cuddling and stroking the babies, who are absolutely cuteness overloaded!

Both my sil and myself were on tenterhooks when the girls carried the babies, concerned that they would drop the babies.  And this sort of unfortunate accident really happened to my sil’s friend during the baby’s fullmoon party where a friend dropped the baby! Oh. My. Gawd!

The next time we meet the babies will be in another two  months, perhaps during CNY. They will be even more responsive by then.  We can’t wait to see the babies again.

Back To School

Today I dropped off the big girl at the hair salon for a hair cut before the new school term next starts next week.  The high school that she’s studying at is pretty strict with students’ hair styles.  Girls with long hair must have their hair tied into a bun. Hair must be kept to a length of 5 cm above the collar for  girls with short hair. And there can be no fanciful styles and no concave cut for those who wish to spot a bob haircut. Absolutely no hair bundles  or lace closure on your hair. Failure to abide by this rule would risk the student having his/her hair cut by the disciplinary teacher. Thus, if you see a high school girl spotting a neatly bundled up bun or a  general bob up to  ear or chin level  you would have guessed it right that she’s from a Chinese school.  After going through eight years of Chinese school with my girls, I now have the ‘expertise’ to set apart a Chinese school kid vs. a national school kid vs. an international school kid at just one glance.

Sherilyn is finally over and done with Chinese schools with draconian rules.  Next week she will be going to a national school.  There will be no more struggles with coiffuring her hair into grandma buns every morning. She can keep her hair long again and all she needs to do is to tie it up into a pony tail. Her hair is now at an awkward length. It is neither long nor short. Leaving it alone would be too unkempt while tying it up would render her hair looking like a pig’s tail.  But this is just temporary. She’s pretty unperturbed by her hair and has not asked me for a hair extension with lace frontal yet.

In just two days the girls will be back to school and back to the grind.  While I will terribly miss sleep ins, I am so glad that we will be back to reality. I have been slacking in my daily exercise regimen this school holidays. I miss getting back on the tracks and pool again at 6:30 every morning.

Here’s wishing all my readers a very happy new year. My new year resolution is to get an extra  hour of sleep each day, stay healthier and get more hair growing on my head. After a turbulent year with a couple of major scares to my health and losing some hair caused by anemia, I am now hell bent on loving myself more.   In the meantime, perhaps I’ll get myself some wigs if I really have to look elegant and pretty for the bunch of upcoming wedding dinners in 2018 😉

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Singapore Trip – Day 2 (22 Dec 2017)

Today is big brother Raymond’s birthday.  We started off our day with breakfast at a nearby market. Food was really not up to we Malaysians’ taste buds.  We ordered wanton noodles, prawn noodles, fish ball noodles, economy noodles, coffee and milk tea. Nothing met our expectations, though the queue at most of the stalls were long and we had to spend 15 ~ 30 minutes queuing up to buy food.  Thankfully our lunch at Sentosa Resorts World was very satisfactory (at no other than a restaurant offering Malaysian hawkers’ food hehe) and big bro Ray treated us to Japanese for dinner.

After breakfast, we went to Novena church to give thanks and to sneak into the grounds of one of the most expensive and beautiful churches in Singapore.  After 33 months and at a whopping cost of $54 million, Novena Church’s redevelopment and extensive overhaul was finally completed. The church opened its doors to the public again on Sept 29 2017.  Novena church is one of the most iconic and popular Catholic churches in Singapore.

Clad in granite outside and limestone inside, the church’s sanctuary now features soaring arches, intricate columns, a dome and 18 large stained-glass windows.  It is indeed one of the grandest churches that we have been to.

 

 

After Novena, we headed to Sentosa Island’s Resorts World.

 

 

 

I secretly snapped two pix of Sherilyn posing with the birds coz I was too cheapskate to spend over SGD10 for a picture.  I had to remind myself that every dollar spent is RM3 and to spend RM30 for a picture that will eventually end up inside our photo album cupboard, no way am I going to add more junk into that cupboard, ha!

 

Walking to the toilets.   Toilets in Singapore are very clean, unlike the ones back home.  Even the loos at the market that we went to are of the standard of shopping mall toilets back home.  And I don’t mind paying 10 cents to use it.

We had lunch at Malaysian Food Street @ Resorts World, one of the most popular eateries at Resorts World.

Food was surprisingly not expensive and quality of food is good. The char koay teow and prawn mee tasted exactly like the ones back home.

Malaysian Food Street is created into a unique old-town ambience to flavour the experience of indulging in some of Malaysia’s finest and famous hawker fare. This is one dining destination not to be missed in Sentosa Island.  It is fully air-conditioned and designed to evoke the look of streets of Malaysia, with facades of old shop houses and replicas of 1950s coffeeshop. There are a total of 17 stalls which includes legendary Malaysian favourites such as Famous Jalan Alor KL Hokkien Mee, Huen Kee Claypot Rice, Penang Hai Beng Lor Mee etc.

 

 

 

After we got back from Resorts World and with only an hour left before dinner, my childhood best friend, Ju, picked me up from my brother’s apartment. We had drinks at a nearby cafe. It was really nice to meet up with Ju again after donkey years.  And thank you once again Ju for spoiling my girls with those gifts. And our favorite potato chips from Japan!

After our sumptuous Japanese dinner, our friendly van driver drove us to Gardens By The Bay.

Entrance fee is only SGD10 per person.

Our favorite spot is the Supertrees. When night falls, this enchanting  vertical gardens come alive with a mesmerising Garden Rhapsody light and sound show.  On the night we were there, there were fake snow flakes too.

There is an elevated walkway, the OCBC Skyway, between two of the larger Supertrees for visitors to enjoy a panoramic aerial view of the Gardens.  Too bad it rained half way through our admiration of the trees and we had to miss going up the elevated walkway.   Instead, we ran back to the entrance and got into our waiting van, half drenched in rain water. Bummer!

Tip: do bring along umbrellas during the rainy season.

Our girls against the backdrop of Marina Bay Sands.

 

We Are Back From Singapore

We came back from Singapore late last night after an 11-hour crawl back from Singapore.  We left Singapore at 11:30 a.m., went through the Tuas Checkpoint pretty smoothly without any traffic jam and thought that luck was on our side. But we were so wrong.  A few minutes after we left the Tuas Checkpoint, we saw the longest traffic crawl ahead of us. We were totally unprepared for what was to come.

After over 3 hours stuck at the Causeway, where vehicles were barely moving, we were still not reaching the Malaysian Customs yet. All our bladders were about to explode.  Our very friendly van driver gave us some suggestions on how we could relief ourselves. But could you even pee into a plastic bag?  Or walk to the side of the Causeway and pee near the bushes? NO WAY!

Finally, we decided to get down the vehicle smack-bang in the middle of the highway and walked under the merciless 2 p.m. sun to the Malaysian Customs to use the staff toilet. What a relief it was after holding on for over 2 hours!

Long story short, after 11 hours of bumper to bumper crawl from the Tuas Checkpoint, we finally reached home.  Home sweet home at 10:30 p.m.  We had a lunch break and 2 toilet breaks in between.  Half the journey, almost everyone was in sheer agony of full bladders.

After we were dropped off in KL, my parents, younger brother and hubs had dinner at 11 p.m. before the driver continued the trip back to Ipoh to drop off my parents and brother. They reached Ipoh at 2 a.m. It was the longest ever road trip for all of us.

Much as I would like to write more and post more beautiful pix that we took in Singapore, especially the ones with my new twin niece and nephew, I have to make this post a short one. I have to be up very early tomorrow for Christmas service in church at 8:30 a.m.


Bumper to bumper crawl on both sides of the highway, all the way from Seremban to Singapore and vice versa.

 🎄Merry Christmas Everyone!🎄

Back In KL

Our ETS ride from Ipoh to KL Sentral today was a tad eventful.  A few minutes after the train dropped off passengers at the Sg. Buloh station, the air conditioning and lights in the train were out. Suddenly the train stopped short smack-bang in the middle of no where.  Then an announcement came. The train had run out of power. Great! This has been happening too often. We panicked and hoped that the outage would soon be rectified. Thankfully after a few minutes the train moved again, phew!  However, several minutes later, the air conditioning and lights were out again and the train stopped again!  Thank God the train moved again minutes later.  What a suspense for everyone. It would be torturous to travel on a train without air conditioning with sealed windows and doors when the unforgiving sun is out at full force at 1 p.m.  And this is what my friend had to endure when she traveled from Ipoh to KL Sentral just a few weeks ago.

Thank God we reached KL Sentral station safely.  After alighting from the train, another minor glitch greeted me. The escalator to bring us up was under maintenance.  Double whammy!  I struggled to lug our huge green luggage bag up the long flight of stairs.  Cass kept snatching the bag from me to help me carry it but the bag was heavier than her and I stopped her. Thank God again that a samaritan offered to help me carry my luggage bag up. I thanked the boy (I think he’s a college-going boy) profusely.

Moral of the story:  Kindness begets kindness. And pay it forward.

During the previous ETS ride back to KL 2 months ago, I helped a woman in her 60s carry her luggage bag down the train.


Waiting for the hubs to fetch us.

Hubs brought us to Fong Lye @ Jalan Imbi for lunch. The foodie hubs has been craving to eat at Fong Lye since last Sunday. When he asked us to go to  Fong Lye for dinner at 8 p.m. last Sunday, I didn’t entertain him as it was already late and the girls and I already had our dinner. Finally he had his craving satisfied today. He even told me the list of dishes that he wanted to order before dropping us at the restaurant while he went to find parking.


Sweet potato porridge; lotus root appetizer


Stir fried long beans; sauteed pork strips with yam and big onions; fried lala with basil


Fried rice with meat floss; tomato omelette


Fried fish; Three-Cup chicken


The damage

As we stepped out of Fong Lye, the foodie hubs said he had craving for pork jerky *eeeeyeeeeerr*!!

And he dragged us to the dried meat shop just a few steps away from Fong Lye and bought a packet of pork jerky.

Dinner tonight is dad’s pork ribs and sand ginger chicken which dad lovingly deep freeze the night before after cooking for us to bring back to KL.

 

Tour Of Gua Tempurung, Gopeng

Today papa drove us to Gua Tempurung, one of the largest limestone caves in Peninsular Malaysia.  Ever since the North South Highway was opened over 20 years ago and  Gua Tempurung made visible to all who travel on the highway, I’ve been wanting to visit this magnificent cave with a breathtaking view.

We left the house at 9 a.m. for Gopeng.  Our first stop was at the Gopeng food court, situated next to the Gopeng wet market to have breakfast.

Hawkers food in Ipoh and Gopeng are so much more cheaper than in KL.  A plate of standard (with no add-ons) chicken rice, fish ball noodles and curry noodles only cost RM4 in Ipoh and Gopeng while they cost a minimum of RM6 or RM7 in KL.

Alycia who doesn’t like noodles ordered an Indian apam which costs RM1.20 each.  The apam tastes like  Chinese ‘pak tong koh’ (steamed white sugar rice cake) in the middle while the sides are crispy.  All of us pecked on her apam and in less than a minute was done to none. She ordered 2 more pieces later.  Love it. Something so simple and affordable can taste so yummy!  Real comfort food.

On our way to Gua Tempurung, we dropped by at Gaharu Tea Valley, Gopeng just to have a look-see at this tourist spot.  Mum who had been here before told us that there is  a buggy to bring visitors up the hills to the tea valley for sight-seeing. But we decided not to do the short tour as our main purpose was to go to Gua Tempurung.

 

We reached Gua Tempurung  at about 10:45 a.m.  Papa bought us the tix for Tour 2 (Top of the World) which would bring us to Platform 5 of the cave. Tix are priced at RM9 for adults, RM4.50 for children aged 6 ~ 12 year old and RM3 for senior citizens aged 60 and above.  The estimated time for this tour is 1 hour 45 minutes from entrance to Top Of The World and return. But we managed to complete it within 1.5 hours.  Without time spent on camwhoring and admiring the caves, it would only take us an hour to go up and down the caves.

So glad that papa (74 this year) and mum (71 this year) managed to climb up the steep steps inside the cave. Some of the steps are very steep and can really exhaust you to the point of gasping for air. Thankfully papa and mum could climb up without any problem, albeit mum had to climb up and down slowly. The steps are quite slippery at certain points where there is water dripping down  the steps.

At the start of the climb inside the cave:

Participants of the wet tour ending their cave exploration at this exit, which is a stream with crystal clear water:

Our 3 hyper girls climbed up so swiftly that I could not keep up with them.

Tell me what this rock formation looks like? A teenage boy ahead of us commented that it looks like a ‘thumbs up’ but I think it looks somewhat similar to a errr, penis. Depending on which angle you look at the rock, it may look like a thumbs up at an angle and another image at other angles.

Platform 2:

By the time we reached Platform 3, all of us were sweating buckets from all the strenuous stairs climbing, though it’s pretty cool inside the cave.

 

Platform 4:

The rock formation here looks spooky. Can you see what I see?!  Staring right at you:

Finally at Platform 5 a.k.a. Top Of The World, all sweaty and sticky and  stone faced:

This locked gate will be unlocked for participants of Tour 3 and Tour 4, which involves an underground river adventure:

Exit from the cave tour and admiring the stream view and crystal clear water with fishes swimming in the water:

Papa could not resist the cool stream water and washed  his face with the water.

Though a short trip, everyone thoroughly enjoyed the cave exploration. Our next visit to Gua Tempurung will be to partake in the wet tour, hopefully with the hubs too. That would be really exciting and adventurous. The girls are looking forward to it.

 

Responsibility & Finances Are A Match Made In Heaven

When it comes to developing habits that will last you positively for the rest of your life, considering your financial ability should always be at the top of the agenda. Being responsible with your finances is often the best way to keep a form of safety blanket throughout life. Everyone stumbles and is dry on funding sometimes, but overall having the right attitudes and discipline regarding how you behave with money will give you that peace of mind no one could artificially give you.

cash, coins, money
We’re here to offer you some of the most useful money tips to keep you in the black for the longest amount of time possible.

Save 10% Off Your Paycheck
Saving 10% of your paycheck, no matter when you are paid it or how frequently, will always give you a slowly increasing funding reserve. You can expand this as much as you’d like, but we’d always recommend you to keep it at 10% as a minimum. This will help cover you for emergency spending such as your car breaking down, while also allowing you to treat yourself every so often. You never know when a job might be lost, when you have to reassess your income, or how hard the taxes are going to hit you every year. For that reason, developing a wise attitude around money is one of the best habits you can ever develop.

Hide Some Cash
Hiding some cash in a shoebox in your wardrobe can help you out if you otherwise are prevented access to your bank account. This can happen more than people realize. A power outage, emergency maintenance your bank decides to conduct along with being fraudulently mimicked from an identity perspective can hurt your funding access. It can be as simple as accidentally snapping your debit card.

It’s important to hide some cash for this reason. Not a lot, maybe one to two hundred dollars. Maybe more. You should keep this in case you need to buy groceries, you need emergency gas, or you need temporary accommodation. While we hope you will never need it, having $200 in cash only you know about just might save your life.

Temperance
The consumer culture we live in often leads us down avenues of thinking. One of these pathways includes thinking you need the biggest and baddest thing to be happy. While material possessions are nice, and none of us practice a sufi-level of wisdom to neglect the material world, we often do feel chained to our belongings. Imagine how bad you would feel if you spilt milk on your laptop. Sure the laptop is expensive, and it will limit your online functionality until it’s repaired, but it’s not important for your survival. You can, in the final analysis, do without it.

Practicing this temperance allows you to view every purchase like this. Do you truly need that new watch? Could you do without that iced latte? Maybe catching the bus to work instead of an Uber exec could save you a little disposable income this week. Even when you’re doing well and have the funding to backup a great lifestyle, practising a little temperance in your purchasing decisions can be wise and make you happier.

After all, there will always be something new to spend your money on. Saving and purchasing the things which truly matter (especially experiences,) are often the best way forward.

Loans Aren’t Evil
Loans are not evil. They serve many purposes. Needing to use one does not signify you are bad at financial planning and should never be given a paycheck again. It simply means something is out of your reach for now, and provided you can pay the instalments, you are securing the object of your desires while it is still competently priced.

Of course, there are many loan terms you need to know to stay a wise loan recipient. You must never enter a loan out of desperation, but out of a sense of convenience. You must always be willing to accept the consequences to your financial reputation and credit if you are unable to pay. You must understand who you will affect if you do not use loans correctly. You should understand, always, that it’s a privilege and not a right to receive one.

What You Do Matters
If you have children, they are directly impacted by your financial decisions. Of course, not only are they impacted by this, but they can see your struggles. If you are constantly in a sense of money tightness, it will show, and you will set a negative example to your children. As they come of age, you should have examples from their childhood to show them times you saved, times you were responsible, and how it helped you. This demonstrative approach will allow your child to feel positive in your example, and hopefully adopt these money attitudes for future use.

Consider Your Expenses
Of course, we needn’t give you advice about budgeting. It’s likely you know how important that is already. However, you must consider your expenses, and limit them where necessary. We’re not talking about large purchases; we’re talking about the everyday items which can truly hurt your working budget if you’re not careful.

For example, if your phone contract is coming up for renewal, consider the cost of purchasing a sim-only package you can tailor each month and purchasing a new handset outright. This can lessen your overall costs, even if it might take a big initial hit to your finances. Purchasing items in bulk or now can often rival a long-term constant renewal of expenses, but it’s up to you to gauge the affordability of this idea.

It’s also important to consider which items you should spend lavishly on, and which you should keep humble. For example, an off-brand or supermarket developed handwash or towel is likely similar to the branded towels you find in any home furnishings store, and can be much cheaper. Knowing where to pick your expenses can save you plenty of money in the long term.

With these tips you can be sure that your finances are well taken care of.

The Girls Are Home!

My two big babies are finally back home after a 9-day adventure in Hong Kong without their parents bossing around them.  So glad to have them home.

Alycia and Drama Queen with their ground assistant and Drama Queen avoiding the paparazzi:

With travel assistance request (which is a FOC service), the girls’ passports were safe-kept by the air-stewardess during the flight. On ground, the passports together with the children will be handed over to the parents / kin. Names of parents / kin must be given to the Airlines. I only realized today that with a ground assistant, Alycia and Sherilyn’s passports were not even stamped in KLIA and Hong Kong Airport.

Home sweet home finally:

BSF (Best Sisters Forever):

The girls’ last dinner in Hong Kong ~ a sumptuous grilled lobster and shabu-shabu meal prepped by their loving koo ma.

We reached home at 10-ish p.m. last night. The girls unpacked their loot, comprising of 80% junk food, albeit some are good quality and ‘healthier’ snacks like organic pop corns, Royce chocolates and some Japanese jelly and chewing gum.  We had supper of Burger King, bought from KLIA.

When a tween and a teenager go on a vacation without their health freak mom and dad controlling them, you can be rest assured of luggage bags bursting with snacks, toys and electronic gadgets.

Health freak mom would like to try one stick of Pocky Squeeze, just. one. stick. only ok, coz this isn’t available in Malaysia yet (?).

Drama Queen’s favorite Japanese orange chewing gum, costing over HKG50 a bottle.  And my favorite almond cookies; the girls also received a packet of emoji chocolates from koo ma:

Too cute ~ Royce Decoration Ball, a X’mas tree decor that comes with Royce chocolates inside the ball; Japanese jelly (the girls favorite jelly):

Luggage bags scattered on our living room floor; guess the bags will be lying there as we will need to pack again today for our trip back to Ipoh tomorrow and then to Singapore next week.

I’d like to say a BIG thank you once again to my eldest SIL and BIL for all the gifts, love, care and time showered on the girls during their stay in Hong Kong.

Make Over This Christmas

The girls and I will be making a trip back to my hometown tomorrow.  Besides planning on a day-trip to explore the  Gua Tempurung caves, I am bringing them to our regular hair salon for a no-frills and cheap hair cut. I definitely need a trim of my  waist-length hair.

After going through months of severe hair loss due to anemia, my hair has finally stopped shedding like dog’s fur.   My locks has now become really thin and limp.  I recall the days earlier this year where my hair would stick to my fingers and come off my scalp each time I go through my wet hair after a hair wash. It was so bad that  I would count how many strands of hair I shed each day.  I thought I was going to go bald. I Googled ’causes for hair fall’ and discovered that one of the reasons for severe hair fall is anemia.  Things are looking up now that my total blood count has improved significantly.

If I am invited to a  wedding dinner now, I think I will need to get some hair bundles or loose wave weave to conceal my less than perfect hair.

These days, wigs are fast becoming as commonplace as hair-color, acrylic nails and body-shapewear for that instant boost in beauty, confidence, and overall fabulousness.  I have never tried wearing a wig but am game to try.  My two younger daughters will definitely think it’s a cool and fun thing to wear a wig to a party, especially a colored one.

With wigs, there are limitless styles.  We can change our hair in an instant from long to bob, wavy to straight.  Whether it is a lace frontal closure or a hair extension, we can choose a wig that enhances our natural hair or make a statement with a bold, new look.  Either way, you have total control over your style, head to toe.

Are you game to try on some funky or natural looking wigs this Christmas and New Year’s Day? 😉

 

The Weekend (9~10 Dec 2017)

Saturday, 9 Dec 2017
We had a year-end gathering with our usual group of buddies at M’s house in Kota Kemuning. We had BBQ where the hubs did most of  the grilling.  The gourmand hubs is the specialist when it comes to food and his friends are always in awe of his BBQ and culinary skills.

All our friends were raving about the off the charts delish and juicy BBQ rack of lamb, steak and roast turkey, all prepped by the most critical foodie amongst his friends.

We sipped Japanese sake, listened to songs of the 1980s from Air Supply, Cool And The Gang, Madonna, etc. while reminiscing, prattling and laughing about our party, disco and school days when we were  teenagers in Ipoh.  The guys are the hubs’ school and classmates and I have known them  since I was 12.  The bunch of guys are my older brother’s classmates too.

The kids, especially Cass and  Amber were besotted with their friends’ new pet cat named Racoon.

 

By the time we got home and showered, it was way past 2 a.m. before we hit the sack.

Sunday, 10 Dec 2017
We had Japanese for lunch today. While waiting for our food to arrive, I browsed through Facebook for friends’ updates. I was shocked and in total disbelief when I read that my friend, Evelyn Ang Loo was hit by a reckless driver at 4:30 a.m. today while she was running in a marathon in Klang.  She and 2 other pacers were knocked from behind by the reckless driver. Evelyn suffered severe head, skull and jaw injuries and is now in a coma, fighting for her life. I am really devastated by this news and just can’t seem to stop thinking about her. I first met Evelyn at an Ikea bloggers event over 5 years ago and have since become friends with her on Facebook.  Evelyn, an animal lover is a very jovial and friendly lady, my age.

I seek everyone to kindly say a prayer for Evelyn, for her to wake up, recover and start running again.  Evelyn needs lots of prayers and miracles now.

99f0

https://www.thestar.com.my/news/nation/2017/12/10/pacer-knocked-down-klang-international-city-marathon/

http://says.com/my/news/female-marathon-runner-in-critical-condition-after-being-rammed-by-a-car-from-behind